‘There is no way our nation can be clean without our participation. Cleanliness should be an attribute that should make us proud of ourselves and we should not feel hesitant to indulge in it,’ says Temsutula Imsong, the Naga girl from the north-eastern district of Nagaland who along with Darshika Shah pioneered Mission Prabhughaat in tandem with Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Let’s read their story that is based in the temple town of Varanasi which ironically is one of the dirtiest places in India and tarnishes the age-old belief that, ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness.’
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Mission Prabhughat’s cleanliness drive began when Temsutula Imsong and Darshika Shah who work for an NGO called Sakaar Sewa Samiti went on a boat ride to Prabhughat. A ghat being the riverfront steps leading to the banks of the holy River Ganges was in a deplorable state and reeked of stench that almost made them throw up. The place was an open – defecation area and had been ignored for more than three decades. The two girls resolved to clean-up the ghat and decided to support the SWACHH BHARAT ABHIYAN started by Prime Minister-Narendra Modi who brought about much-needed awareness and garnered a lot of support from the people.
BEGINNING WITH MEAGRE BUDGETS
Temsutula Imsong and Darshika Shah pooled in a sum of Rs10,000. The amount was not enough but their optimism and enthusiasm helped them procure fund for the cause. People pitched in with support and to begin with, they did the cleaning manually to minimise the cost. They invested in brooms, buckets, phenyl, garbage bags and masks. Slowly funds also started coming in and gave strength to their mission.
BUILDING SUPPORT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Temsutula posted status updates using twitter and pictures to document the progress by using the hashtag #MissionPrabhughat on social media that reached more than 29 lakh accounts on social media with more than one crore impressions. This garnered support in terms of volunteers, funds, strength, and support. The initiative caught the attention of the Prime Minister who tweeted about it. This further gave an impetus to the mission.
THE FIGHT FOR SWACHHTA CONTINUES
Since then, team Saakar has worked to clean not just Prabhughat but Chet Singh Ghat, Babu Pandey Ghat, Gauri Kund at Kedar Ghat and many others. The women along with their team consider it a social responsibility to serve selflessly and be perfect role models who are a source of inspiration for others.
2nd October is synonymous with Swachh Bharat Abhiyan as it echoes with Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a clean India and Team Saakar’s Temsutula Imsong and Darshika Shah have lived up to the words of Mahatma Gandhi when he said “So long as you do not take the broom and the bucket in your own hands, you-cannot make your towns and cities clean.”