Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cleanliness and Godliness

Now that we are in Tirupati and hogging on my MiL’s cooking, Pavan and myself decided to go out for some brisk walks early in the morning around the Ram temple beside his house. One round of the temple is approximately 1/2 mile.  Getting up early is no problem with Richa keeping us awake from 3am in the morning. But, this walk has become so painful for us emotionally and physically. We have to keep looking out for what we are going to step on. There’s enough feces, spit, flies and other garbage scattered around.  Street dogs roam around freely putting their dropping where ever they please.  This is the state of the cleanest part of Tirupati.

We noticed that the government managed to do a teeny tiny part by installing 4 huge garbage bins on the four sides of the temple wall but, either the garbage from the bins are not emptied or people don’t even care to put the garbage in those bins.  One house has a big bull on its front. The bull’s face is masked with flies and even he has given up on shaking his skin to rid himself of the flies. Such is the state of a historic and very revered temple in the temple town of Tirupati. This temple, being built in the time of the Chola dynasty is about 1500 years old.

The number of visitors to Tirupati crosses millions every week. Sure, it does feel like a gargantuan task to maintain the cleanliness with so many people crossing this town. But, it is also said that the amount of money the Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam makes from the donations of these visitors is so huge that the cost of keeping the town clean should not be difficult for the organization.

I remember in school and home, I was told this phrase again and again “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. I’m sure this phrase is such common knowledge. Still, as I walked with Pavan this morning along the north side of the temple we were about to pass this man who is standing right in the middle of the road. He spits a big blob of phlegm right in front of us. It just missed us by some inches.  Every time we are out with the kids, I have to keep reminding them to watch out where they step as they maybe stepping on spit or feces.

Walking in another lane, some garbage came from inside a house and almost hit us. The lady of the house was cleaning her house and what better way for her, than to push all that on to the road outside.  It is so depressing for us to visit this place and see its state like this. For that matter, this is the sorry state of affair anywhere in India. Lack of civic sense.. Looking at the way the local governments are functioning, this doesn’t seem like its their responsibility to keep the cities and towns clean.

I love this town of Tirupati as it is my husband’s hometown and we have no choice but to visit this town every time we are in India.  I hope that I will be able to see the light of the day when people living around this temple will take it on themselves to keep the surrounding of this temple clean. Either take it with the government or create some association that will improve awareness among people to keep clean.

P.S. This blog needs to follow up with a photo blog of the state of affairs which is my next task.


Rachna said...

It is true not only of Tirupati but of almost all the cities in India. It is sad to see that the public just keeps their houses clean and does not hesitate in littering/dirtying public places. It is most disgusting to see people openly spitting, urinating and littering shamelessly. No society can function well if people fail to understand the importance of keeping their surroundings clean or of a good civic sense.

gayatri said...

Yes Rachna, this is true in any part of India. Especially the pilgrim centers are the worst. They are supposed to be places of god and they are the dirtiest.There's not enough bathrooms, even the people using them are so inconsiderate and don't clean up after themselves. The street animals walking around are so dangerous and so dirty. The flies are getting to my nerves. None of us are able to walk or stand without being swarmed by them. Haven't seen this many flies in my life.I know I'm born and brought up in India but, haven't come across this many flies ever. Doesn't seem to affect anybody around. Everybody is so oblivious of this. The gutters are open, blocked and full of thrash.