Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the spiritual head of Dera Sacha Sauda, launched his cleanliness drive in Mumbai, by bringing a bus full of volunteers from Haryana. It is a good thing that he carried his own crowd; otherwise no Mumbaikar would have really supported this man in God’s world. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign is drawing participation from public and private organisations. Outfits from Haryana and Maharashtra have each joined and taken one step forward in Mumbai. It’s sad to notice our PM applauding a man, in whose name many criminal cases have been registered in Haryana and Punjab. Anyway, Gurmeet Ram Rahim came here with his own troop; entire event was sponsored by him. Some organisers were hired to make this event successful and media was almost paid to publish the news with full page advertisements. Look at the irony, this ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign has become a publicity event. Any celebrity gets up, holds broom, poses for clicks, gets it published in media and then the issues of cleanliness is actually forgotten.
Dera Sacha Sauda, a controversial religious and social organisation based in Sirsa, Haryana, has initiated a cleanliness drive in Bandra-Kurla Complex which was just a media show and stunt; they chose the area which was already clean and highly secured. I wish they could have cleaned the slums of Mumbai, such as Dharavi and Malwani. I don’t think any normal person will go and hold the broom and start sweeping roads just because the PM said so. I respect this initiative and try to play my part as well every day by not damaging the streets. However, it is a busy life and cleaning the road is not possible when cleaning my house is a challenge.
While googling on net, I found out many thing about this baba. Dera Sacha Sauda chief Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for the February 22, 1991 murder of former Dera manager Faqir Chand. Chand’s body was never found and the CBI had conducted an inquiry into this on court’s order. Besides Singh, the CBI had booked four other members of the sect for murder, destroying evidence and hatching a criminal conspiracy. Dera Sacha Sauda, which has a huge following all over the country, is headquartered at Sirsa town in Haryana. Ram Rahim’s takeover ushered in a new era for the Dera, an otherwise humble sect, founded in 1948. Enjoying cross-party political favour, the Dera today claims a following in millions. Apart from several industries that are exempted from paying taxes, the Dera controls over 700 acres in Sirsa alone, the land allegedly stolen from villagers. This sect launched its own cleanliness initiative “Ho Prithvi Saaf, Mitey Rog Abhishaap” (Cleanse the Planet Earth to Remove Disease and Curse), but no one noticed that the leader himself is a curse on humanity. As he was alleged being involved in many cases, his kind of people needs to be cleansed and punished for the crime they committed. Considering the allegation against him, putting him on my high regards will somewhere put me in a dilemma. I appreciate spiritual leaders, but not one who is facing criminal charges.
Volunteers of the group Dera Sacha Sauda came to the city with their cleaning equipments and food, with the aim of cleaning up the entire city in less than a day, but they wind up their drama in two hours by cleaning the event place which was already neat and clean.
This cleanliness drive and broom saga started with Aam Aadmi Party; topi (cap) and broom were their signatures. But later on, BJP hijacked their topi and changed the colour to saffron, and yesterday finally Modi held their broom to announce “Swachh Bharat”. Few days back, a union minister held the broom in public. Now, PM is holding the broom in public. Soon CMs & Collectors must hold the brooms in public. I hope, this should not remain just symbolic gestures, cosmetic efforts to pose for camera and grab the limelight for a day. If the politicians and IAS officers don’t eat up the money allotted for keeping the city clean, why will the clean up marshalls not keep the city clean? Once again, I say ‘Clean India’ is a very good initiative; however, not only cleaning but proper disposal, decomposition and utilisation of garbage, sewage must also be in focus. A course on garbage management should also be implemented in academics to study the future challenges of garbage and sanitation. Government should provide land for building public toilets. Planning department should allocate sufficient funds, initiative should start from top. The town planning should ensure that there is sufficient number of garbage bins and proper drainage system. Clean India is for healthy and prosperous India. However, a cleanliness campaign must not be just a superficial exercise. Focus is also needed to raise the living standard of people who have been doing cleaning works. Contract system should be banned and if employees of the municipal corporations are not doing their work properly as per guidelines, demand and need, then action should be taken against them. Corruption had been another issue in municipal corporations; due to contracts system, government should vigil on that issue also, and then only a true ‘Clean India’ can be achieved.
We really don’t require such drama by spiritual leaders and celebrities.