The best part about being a teacher is that I get to interact with what everyone call the future of the nation. It is so good to know that the young minds are so naive to perceive anything that we call as "wrong". Everything that is good is right for them. And isn't it just true?

The other day, I was sitting in the staff room of the school where I teach the students of primary wing. Two student of third standard approached me. 

"Ma'am, may we come in please?" one of them asked. 

"Oh! Niharika and Naman, please come in." I smiled at them.

"Ma'am, do you a li'l time? We wanted your help with a poem recitation competition." Niharika hesitantly asked me, while giving me the notification of the competition. 

"Sure. Let me see.", I took the notice from her hand. 

It was a poem recitation competition to be held for the recent Swatchh Bharat campaign. 

"Okay. Before you can go ahead with writing with the poem, tell me what do you mean by cleanliness? how do you perceive hygiene and consequently sanitation?"  I asked to two puzzled kids. 

Naman has always been really active in my class. He answered first.

"Hygiene is very important for having a good health. If we are dirty, like unclean hands and face, it leads to many diseases."

"Good. Tell me the things that you do everyday that your mom tell you to, for a clean lifestyle?" I asked them further.

"We was our hands before eating.."Niharika said excitedly, "so that any disease causing germs don't harm us with the food we eat."

"Very good. You also take a bath everyday because it helps you get rid of the germs that are there due to the sweating. Infact, your mom washes all the vegetables before cooking so that impurity in any form can be get rid of." 

"What if the water we use to clean everything is dirty?" Niharika asked.

"That was my next point. Make sure that you use the water coming from the Municipal Corporation. Boil the water before drinking if you have any doubts. Treat the water with chlorine to filter it for other uses." I quickly added.

"Also, we dispose off our garbage." Naman added.

"Yes. But do you know what is important? It is important to dispose your garbage at the appropriate place. In school you have the dustbins. At home, you should keep dustbins which are cleaned regularly. Make sure that you don't throw your household garbage at the proper disposal place and not on the street." 

"Like our neighbour uncle does. He just empties his dustbin outside his home, on the road." Niharika looked concerned and said. 

"So the next time you see him doing that, tell him not to do so. He will be embarrassed enough to be stopped by a kid. It is no way kids that you clean your home and litter on the roads. The roads belong to us too. Imagine, your neighbour uncle keeps his house clean and pollutes his surrounding. Anyone visiting him would not be impressed by his clean house because what he sees first his the dirty surroundings!"

The kids giggled. 

"Now. let us understand the meaning of sanitation. Sanitation aims at improving the health and well being of the human race by the means of proper disposal of human and animal wastes.  Do you know that almost half of the population of Indian defecates in the open?" I asked them.

"But ma'am, that is too unhygienic. We read in our science class that how open defecation leads to spread of many diseases." Niharika sad sadly.

"Yes, that is the case. But you alone can not help it. But together, yes we can."

"How?" curious Naman asked me. 

"By learning the clean sanitation practices. Making sure that  everyone who needs this information has it, around you. You can not build toilets right now for public use, but yes you can spread the awareness, isn't it?"

Both the kids nodded. 

"Also, always keep in mind that after every time you use the washroom, you should flush and keep your toilets clean. As well as, you should wash your hands to prevent any spread of germs." I said while keeping my tea-cup aside. 

"Also, cleanliness is next to Godliness. You told in class Ma'am.." Niharika also started to say.

"Yes, it is indeed. Do you know why cleanliness is next to Godliness? Because a clean and healthy body attracts the supreme power. But you should be equally clean in your thoughts too. That is an altogether different discussion though!" I picked up my en and notepad to help them write a poem. 

"Kids, do you realize that now that you know so much about hygiene now?" I asked them.

"But how does that makes Swatcch Bharat?" both of them asked in unison. 

"I am sure that you are good students and learners. You will practice the better ways of life by following the simple hygiene rule of :

1. Safe drinking Water
2. Better Sanitation
3. Personal Hygiene 
4. Kitchen Cleanliness
5. Waste disposal,

you can live a healthy life. And talk to your friends about the same. Even if you influence one more person, they will in return influence one more. And thus you build a chain of well read and behaved people who are unanimously working towards a clean and better India." 

I continued, "Also, you just learned that these are the five major ways that can help in reducing the spread of diseases like cholera, dysentery, malaria etc. So, you will be the one leading people towards a healthier nation."

The kids were definitely impressed by knowing that their li'l efforts can be of big help. 

I took few moments to write a poem. 

"Here you go kids, recite this once." I said handing them my notebook. 

The kids happily chanted the poem. 

I strongly believe that teaching the next generation and self introspection can lead to a cleaner and healthier India. Cleanliness starts from self. Only then we can make others aware. For my readers, who can not read or understand Hindi, here is an approximate translation of the poem :

(My Dream India

Cleaner homes, cleaner streets,
No more mind and body that is incomplete,
Good thoughts and clean views,
Between greenery and happiness, no one will have to choose.

That is my unique India.
Clean India, Healthy India.

Eradication of diseases from every street,
Everywhere only healthy homes will greet,
No more spitting on the roads,
Dear words shall be cheered as odes. 

That is my unique India.
Clean India, Healthy India.

Poverty will not stay here for long,
One would hear only the Saints' song,
India will be the Golden Bird again,
Gandhiji's dream of "Swachh Bharat" will not go in vain

That is my unique India.
Clean India, Healthy India.

Independent India, Empowered India.
Yound India, Well-knit India.
That is my unique India.
Clean India, Healthy India.)

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  1. That's a beautiful post and a lovely poem :). Kids need to be taught about cleanliness not only at home but even outside in the cities from the time they are young. Only this can ensure a clean society and country. We need to be the change we always ask for.

  2. @Aseem
    Tu dekh le, hindi me bhi likh leti hu main! :P

  3. That was such a cute post and explained so innocently. I myself is a teacher, but my students are all adults. Yet, there is so much to learn from them. Loved your blog :)


  4. @Geets
    Thank you so much for your kind words. You indeed learn a lot from your student.I am really glad you liked my blog :)