Amala Bharata: Foreigners show the way

 When thousands of devotees of Mata Amritanandamayi popularly known as ‘Amma’ were engaged in bhajans, prayers and Satsang all day long on Sunday, on the occasion of Amrita Sangama-2013 at Boloor, around 25 volunteers who are foreign nationals were busy collecting and segregating wastes in the venue.

A few men and women in the stall under the banner ‘Amala Bharatam Campaign’ in Mata Amritanandamayi Mutt premises, were silently doing their ‘duty’ with complete dedication, by manually segregating wastes.

There were separate tins labelled as food, paper board, metal-aluminium, crunch, plastic, shoe, sanitary-burnable etc which were filled with wastes for disposal and recycling purpose. The work was part of the Amala Bharatam campaign (clean India) launched by Amritanandamayi Trust way back in September, 2010 on the occasion of the birth day celebration of Amma.

The 25 volunteers who accompany Amma during her tour to various places, ensure that cleanliness is maintained in the programme venue. If some of the volunteers guard the dustbins placed at various stations ensuring that the devotees throw wastes following the segregation method, some of the volunteers collect these waste and take them to their stall.

The volunteers in the stall transfer the collected wastes to bigger waste bins, from which the wastes will be given for recycling. Interestingly, all the volunteers who are involved in this cleanliness campaign are foreigners.

Speaking to Deccan Herald Vishakh (Oliver Thuret-original name) from France who is one of the two supervisors of the stall, said that the main intention of the initiative was to educate people about the importance of cleanliness. “Amala Bharatam campaign which was launched by Amma two and half years ago intends to keep our surroundings clean.

As a part of the campaign, we, the volunteers who accompany Amma during her tours, are entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining cleanliness in the programme venue. Though collected wastes are given for recycling, there is intention to gain monetary benefit from this,” he said.

When asked him the reason behind foreigners entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining cleanliness, he said Westerners are mostly used to cleanliness, waste segregation and recycling methods, hence they handle this section. These volunteers work from 7 am to 1 pm for two days, in shifts. Vishakh said that he also supervises the recycling unit at Amrita Puri in Kerala.

Amala Bharata campaign local supervisor Geetha said that Mangalore unit is doing pretty well in maintaining cleanliness in the city since May 2011, when the campaign was launched. The volunteers clean the city on fourth Sunday of every month, with the help of students from various colleges based in the city.

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