Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that festivals should be transformed into symbols of cleanliness in ‘new India’ and called for a 15-day campaign ahead of Gandhi Jayanti to take the message of “cleanliness is service” to every home.
Speaking during his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme on All India Radio, Modi said India was a land of diversities and this was visible in every walk of life.
He greeted people on the festivals of Samvatsari Parva, Ganesh Chaturthi, Onam, and Eid-ul-Zuha.
“Festivals are, of course, symbols of faith and belief. In new India, we should transform them into symbols of cleanliness as well. In individual households, festivals and cleanliness are linked. In fact, preparations for festivals always begin with cleaning,” Modi said.
“This is nothing new for us, but it is important to convert it into a social character. Public cleanliness must be insisted upon not just in our homes but in our villages, towns, cities, states, and in the entire country — cleanliness has to be inextricably linked to our festivals,” he added.
Modi said the cleanliness campaign launched by his government will mark its third anniversary on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, adding that the positive results of the campaign were for all to see.
He said toilet coverage had increased from 39 per cent of the population to almost 67 per cent and more than 2.30 lakh villages declared themselves open defecation-free.
The Prime Minister said there was filth everywhere after Gujarat floods and volunteers of Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind cleaned 22 affected temples and two mosques in a phased manner in Banaskantha district, setting an “inspiring example of unity for cleanliness”.
Modi called for “Swachchata hi Sewa” (cleanliness is service) campaign at least 15-20 days prior to Gandhi Jayanti.
“We must all come together. We could look at this as preparations for Diwali, Navaratri, and Durga Puja. I urge all NGOs, schools, colleges, social, cultural and political leaders, people in the government, collectors and sarpanches to begin creating an environment of cleanliness at least 15 days ahead of Gandhi Jayanti so that it turns out to be October 2 of Gandhi’s dreams,” Modi said.
Urging people to contribute through voluntary labour, the Prime Minister asked them to join hands on Sundays and other holidays to visit neighbourhood settlements.
He said Ganesh Chaturthi stands for unity, equality, integrity and honesty while Onam gives the message of love and harmony.
Modi said festivals like Navaratri in Gujarat, or Durga Utsav in West Bengal, were tremendous tourist attractions and other festivals also provided an opportunity to attract foreign visitors.
The Prime Minister said Eid-ul-Zuha will be celebrated in a few days and extended his best wishes to all countrymen on the occasion.