This all-women team is on a mission to transform Ludhiana into a clean and safe city. From providing a makeover to the city hospital to painting walls which were covered with posters, these ladies will inspire you to be more responsible citizens.
Gulabi gang, as we all know, was an amorphous group of ladies from the rural background, or subaltern so to say, in the hinterland of Uttar Pradesh, or Bundelkhand area to be specific, who raised the banner against the oppressive system, fought for justice and is now a force to reckon with in the area as far as deliverance of justice is concerned.
Well, this is the story of another Gulabi gang, though they have not christened themselves as such, who have come together for the cause of a city. They are working to make the city clean, by claiming the encroached or abundant spaces, by creating awareness about the need for cleanliness and also to inspire citizens by their actions to contribute to the social cause.
These ladies go by the name of Ludhiana Cares, who, though belonging to the upper middle strata of the society, and not needing to associate themselves with the all-pervasive decay that dominates the physical landscape in Ludhiana – arguably one of the most polluted cities in India – have in their own inimitable way started to make their presence felt in a big way in the city.
As we often celebrate womanhood on The Better India and share inspiring stories so that more women come forward and claim their space in the open sun, here is the story of Ludhiana Cares that needs to be shared as it indeed has the potential to inspire women in different parts of the country to come together on a similar platform and contribute in some small way to the living space that is their abode and make it a better place, irrespective of whether the system cooperates with them or not!
1. Wall Cleaning And Painting
It all started with cleaning a stretch of wall that was plastered with posters, all kinds of slogans and messages. To make the process a huge success, members of the group roped in students from colleges and schools as also other NGOs who have been working with other NGOs of the city to make it a visible impact. The stretch chosen was the boundary wall of the government college that spreads over 500m, and after the makeover of this boundary wall, it became a landscape that brought feelings of pride for the citizens. A vigilante structure was also created so that the walls were not defaced after the makeover exercise.
2. Cleanliness Drive on Baisakhi, 2014
After having tasted success, Ludhiana Cares decided to focus its attention on a local eyesore, the grain Mandi inhabited by slums, which is a major open landscape of the city and used for political rallies. In this makeover, the group was helped by the patronizing presence of the Mayor of the city which went a long way in the process of cleaning. Such was the deposition of muck and garbage in that area that it was humanly impossible to clean it. Citizens who rented out heavy equipment provided it free-of-cost for the effort and the campaign met with a grand success.
3. Civil Hospital Project
When something good starts happening, it starts creating positive vibes, and the citizens, fed up with the apathy of the system, see a ray of hope in it. The Civil Hospital makeover, which was the third initiative of Ludhiana Cares, got chosen by itself when the residents living around the area posted a message through newspapers and requested the ladies to channelize their efforts in the process of cleaning it.
The area was a dumping ground and all kinds of garbage dominated the landscape. The ladies took it up as a challenge, cleaned the whole area and initiated the process of tree plantation. Now it has become a waiting space for the attendants of the patients. The landscape has totally changed and it has become one of the most beautiful spots of the hospital. What is creditable is that an attempt has been made by the group to encourage the patients who go back home after being treated successfully to plant a tree as a token of gratitude and to contribute in their own small way towards the creation of a cluster of fruit-bearing trees.
While executing the project of cleaning the civil hospital, the ladies where approached by the patients in the pediatric department to do something about the department, as it was in a shabby state and there was acute shortage of supplies for the new born babies. It was a facility frequented mostly by the underprivileged, who could not afford to provide all the aid on their own. After cleaning the landscape of the hospital, the ladies took up the transformation of the pediatric ward, and it has become the talk of the town. Here’s what it looks like now:
4. Distributing Bins in Cars to reduce Littering on the streets
As the Swachch Bharat campaign was started by the government, the members of Ludhiana Cares group decided this time around to target the car owners who do not think twice before littering the roads with leftovers of their eatables. Ludhiana is also notorious as the cars become caar-o-bars in the evening or the drinking and eating places. So the ladies decided to pool their resources together and start distributing car-bins to the car owners who were seen littering the roads. The impact has been visible, but it still has to make its presence widely felt. What is commendable is the fact that the message has been conveyed to the residents of Ludhiana that they should not use the roads as a dustbin.
What started as a motley crowd is now gaining strength and is becoming a visible platform that by its presence connotes an effort to change the city of Ludhiana. The salutary efforts of the ladies are being undertaken through their own contributions and therefore, they are all the more laudable and need to be shared, as they have a definite potential to inspire ladies from different parts of the country to rise and start working for cleaning the space where they reside along with their families.