President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday exhorted people to go strongly with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Mission but ensure the society was first cleansed from within as evinced by Mahatma Gandhi through his life.
“The real dirt of India lies not in our streets but in our minds and in our unwillingness to let go of views that divide society into them and us; and pure and impure,” said President Mukherjee, who inaugurated a new Archives and Research Centre at the Sabarmati Ashram here.
The President, who was also here to address the 62nd convocation of Gujarat Vidyapeeth founded by Mahtama Gandhi in 1920, said: “We must make a success of the laudable and welcome Swachh Bharat Mission. However, this also must be seen as just the beginning of a much larger and intense effort to cleanse minds and fulfil Gandhiji’s vision in all its aspects.”
“Gandhiji would tell us – and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar would agree with him – that so long as untouchability persists, so long as dehumanising practice of carrying night soil persists, we cannot have real Swachh Bharat.”
“Gandhiji insisted on the dignity of all human labour and expressed his desire to be a scavenger. We must remember that Gandhiji wished to be a scavenger of our hearts as much as of our villages,” the President added.