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'Look, there may be 1,000 reasons to criticise Modi'

October 20, 2017 10:03 IST

'Every day, I give you some or the other reason.'
'But we should not do politics over the need to bring about change in society.'
'We should follow a collective responsibility and you will see that things will change,' says Narendra D Modi.

Prime Minister Narendra D Modi at an event to mark Swachh Bharat Diwas: The 3rd anniversary of the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission, New Delhi, October 2, 2017. Photopgraph: Press Information Bureau

I joined politics very late. I was working in Gujarat, there was an accident involving the Machu Dam in Morvi, thousands of people were killed, the entire city was submerged in the water, so I was deployed for service, for cleaning the city.

All the work related to cleaning the city was going on, it went on for nearly a month.

Later, we people, some members of civil society and also through the NGO it was decided that we will construct houses for those whose homes had been destroyed. So we adopted a village.

We collected the money from the people and we wanted to rebuild the village; it was a small village, there might have been some 350, 400 houses.

When we were designing the layout then, I insisted a lot on this thing that in any case there must be a toilet.

Then the villagers used to say that: 'We don't need toilet, we have a big open field here, please don't construct the toilet, instead just increase the size of the room a little bit.'

But I told them that I would not compromise on this thing.

We will construct a room as per the funds available with us, but the toilets will be constructed in any case.

So, in any case they were going to get it free of cost, therefore they did not argue much and it was constructed.

And when I again visited that area after nearly 10, 12 years, I felt the need to meet old associates as I had worked in that area for several months, so I went to see them.

After visiting that place, I regretted it a lot as goats were kept in all those toilets constructed by us. So this is the tendency of society.

It is not the fault of that person who constructed it neither the fault of the government if it insists on this thing.

Society has its own nature. We are required to bring about changes while understanding these limitations.

Can anyone tell me whether all the schools in India have been constructed as per the requirement or not?

Whether teachers have been employed as per the requirement or not?

Whether all the facilities, books etc have been provided to the schools as per the requirement or not? They are there in large quantities.

However, given the state of facilities, the status of education is low. So the government, after making all these efforts, after spending the money and constructing the buildings, after appointing the teachers, and if it gets the cooperation of society, then it won't take much time to achieve 100 per cent literacy.

The same infrastructure, the same number of teachers can achieve 100 per cent literacy, but it is not possible without the cooperation of society.

The government thinks the task will be accomplished if we construct buildings, if we pay salary to teachers. Yes, we can take satisfaction that earlier it was this much and we have done that much.

If a kid takes admission in a school then stops attending the class. Even now, parents don't ask him to go to school. The issue of toilets is similar to this.

So cleanliness is a responsibility. The more we create this kind of atmosphere, then everyone will think 50 times before doing something wrong.

Our kids, small children, the households that have sons, grandsons and granddaughters, in a way they are the biggest ambassadors of my cleanliness mission.

These kids, if a grandfather throws something somewhere, then they ask him to remove it, they tell him not to throw those things there.

This kind of atmosphere should be created in every household. If kids accept something, then why can't we adults do the same?

How many kids have been dying just because of not cleaning their hands, because of not being able to clean their hands with soap before having their meal?

But as soon as you mention this topic, people will say: 'How can we buy soap? How can we get water? Modi will only deliver lectures. How will people wash their hands?'

Oh brother, if you can't wash your hands, then leave it, but those who can wash their hands, at least, let them do that.

Look, there may be a thousand reasons to criticise Modi. Every day, I give you some or the other reason, you should utilise that.

But we should not make fun of such things or do politics over the need to bring about change in society.

We should follow a collective responsibility and you will see that things will change.

You see, these kids have done a great job. I had been posting pictures of these kids on social media on a daily basis, I used to post them with a lot of pride.

I, personally, don't know these kids. But when I see pictures of kids who have shown enthusiasm for cleanliness, I post them and they reach millions and millions of people.

An ideological movement is also necessary for cleanliness.

Development does not take place by mere development of the system unless an ideological movement is also being launched.

So this effort to produce films, the efforts to bring creativity, essay writing -- all these things are an attempt to provide an ideological basis to cleanliness.

And when something finds a place in our minds in the form of an idea, finds a place as an essence, then it becomes very easy to follow that thing. So this is the reason behind associating these activities with this campaign.

If you watch the television programmes that were produced four, five years ago in which if some kids were shown performing the job of cleaning in a school then it used to become a news story; teachers were criticised for making the kids to do the cleaning job in the schools.

Parents used to rush to the school asking: 'Will you educate our kids or will you make them do the job of cleaning?'

Today, this has brought about such a big change that if kids are cleaning a school then it becomes the headline on TV news.

Narendra D Modi is the prime minister of India. This is an excerpt from his speech on the third anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission in New Delhi, October 2, 2017.

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra D Modi at an event to mark Swachh Bharat Diwas: The 3rd anniversary of the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission, New Delhi, October 2, 2017. Photopgraph: Press Information Bureau

Narendra D Modi
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