Re­fresh­ing Change

In­dia To­day’s Safai­giri Awards cel­e­brate the cham­pi­ons of a new, swachh Bharat

India Today - - THE BIG STORY | IAF - By KAUSHIK DEKA

In­dia is grad­u­ally de­vel­op­ing a cleaner en­vi­ron­ment be­cause the women of the na­tion have taken the lead in this mis­sion—this was the con­sen­sus at the third in­dia to­day Safai­giri Awards, held in Delhi on Gandhi Jayanti, Oc­to­ber 2. The awards were launched in 2015, af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi nom­i­nated the In­dia To­day Group (ITG) and its chair­man and edi­tor-in-chief, Aroon Purie, as am­bas­sadors of the Swachh Bharat Ab­hiyan. Cham­pi­ons in 16 cat­e­gories were hon­oured and re­ceived awards from Vice Pres­i­dent M. Venka­iah Naidu and ITG chair­man Purie.

Sev­eral fe­male safai war­riors who brought about change were also fe­lic­i­tated—ac­tor Bhumi Ped­nekar pre­sented spe­cial awards to th­ese ‘Swach­hata hi Seva’ cham­pi­ons. ITG ed­i­to­rial di­rec­tor (broad­cast and new me­dia) Kalli Purie em­pha­sised wom­ens’ con­tri­bu­tion to the clean­li­ness drive. “If you want some­thing said, ask a man,” she quoted for­mer Bri­tish PM Mar­garet Thatcher, “[but] if you want some­thing done, ask a woman.” Words of encouragement came also from the prime min­is­ter, who tweeted: “I laud the @ In­di­a­To­day fam­ily for the proac­tive steps to fur­ther aware­ness on Swach­hata. Con­grats to all #Safai­giri awardees.”

Known for his wit, the vice pres­i­dent did not dis­ap­point. “Swach­hata is a mis­sion with­out any com­mis­sion,” he said, “so there should not be any re­mis­sion.” Say­ing that safai­giri is about clear­ing away filth from ev­ery sphere of life—body, mind and bank ac­count—he noted

that the prime min­is­ter had al­ready made a con­sid­er­able be­gin­ning on the last of those via de­mon­eti­sa­tion. He also had the house in splits with this oblique ref­er­ence to con­tro­ver­sial ‘god­men’: “To main­tain clean­li­ness, a man must shave ev­ery­day or trim his beard reg­u­larly. If you only do it once in a year, you will look like a baba—and nowa­days, ev­ery­one knows what is hap­pen­ing to babas.”

In a video mes­sage, ac­tor Amitabh Bachchan, who re­ceived the award for most ef­fec­tive brand am­bas­sador, re­it­er­ated this sim­ple and ef­fec­tive sug­ges­tion—“Clean [just] 10 square yards around the place you live. If ev­ery­one in the coun­try does that, the en­tire coun­try will be clean.”

The day-long event also made use of mu­sic to pro­mote the na­tional clean­li­ness drive. Sev­eral top singers from across the coun­try— in­clud­ing Fazilpuria, Tulsi Ku­mar, Jasleen Royal, Mad­hushree, Shashaa Tiru­pati, Amit Mishra, Ankit Ti­wari, Nakaz Aziz and Mo­hit Chouhan—re­galed the au­di­ence with songs and en­cour­ag­ing mes­sages. The big take­away was that the clean­li­ness drive had to take root at an in­di­vid­ual level, which could only hap­pen with a change of mind­set.

The most mem­o­rable mo­ment of the event, how­ever, was five-year-old Jayesh Ku­mar’s pow­er­ful ren­di­tion of Gandhi’s fa­vorite bha­jan, Raghu­pati Raghav Raja Ram— an ap­pro­pri­ate trib­ute to the fa­ther of the na­tion on his birth anniversary, the man who be­lieved that clean­li­ness is next to god­li­ness.

CHANDRADEEP KU­MAR

VICE PRES­I­DENT M. VENKA­IAH NAIDU AND IN­DIA TO­DAY GROUP CHAIR­MAN & EDI­TOR-IN-CHIEF AROON PURIE WITH THE SAFAI­GIRI AWARD WIN­NERS

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.