Did you think Indian villages are unclean and lack proper sanitation? Here is a village in Maharashtra which will change your perception forever. With clean roads, good sanitation and exemplary waste management, the village is a perfect example of how a collaborative effort by a community can change things for good.
Two years ago, when I was scouting for a village location near Mumbai for an ad film shoot, I happened to find a beautiful village called Tamnath near Karjat, Maharashtra.
The place is unlike any other place I have been to in India as it was really clean and had no plastic bags strewn around.
The village also focused on sanitation and had achieved 98% sanitation (as told to me by the Sarpanch).
When I saw this, I got interested in learning about how the villagers achieved this. The village has a small temple dedicated to a late seer who focused mostly on cleanliness. He basically conveyed a single message in his lifetime, “Cleanliness is equal to Godliness“.
People of this village in general have a sense of hygiene. Also, the Sarpanch is very particular about sanitation. So he gives a subsidy to anyone who wants to build a toilet at home.
However, it isn’t like the village has sweepers who come early in the morning to clean up everything. The villagers themselves took the responsibility to not litter at all and so there isn’t much of a need to clean up everyday.
The Sarpanch is very proud of the cleanliness and sanitation standards of the village. He asked me to make a film promoting the importance of good sanitation facilities in a village.
He encourages every girl of the village to not marry a guy who doesn’t have a toilet at home, even if her parents are forcing her. He suggests that the girls ask the groom’s family for a toilet at home, if they wish to marry their son to the girl.
The most stunning thing is that they have a wall of shame on which they put the names of the villagers who go for open defecation. The lines written on the wall mean that these particular villagers endanger the health of the entire village!
This is the location of the cleanest village I ever saw, if you ever want to pay a visit. Just remember, keep the plastics and the filth outside!