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KHUSHWANT SINGH

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    Khushwant Singh (born Khushal Singh, 2 February 1915 – 20 March 2014) was an Indian author, lawyer, diplomat, journalist and politician and. His experience in the 1947 Partition of India inspired him to write ‘Train to Pakistan’ in 1956 (made into a film in 1998), which became his most well-known novel. He is one of the prime English authors of India.

    Born in Punjab, Khushwant Singh was educated in New Delhi, and studied law at St, Stephen’s College, Delhi, and King’s College London. After working as a lawyer in Lahore Court for eight years, he joined the Indian Foreign Service upon Independence of India from British Empire in 1947. He was appointed journalist in the All India Radio in 1951, and then moved to the Department of Mass Communications in UNESCO at Paris in 1956. His last two careers encouraged him to pursue a literary career. As a writer, he was best known for his trenchant secularism, humour, sarcasm and an abiding love of poetry. His comparisons of social and behaviour characteristics of Westerners and Indians are laced with acid wit. He served as the editor of several literary and news magazines, as well as two newspapers, through the 1970s and 1980s. Between, 1980-1986 he served as Member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India.

    Khushwant Singh was bestowed with Padma Bhushan in 1974. But he returned the award in 1984 as a protest against Operation Blue Star in which the Indian Army raided Darbar Sahab in Amritsar. In 2007 he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award of India.

    Khushwant Singh was born in Hadali, Khushab District, Punjab (which now lies in Pakistan), into a Sikh family. He was the younger son of Sir Sobha Singh and Veeran Bai. Since births and deaths were not recorded in those times, his father simply made up 2 February 1915 for his school enrolment at Modern School, New Delhi. But his grandmother Lakshmi Bai asserted that he was born in August, so he later set the date for himself as 15 August. Sobha Singh was a prominent builder in Lutyens Delhi. His uncle Sardar Ujjal Singh (1895–1983) was previously Governor of Punjab and Tamil Nadu.

    His birth name, given by his grandmother, was Khushal Singh (meaning a “Prosperous Lion”). He was called by a pet name “Shalee”. At school his name earned him ridicule as other boys would mock at him with an expression, “Shalee Shoolie, Bagh dee Moolee” (meaning, “This shalee or shoolee is the radish of some garden.”) He chose Khushwant so that it rhymes with his elder brother’s name Bhagwant. (He declared that his new name was “self-manufactured and meaningless”. But he later discovered that there was a Hindu physician with the same name, and the number subsequently increased).

    He entered Delhi Modern School in 1920 and studied there till 1930. There he met his future wife, Kawal Malik, one year his junior. He continued higher education at Government College, Lahore, St. Stephen’s College Delhi, and King’s College London, before reading for the Bar at the Inner Temple.

    Khushwant Singh started his professional career as a practising lawyer in 1939. He worked at Lahore Court for eight years. In 1947 he entered the Indian Foreign Service for the newly independent India. He started as Information Officer of the Government of India in Toronto, Canada. He was a Press Attaché and Public Officer for the Indian High Commission for four years in London and Ottawa. In 1951 he joined the All India Radio as a journalist. Between 1954 and 1956 he worked in Department of Mass Communication of the UNESCO at Paris. From 1956 he turned to editorial services. He founded and edited Yojana, an Indian government journal in 1951 -1953; and also The Illustrated Weekly of India, a newsweekly; and two major Indian newspapers, The National Herald and the Hindustan Times. During his tenure, The Illustrated Weekly became India’s pre-eminent newsweekly, with its circulation raising from 65,000 to 400000. After working for nine years in the weekly, on 25 July 1978, a week before he was to retire, the management asked Singh to leave “with immediate effect”. A new editor was installed the same day. After Singh’s departure, the weekly suffered a huge drop in readership. In 2016 Khushwant Singh entered Limca Book of Records as a tribute.

    From 1980 to 1986, Singh was a member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament. He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1974 for his service to the country. In 1984, he returned the award in protest against the siege of the Golden Temple by the Indian Army. In 2007, the Indian government awarded Khushwant Singh the Padma Vibhushan. As a public figure, Khushwant Singh was accused of favouring the ruling Congress Party, especially during the reign of Indira Gandhi. He was derisively called an ‘establishment liberal’. Singh’s faith in the Indian political system was shaken by the anti-Sikh riots that followed Indira Gandhi’s assassination, in which major Congress politicians are alleged to be involved; but he remained resolutely positive on the promise of Indian democracy and worked via Citizen’s Justice Committee floated by H.S. Phoolka a senior advocate of Delhi High Court.

    Singh was a votary of greater diplomatic relations with Israel at a time when India did not want to displease Arab nations where thousands of Indians found employment. He visited Israel in the 1970s and was impressed by its progress.

    Khushwant Singh was married to Kawal Malik. Malik was his childhood friend who had moved to London earlier. They met again when he studied law at King’s College London, and soon got married. They had a son, named Rahul Singh, and a daughter, named Mala. His wife predeceased him in 2001. Actress Amrita Singh is the daughter of his brother Daljit Singh’s son – Shavinder Singh and Rukhsana Sultana. He stayed in “Sujan Singh Park”, near Khan Market New Delhi, Delhi’s first apartment complex, built by his father in 1945, and named after his grandfather. His grandniece Tisca Chopra is a noted TV and Film Actress.

    Khushwant Singh was a self-proclaimed agnostic, as the title of his 2011 book suggests: ‘Agnostic Khushwant: There is no God explicitly revealed.’ He was particularly against organised religion. He was evidently inclined towards atheism, as he once said, “One can be a saintly person without believing in God and also a detestable villain while believing in him. In my personalised religion, There Is No God!” He also once said, “I don’t believe in rebirth or in reincarnation, in the day of judgement or in heaven or hell. I accept the finality of death.” His last book, ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ridiculous’ was published in October 2013, following which he retired from writing. The book was his continued critique of religion and especially its practice in India, including the critique of the clergy and the priests. It earned a lot of acclaim in India.

    Singh died of natural causes on 20 March 2014 at his Delhi residence, at the age of 99. His death was mourned by many including the President, Vice-President and Prime Minister of India. He is survived by his son and daughter. He was cremated at Lodhi Crematorium in Delhi at 4 in the afternoon of the same day. During his lifetime, Khushwant Singh was keen on burial because he believed that with a burial we give back to the earth what we have taken. He had requested the management of Bahai Faith if he could be buried in their cemetery. After initial agreement, they had proposed some conditions which were unacceptable to Singh, and hence the idea was later abandoned. He was born in Hadali, Khushab District,  in the Punjab Province of modern Pakistan, in 1915. According to his wishes, some of his ashes were brought and scattered in Hadali.

    In 1943 he had already written his own obituary, included in his collection of short stories Posthumous. Under the headline “Sardar Khushwant Singh Dead”, the text reads:

    We regret to announce the sudden death of Sardar Khushwant Singh at 6 pm last evening. He leaves behind a young widow, two infant children and a large number of friends and admirers. Amongst those who called at the late sardar’s residence were the PA to the chief justice, several ministers, and judges of the high court.

    He also prepared an epitaph for himself, which runs as follows:

Here lies one who spared neither man nor God;
Waste not your tears on him, he was a sod;
Writing nasty things he regarded as great fun;
Thank the Lord he is dead, this son of a gun.

He was cremated and his ashes are buried in Hadali school, where a plaque is placed bearing the inscription:

IN MEMORY OF
SARDAR KHUSHWANT SINGH
(1915–2014)

A SIKH, A SCHOLAR AND A SON OF HADALI (Punjab)
‘This is where my roots are. I have nourished them with tears of nostalgia.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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HAPPY REPUBLIC DAY

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    Dear Friends, I wish you all a happy Republic Day. In life, what we have we never value, and that could even be our own country India and its valued citizenship. But I certainly value the privilege of being a loyal citizen of this great nation. Just as I love my life I love this great nation.

    Think and relish the fact that you’re born into this mighty and enduring civilization which is definitely not a coincidence. But a divine semaphore, about which we all are unaware. India takes into its iron fold, the great diversity of all times, in terms of Parsis, Sikhs, Jains, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and even some of those religions, that I may have missed out, or even people who in reality might not practice any religion, living together for generations. It has a wealth in trillions to the power of infinity that we all share and have been sharing.

    This humongous civilization called Indic … India … Bharat … Hind, has for generations stood together and I’m sure it’ll stay together till infinity. Any aberrations of course will be met by the collective strength of this burgeoning society called India.

    And, last but not the least, if at all, you are ever told, you’re not going to live for more than thirty days, the things that’ll immediately reflect on your mind are, the love for your immediate family, distant family, friends, your journey of life, your hometown and finally your nation that gave you your identity.

    So love thy nation and celebrate the Republic day.

    Jai Hind!!!!!

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

NGO ACTIVITY ON 29TH MAY, 2017

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NGO ACTIVITY on 29th May, 2017

    

    On 29th May your NGO was in Apollo Hospital, New Delhi yet again to meet some brave hearts. It is believed children have a more positive attitude when it comes to fighting life threatening diseases—‘Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference—Winston Churchill.’

        One cannot help but praise profusely these children and their parents for taking up this tough fight against cancer. This time we could not interact with them as they were too young and in their mother’s lap. Perhaps, they didn’t even know what has struck them. We handed over our contribution to the parents of these children while wishing them the very best. We are more than sure soon they would be up and about.

    Let me briefly take you through these children:

  1. Master Hardik Dangi, age 2 years. He is the son of Mr Jagdish Singh Dangi, who is a fireman and hails from Dattiya in M.P. The child is suffering from ALL (Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia) which is a life threatening and has been in the hospital for the last 25 days and the treatment is likely to cost around ten lacs. (Patient details: In ICU, Uhid: APD1.0010736038, Patient IP No: DELIP 15809).

  1. Master Rudra Bansal, age 11 months. He is the son of Mr Sumit Kumar Bansal who is self employed and hails from The child is suffering from ALL (Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia) a life threatening aliment and has been in the hospital for over a month and the treatment is likely to cost around 8-10 lakhs. (Patient details 5th floor T2 Ward, Uhid: APD1.0010733599, Patient IP No: DELIP 15716).

    3.  Baby Dhaniya, age 10 months. She is the daughter of Mr Saurabh Rajawat a primary teacher in a private school near Nagina Chowk, Dhampur. The child is suffering from Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia again a life threatening disease and has been in the hospital since three days and the treatment is going to cost around 7-8 lakhs. (Patient details 5th floor T2 ward, Uhid no: APD1.0010728288, Patient IP No: DELIP 16023).

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    Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*****

Read … Gloom behind the Smile  & Refractions … from the Prism of God … books that describe the fight of cancer patients.

Political column: KEJRWAL KE DAT KHANE KE AUR DIKHANE KE AUR

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

aap party arvind kejriwal manish sisodia

     The sweet simple junta of Delhi voted for the duo of Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia, thinking, ‘idealism’ was their totem-pole. They initially projected to the people of Delhi they had come to serve, sans perks, lal batti and corruption and in fact they sounded loud opprobrium against parties like Congress and BJP who were after power and corruption. But today AAP is cheating the hapless public of Delhi by going back on almost all parameters of ‘idealism’ and now they want a hefty salary increase of 140%. Kejriwal should visit all the mohalla sabhas and seek permission from the junta of Delhi whether this increase is justified, for this is how AAP party works for all their major decisions.

SNAP/JUDGEMENT toi TODAY

Kejriwal, Stop This

Delhi’s AAP government came in on a wave of idealism. However; it is now trying to raise MLA salaries from the current Rs 88,000 per month to Rs 2,10,000 per month. Such a hefty hife, amounting to a 140% raise, is outrageous. Has the AAP government , in the six months or so it has been in power, raised incomes in Delhi by 140% for MLAs to deserve this much of a hike?

Article: SHAMMING IN DELHI METRO- JUST FOR A SEAT

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Some men are crooks, but most women are holy angels. But nothing is sacrosanct as trends could be changing, especially in Delhi Metro, and that too just for a seat. For on a day when I was travelling from Rajiv-Chowk to Huda-City-Centre, Gurgaon in a crowded metro, I witnessed something quite demeaning.

I had just boarded the over-crowded metro from Rajiv Chowk when a lady appearing in her mid-thirties, more from the rural background came and stood next to the vestibule. Not very far from where I was standing, but very close to the two-seater generally reserved for senior citizens or the differently-abled, near the vestibule. She suddenly squatted on the floor, when people thought she was perhaps unwell. Mind you,Delhi metro otherwise doesn’t allow you to squat on the floor. And after a short while she started nudging the old man on the senior citizens seat, to vacate the seat for her, as she was not feeling well.

The frail looking senior citizen looked at her, somewhat dismayed. And in all sincerity and to help the young lady; he offered his seat by getting up. The lady without losing any time and even without a word of thanks or a grin or even a twitch on her face slipped into the seat by just sliding up like a snake from a squatting position as if she was not able to walk. I surely found this weird. All this happened just around Central Secretariat station. She then just closed her eyes to dose off. And this gave me a feeling as if I was watching some kind of a skit. The old man then moved to where she was squatting and rested himself against the side of the metro while standing.

In the jam-packed morning metro no one had the eagerness to notice anything like this as everyone was too busy thinking about the day ahead: thus planning for it; barring the old man who perhaps was troubled, and me who just by chance happened to witness the proceedings happening in very close proximity.

By now the metro had come out of the underground, and had moved ahead, towards Qutub Minar station, as if to welcome the morning sun in the freezing winters of Delhi. Just then I churned myself a bit, more to comfort myself, as I was brutally sandwiched between passengers, is when I had an eye contact with the old man who seemed quite uncomfortable. But then I thought, being uncomfortable is definitely a lower priority than being unwell. And the woman was still resting, with her eyes closed.

On seeing her, I too decided to shut my eyes for a couple of minutes while standing. Thinking it will give some comfort and will make me feel fresh. Just then the metro announced ‘Chattarpur station’ and started slowing down. With the announcement the lady opened her eyes, she was now wiping her face with her hanky trying to look fresh and even applied some perfume out of a miniature. She then gathered her shawl and coolly started inching towards the exit door by nudging men to make way for her. And by then the metro had stopped at Chhatarpur station. Where, she got off and started running ahead of men, to catch the lift. No one could have said she was unwell. I glanced at the old man, only to realise he was where he was. I then looked at the seat vacated by the lady. It was occupied, but this time, it was an old lady–thankfully a senior citizen.

And, all is not fair in love and war. For, once when I was returning from Huda City centre, Gurgaon to Rajiv Chowk. I was again standing near the vestibule, where, the two senior citizens seat were occupied by two girls, perhaps college going. One out of them appeared to be all by herself and apparently from North-East. The other appeared to be a local with her boy friend; and while she was seated, her boy friend was standing right in front of her, in quite a lovey-dovey mood early in the evening; surely not gelling well with the ambience around.

At MG Road, an elderly looking senior citizen couple got in and walked towards these girls–rightfully for the seat. While the girl from North-East coolly got up and gave the seat to the elderly lady; the boy friend of the other girl told the elderly gentleman ‘she is not well so she won’t get up.’ The poor old man had little choice but to keep standing.

But the boy friend’s lie was more than evident when every now and then, and under some pretext or the other he was groping his girlfriend. Trying to hold her around the shoulders, fondling her lips or even caressing her hair, and the two were making the ambience look sick.

After about twenty minutes they both got off at INA market and disappeared holding hand in hand. That clearly showed she wasn’t sick. The empty seat this time was immediately occupied by another young lady but without a boyfriend; even before the senior lady who was already occupying the seat could pull her senior partner to occupy the vacated seat. So he remained standing again.

And this is what came to my mind. Some men are crooks, but are most ladies angels? Or is it that some men make some ladies crook? Or ladies now want to compete with men in crookedness? That apart, but what is more saddening is, just to grab a seat and that too for a while one can fraudulently declare herself sick and go the extent of snatching the right of a senior citizen. So are most women Angels? Can I say no?

ARTICLE: WHETHER #KIRAN OR #KEJRI- BOTH ARE ‘PERSONS OF SUBSTANCE’

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This prestigious contest, for the coveted seat of Delhi sounds the bugle of a changing India. For Indian politics in the last 24 hours has moved an eon after Kiran was declared as the Chief Ministerial candidate for BJP. What India is now witnessing is a political contest of an ideal nature and that too between the two of India’s most upright and daring bureaucrats, and Ramon Magsaysay Awardees. And, it will not surprise me if both behind the scene would sigh a relief for having succeeded in bringing in, persons of substance in their own form into Indian Politics, albeit from different political parties. It doesn’t matter who wins or who loses as they both win in ideology and with them Anna Hazare, along with the people of India. As the citizens of India always longed for persons of substance in the Indian polity. For politicians like Kiran and Kejri alone in the long run can die-cast the party’s mindset for a triumphant India.

Let us for a moment forget Kiran and Kejri belong to rival parties. But their earlier journeys have been through the same UPSC campus, followed by the same corrupt corridors of power that they detested and found solace in the platform of India Against Corruption. Where, they were mentored by social activist #Anna Hazare; and so their commonality of cause and conscience may not diverge or dilute that soon. That apart, it should even be a proud moment for Anna Hazare. As two of his most ardent supporters and persons of substance and tall Indians are locked in a Herculean battle to set right the capital of India.

While Kiran a 1972 IPS officer and a Ramon Magsaysay awardee, always had that rare streak of dare for the right cause. Valiantly exhibited during her active service and post service life. Kejriwal, on the other hand is a former IRS officer and an IITian, again a Ramon Magsaysay awadee, for Emergent Leadership recognizing his involvement in a grassroots movement (Parivartan) using Right-to-Information legislation, against corruption. Truly a man of conviction.

Indian voters always cribbed about decent gentry not entering the political fray and cursed the Goonda Raj plaguing the power corridors of India. But with the entry of Kiran and Kejri in the political mainstream the bench strength of ethical politics will only move north and might just save India from ethical holocaust. As under any circumstances these two will only up the ante for good governance and anti-corruption. However their competence at the CM chair is something we will have to wait and watch.

And out of the ‘Acchey Din’ that PrimeMinister Narendra Modi promised India. This is one of the most significant ones that goes unnoticed. For, he has brought in Kiran to challenge Kejri. To only raise the standard of governance.

Between Kiran or Kejri who will win I don’t know, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his out-of-the-box thinking has made India win. And for the traditional politicians: start becoming a ‘person of substance’ if you don’t want to be overtaken.

Article: #SwachhBharatAbhiyan (SBA) – Include existing Public Toilets in SBA

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done well by wielding the broom to clean a road and its surroundings, thereby, burnishing the lost grandeur of ‘dignity of labour.’ He has also formed a formidable team of star citizens, who have given impetus to the campaign launched in around 4041 statutory towns. Where in you find cine stars, sports persons, social activists, industrialists, professionals and even politicians, psyched out. Icons like Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Ambani, Kamal Hassan, Sachin Tendulkar, Shashi Tharoor and many other distinguished personalities have graced the campaign, by lending both, social and glamour weight.

So with all of this, the speed and velocity of the campaign looks set to deliver the goods. However, the priorities within this need to be tweaked, mainly to prioritize the initial tranches. Where, I have some pointed and granular suggestions to make, that oozes right out of my firsthand experience. Create as many Public toilets as possible, in the shortest possible time and also include the existing ones in the campaign. Perhaps, this suggestion of mine may give the whole campaign a better fillip in converting the movement into a mass movement with the least of resistance. Arising, more out of the immediate necessity of the deprived public, in this case the general public; because of the limited, shabby and poor infrastructure that throws the spanner in the development of India.

For it was just, yesterday when I was driving down the crowded market area on Hill Road in Bandra, is when I felt like relieving myself. I stopped the car, got off and started looking for a public urinal. Keeping strictly in mind the Prime Minister’s message of Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, and trying to observe it to my heart’s content.

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I must have spent about half-an-hour in the crowded market area, in which time I must have covered more than a kilometer but I still could not find a public toilet. Is when I saw the logo of a petrol pump to my heart’s delight, as we all know have toilets. ‘Wow- what a relief’ I said to myself. And this got me thinking.

If this is the condition of Mumbai, one of the biggest metropolis of India what about other cities? With a burgeoning population, Mumbai has a deficit of at least 47,000 toilet seats, and the cost of constructing one toilet is INR 150,000, say authorities, so we can imagine the cost involved. This shortage in 2001 was a whooping 125,000 toilet seats when the Brihan Mumbai Muncipal Corporation (BMC) had conducted its first survey on the sanitation needs for the country’s commercial population. Going by 2001 figures, the ratio of toilets versus population comes to a whopping 1: 50 or 3,000 people using it daily in Mumbai.

MUST COMPLIMENT THE OIL COMPANIES

After relieving myself, I sincerely blessed the oil companies that thought of customer convenience, by having toilets in all their retail outlets which Indian Railways couldn’t provide in all platforms. Further, I thought this is a big opportunity to include these readily available toilets, as part of the Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan as pay and use toilets to catapult the campaign exponentially.

Today, India has about 45,000 filling stations more than Canada or UK as of March 2012, and most are with the facility of a toilet. If these toilets are made to join the SBA on a pay and use basis we can have a sudden flurry of toilets and that will certainly help the SBA.

For the Government to make public toilets, every 1-2 km, in crowded market areas along the road side may be a gigantic and close to a non doable task, so here is the way forward. Today, the immediate pressing need for the Public at large is a convenient network of clean toilets spaced around close proximity and concomitant is the wielding of broom to keep it clean. While it may be possible to construct new toilets on highways and open roads but may be extremely difficult in the already cramped and crowded market areas and this is where these toilets can come in handy

CAMPAIGNS CAN CHANGE REALITIES

Even though Government of India has transcribed incentives for building public toilets. All is not achieved merely by announcing incentives on paper alone, as it requires mindsets to change–that running a public toilet too, is a respectable venture; something like Sulabh Shauchalaya.

And so, India needs a renewed and intense campaign to promote public toilets as a doable business by respectable Individuals, Unemployed Youth, Business Houses, Societies, Builders, NGOs, SMEs, Hospitality Industry and under Corporate Social Responsibility.

Government should promote people having genuine intent of doing this noble task, and who have spare Land on which Private – Public Toilets could be constructed, or even existing toilets that could be utilized at prime and vantage locations as pay and use toilets.

The building bylaws should be tweaked to incentivise for mass proliferation of such public toilets and also sops in the form of rebate in property tax or any other, are a few boons that should be considered by the Government, if possible.

Running public toilets could be ticked at par with running hospitals as both reduce human suffering. Modi Government could further do well in bringing about this social change. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in fact has orated in one of his speeches abroad that he is currently busy in construction of Public toilets.

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