Cleanliness and order are not matters of instinct, they are matters of education, and like most great things, you must cultivate a taste for them

– Benjamin Disreli

Cleanliness is a very important virtue that promotes positive vibes and nurtures the breeding of a brighter future. It is said that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body; and a pre-requisite for a healthy body is clean surrounding. The nationwide cleanliness campaign, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, conceptualized by PM Narender Modi in Oct 2014 was intended to inculcate the value of cleanliness in all citizens and strive to motivate everyone to maintain clean surrounding.

The need for cleanliness in Kashmir may be viewed from multiple vantage points. Apart from the physical garbage and filth, terror and propaganda also account for filth at the psychological level which also need to be addressed. Thus along with the need of physical cleaning of dirt and garbage, there is also the need to clean the region from propagators of anti-national & separatist sentiments. The threat to society that both the problems cause, needs to be understood by all if they are to be successfully addressed. To do so, both problems need to be addressed collectively with the maximum cooperation of the local populace. It is worth a mention that Hiller village in Anantnag district prides itself of being an open defecation free village since 2018. This is indeed a major step in the direction of maintaining clean surroundings for the children of the region. It also reduces the likelihood of transmission of hygiene related diseases like typhoid & cholera. Other villages should consider the example set by the villagers of Hiller village as a beacon to be followed.   

Since time immemorial, Kashmir has been considered as the closest comparison to heaven on earth. However, due to increased tourism, the rate of garbage disposal increased in direct proportion. Apropos, the increased terror activities in the Valley are also a major hindrance to the resumption of normalcy which needs cleaning if the children of Kashmir are to be given a bright future. A major fault line in this regard is the lack of awareness about garbage disposal and the importance of cleanliness. The recent effort by the Security Forces in South Kashmir, wherein each Company Operating Base adopted one local village and conducted cleanliness drives along with ‘Health Awareness Campaigns’ has been a step in the right direction. As we approach the festive season, let us all take a pledge to rid ourselves of being slaves to garbage and filth, both physical and psychological. Along with sound education, clean surroundings and a terror free environment will ensure a safe haven for the future and will also revive the heaven on earth that Kashmir has been known for.

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