Swachcha Bharat

English Translation: Srinivas Banda

Telugu original: Nadella Anuradha

Swachcha Bharat slogan is reverberating emphatically in the entire country. Clearing up of the weeds and grass that grew in the school compound, along with cleaning of toilets and class rooms has been taken up on war footing, by all of us in the school.  

Children are participating with a lot of enthusiasm. Though they competed among themselves in volunteering for other tasks, none did for cleaning the toilets. 

“We wouldn’t do such tasks, teacher” they protested. 

“My mother will thrash me if she comes to know. Please get this done by outsiders,” suggested the students of senior classes.      

“We should clean our school and our toilets. Till now, none of you have heeded to the suggestion to keep clean the surroundings that we use. You ignored your responsibilities. But now, time has come that you should learn about it. Our toilet would be cleaned by us and only us. Who will come and clean the surroundings that we have spoilt?” 

Students stood still, listening to the admonishment of senior teachers, as if those words were not meant for them. 

“We give you five minutes. We will see which one of you would come forward,” PT Master was firm.

Five minutes passed. Everybody is watching silently. 

Anil came forward, took the broom and bucket and set off to clean. 

PT Master clapped congratulatorily. Soon, more joined him with claps. Students who resisted earlier, started coming forward slowly and took the brooms.

Within two days, school surroundings have shone bright. 

That day, after the classes, Head Master addressed the children and praised their work. He emphasised that all of us must strive to realise the India as dreamt by Mahatma Gandhi and stressed that we all have that strength within us to accomplish that.

He said that all students have done a good job and some students even proved to be the role model for others. He announced that he is going to give away presents to them and urged all the other students to compete with them and win prizes. That made everyone sit straight and wait with baited breath, as this is totally unexpected!   Who all are going to receive the prizes? 

Beginning the impromptu ceremony, Head Master called Anil. Pride enveloped me, as Anil received his prize with sparkling eyes. He silently exhibited a special quality that is inherent within him. 

I noted his glance towards me while returning to his seat. 

His overdrive to tease the girls has now been channelised into a better stream, I felt. If I had accused him of attacking me and punished him, would this transformation happen? Sparing him then, has routed him into this fine path. My confidence rewarded. 

 All the teachers congratulated Anil and suggested that students and teachers as well, should idealise and follow him. 

That day, while returning home after school, I noticed that Anil separated from the others and started following me. 

I smiled cordially. He responded hesitantly. 

He came nearer, as it to say something. He didn’t, but his sad eyes did. I could feel the storm in his heart. 

“Anil,” I said, ‘Congratulations! We are all very proud of you!”

“Thanks Teacher,” He further coiled into himself shyly.

“So, will you come to the evening classes from today?” I asked with a smile. He nodded happily and ran towards his home.  

The hamlet is growing more dearer to me now.

I stopped writing and glanced at the clock. Its past midnight. I should get some sleep.  Else, it would feel lazy during the day at school. 

I resumed writing to conclude the letter…

“Mom, are you listening to my stories of the hamlet?! I narrated all this, imagining you sitting in front of me. Now tell me. Shouldn’t I go to the hamlet to meet and teach these kids? Ma, I know that you would come here soon, to watch all my children. Wouldn’t you?  Yours, Deepu…”


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