An open letter to Modi

To call Bengaluru city the cleanest capital in India is nothing short of a big joke.

Dear Sir Narendra Modi,

The headline of the Bengaluru-based Deccan Herald on August 9, 2015, was laughable! It read, “B’luru cleanest capital in India and Mysuru cleanest city!” And, do you know who has done the statistical work? The Swachh Bharath Foundation. 

But wait, what do the words ‘Swachh Bharath’ indicate? It may be from Hindi, but most of us in Bengaluru were doubled over in laughter. Was it a ‘lamppost?’; a ‘hatstand?’; an ‘oxymoron?; a ‘cliche?’; or a ‘euphemism?’

Actually, what you meant when you coined those words was “Clean India”, wasn’t it? But, my God! To call Bengaluru the cleanest capital in the country is nothing short of a big joke and to call Mysuru a clean city is another little joke.

Bengaluru abounds with garbage almost everywhere. Not just in tiny mounds at the corners of the roads, but in heaps and heaps all over the city. I retired as the Joint Director of a prestigious educational institution here and frankly, the site beside it is has so much garbage that a part of it even overflows into the school compound. It is not as if we have not complained.

The BBMP commissioner (whoever it was then) had come for an inspection prodded by our complaint. And what did he do? Nothing! Many of our students fell sick with dengue and chikungunya even after our installing the so-called mosquito fighter All-Out and burnt ‘sambhrani’ (benzoin resin or wild turmeric) in every class room.

The area I live in is supposed to be a posh locality boasting residences of top politicians and film personalities. But even this is a nightmare to walk down. Piles of garbage – infested with mosquitoes, flies, rats and bandicoots – reek close to the walking path, that has been built around a tank. Even the tank is not clean. The swimming pool nearby is enclosed by tall walls on to which every Rama, Krishna and Hanumantha, urinates without shame! The walls are so soaked with urine that there is a danger of its collapse any day. People hold their breath, covering their noses with a handkerchief, while passing this place.

I did make a complaint to the commissioner, who gave me the phone number and name of the person-in-charge of the ward. When I called this man, he said, “Madam, we cannot keep 24-hour vigil at that place. We tried putting gods’ photographs in a few places but people do not seem to respect even them!” Oh my God! So, who will save us now?

Sir, your mission of Swachh Bharath has failed in Bengaluru but they have the audacity to proclaim in the media that it is the cleanest capital in India. I, for one, am ashamed.

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