IN PHOTOS: The Silent Swachhata Revolution Led By Children In Over 1 Lakh Villages In India

While urban India is talking about the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, rural India is actually seeing it taking place on the ground. And what’s more – it is students who are leading the movement from the front! The photos below are of one of the biggest sanitation and cleanliness mass awareness programs ever conducted by any government in the world.

Are you an urban Indian or an NRI? Do you know of anything big that happened in the country last month?

Well, something big really happened in rural India last month and the majority of urban India continues to remain in the closet of breaking news of mainstream media.

March 16 – 22 was the week when, by far, one of the biggest mass awareness programmes was conducted by the Govt. of India.

There were hundreds of awareness rallies, demonstrations by sanitation departments about good cleanliness & hygienic lifestyle practices, pamphlets discussing the importance of using toilets, construction of toilets, quizzes on swachhata in schools, training for the Drinking Water & Sanitation Department employees, etc.

These were held in at least 1,00,000 villages spread through 350+ districts across 12-14 states.

I will let pictures do most of the talking, since official numbers of the total reach will be released by the government soon.

School kids being educated about the importance of good sanitation by SBM Morshi (Amaravati District, Maharastra)

School kids being educated about the importance of good sanitation by SBM Morshi (Amaravati District, Maharastra)

Students keenly watching awareness video - SBM Kolhapur Zilla (Maharastra)

Students keenly watching awareness video – SBM Kolhapur Zilla (Maharastra)

Placard (translation) "No TV & Fridge, first build Toilet please" in one of the many Vidyarthi rallies.

Placard (translation) “No TV & Fridge, first build Toilet please” in one of the many Vidyarthi rallies.

Students in Telikeecherla (Nallajarla mandal, Andhra) taking out a rally in glaring hot sun

Students in Telikeecherla (Nallajarla mandal, Andhra) taking out a rally in the glaring hot sun

Rai Tola Village members enthusiastically pledging for Swachh Bharat in Malda district (Bengal)

Rai Tola Village members enthusiastically pledging for Swachh Bharat in Malda district (Bengal)

SBM Pune used Playful(Innovative) charts in schools such that Kids understand how various aspects of cleanliness are inter-linked.

SBM Pune used Playful (Innovative) charts in schools so that kids understand how various aspects of cleanliness are inter-linked.

School students taking pledge for Clean India in Mohgata (Sakoli, Maharastra).

School students taking a pledge for Clean India in Mohgata (Sakoli, Maharastra).

Students holding placards "Shun Polythene, Save Environment" in Mewat district

Students holding placards “Shun Polythene, Save Environment” in Mewat district (Haryana)

Rally by School students help by Gram Panchayat in Khudmarai (West Bengal)

Rally by School students help by Gram Panchayat in Khudmarai (West Bengal)

IEC Students shouting slogans of Swachhata in a rally in Nangal Chaudhary (Mahendragarh Dist., Haryana)

IEC Students shouting slogans of Swachhata in a rally in Nangal Chaudhary (Mahendragarh Dist., Haryana)

Entire school & staff taking Cleanliness pledge before taking a procession in Adavi Somapur

Entire school & staff taking Cleanliness pledge before taking a procession in Adavi Somapur

Rally by Gram Panchayat in Kadagadalu (Karnataka)

Rally by Gram Panchayat in Kadagadalu (Karnataka)

Awareness programme through art (dance & drama) for Swachhata by Gram Panchayat in Bahira (West Bengal)

Awareness programme through art (dance & drama) for Swachhata by Gram Panchayat in Bahira (West Bengal)

Girl students prepare for rally through town in Aurangabad - holding placards reading (rough translation)  "Saving(Increase) in Water is Increase in (society) Wealth" "(Good)Water supply is part of (our) Development"

Girl students prepare for rally through town in Aurangabad – holding placards reading (rough translation)
“Saving(Increase) in Water is Increase in (society) Wealth”
“(Good)Water supply is part of (our) Development”

In Amethi, student holding placard "कहो सफाई लाना है, नहि दवाई खाना है!" (Pledge you will bring cleanliness, and (thereby) prevent taking medicines"

In Amethi, student holding placard “कहो सफाई लाना है, नहि दवाई खाना है!” (Pledge you will bring cleanliness, and (thereby) prevent taking medicines”

Gamified Awareness program by Bhatkuli Gram Panchayat

Gamified Awareness program by Bhatkuli Gram Panchayat

The above pictures are just a glimpse of what has been happening in rural India, for the past one month. We (urban Indians) have kept ourselves ignorant of our other half (rural) for really long and it is high time we break some of the shackles and learn what is happening there. The amount of news coverage accorded for such a large awareness program also makes us wonder how important it is to choose wisely between news delivering agencies & news-making agencies.

– Mahek Mahendra Shah

Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: [email protected], or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter (@thebetterindia).

About the author: Mahek Mahendra Shah is a non-theist Jain & hardcore Asimov bhakt, who spends most of his time reading science fiction novels. He is a mechanical engineer at heart and considers himself a regular products guy, trying to excel as a Mobility & Product consultant. One of his products recently won ‘Aegis Graham Bell awards 2014’ & his current muse, SwachhBharatApp.com aims to become the “Garbage reporting app of India”. He has been writing a book for the past 6 years. He hopes to finish it in one lifetime. about.me/mahek

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