'War against filth united people'

Ramakrishna Belur Mutt Assistant General Manager Swami Sathyeshnanandji and other dignitaries inaugurated the university-level conference on Clean India organised at Ramakrishna Mutt in Mangaluru on Friday.

Temsutula Imsong of Sakaar Sewa Samiti, who had taken up the cleanliness of ghats in Varanasi said cleanliness drive has become a social and institutional priority now.

War against filth has united people from all walks of life, she added.

She was speaking on “My experimentation with Swacch Bharat Abhiyan” during a university-level conference on clean India, organised by Ramakrishna Mission here on
Friday.

She said, “I am the solution for the garbage issues. If we take up composting organic waste through simple methods, a majority of the garbage will not enter the streets. When the filth of the ghats of Ganga disturbed us, we, a team of volunteers took broom and buckets and started cleaning. We continuously worked towards maintaining cleanliness in the ghats of Ganga.”

“Though initially, people were sceptical about our move, over a period of time, volunteers started joining us in shramadaan. Now, Babua Pandey Ghat and Prabhughat are no more filled with filth. When I saw filth all over after I reached New Delhi, I thought it was a norm. Behavioural change is need of the hour,” she added.

Temsutula Imsong said there is a need to involve people in our surroundings. If cleanliness drive is taken up consistently for months, then it can be maintained throughout.

“During the initial cleanliness drive in the ghats, we felt and smelt of human excreta even after washing ourselves many times. It was so disgusting that we could not eat food for days. But the satisfaction of seeing the ghat clean has compensated for all our troubles,” she said.

To a query from students on an alternative to stopping open defecation in the ghats of Ganga, she said there are 84 ghats in Varanasi and the government has set up bio-digester toilets. 

When asked how she felt when Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted lauding her effort, she said; “I could not believe it when I saw his tweet and thought it was an April fool prank.”

Earlier, Ramakrishna Belur Mutt Assistant General Manager Swami Sathyeshnanandji said the cleanliness drive is part of Karma yoga.

Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had given priority to cleanliness in their surroundings. The drive also helps to keep the mind and body clean, he
added.

Nitte Deemed to be University Chancellor N Vinay Hegde said that Ramakrishna Mission has become a trendsetter by committing itself to the cleanliness drive in Mangaluru and interior villages of DK and Udupi districts.

Mangaluru Ramakrishna Mission President Swami Jithakamanandaji said Ramakrishna Mission has been promoting pot composting to help the households to manage garbage at home. The Mission has started distributing 4,000 pots for composting during the year.

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