“I feel totally inspired. I will not only follow the rules of cleanliness, but will also try to influence others,” said Iqbal Khan, a Class 4 student of a government school when he heard Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s spirited speech here on cleaning India by 2019.
Iqbal was not the only one to have been deeply influenced by Modi’s Clean India campaign, launched on Mahatma Gandhi’s 145th birth anniversary. From private executives, sportspersons to government employees, everyone seemed eager to be part of a mission to make Indian cities, towns and villages clean.
For a broom-wielding Ram Dular Chowdhary, 55, it was a vindication of his life-long stand that a broom is not unclean.
“I am carrying this broom today to let people know that I am not ashamed of it (broom). It is not an unclean thing, rather it is way of cleaning up,” said Chowdhary, who came from west Delhi to be part of the campaign, with his friends.
“I am proud to be here today. It is high time we are talking about cleaning India,” he said.
Dressed in white track suit and holding a banner on cleanliness, many public sector undertaking (PSU) employees came to the India Gate venue from where the prime minister formally launched the mission.
“Though we had been directed to attend this programme by our office, we are very happy this holiday has been utilised for a good cause,” said Vaibhav Kumar, who works with ONGC.
Kartika, another ONGC employee, said: “The prime minister is very motivating and it is our dream to have a clean country.”
“The prime minister came from the US so late in the night and yet he is here early morning to launch this campaign,” Kartika said as she participated with thousands of people from different walks of life in the walkathon that was led by Modi.
At the event, Modi asked people to take pledge to make the country clean by Gandhi’s 150th anniversary in 2019.
Saraswati, an NDMC school teacher in Hanuman Mandir area, said: “The campaign already seems effective. When in the morning, we gave the children some refreshments, we saw a welcome change in their attitude. Almost all the children threw the waste in the dustbins.”
“It is the first step. I am sure these children will grow up to be responsible citizens,” she added.
She felt that the prime minister launching a clean India campaign will have more impact than anyone else telling the students to clean their surroundings.
Nearly 5,000 students from across the capital had come to be part of the pledge-taking. The pledge called for dedicating 100 hours per year towards making the country clean.
Krishna Shah Vidyarthi, 60, the priest of Valmiki temple in the Valmiki Colony from where Modi symbolically launched a clean India mission, felt that the prime minister was “very serious” about ridding India of filth.
“He looked determined to change things and I hope this campaign is a success.”
A police constable on duty near Rajpath was seen telling people to throw their waste water bottles in the dustbin.
“From now on this has to be followed,” the constable said as he directed school students to throw their used water bottles into a dustbin.