Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Ji Insan, the Spiritual Master of Dera Sacha Sauda inaugurated the cleanliness cleanliness megadrive " Ho Prithvi Saaf, Mitey Rog Abhishaap" along with about five lacs volunteers who responded to his call with a humongous sea of brooms. Guruji flagged off the drive by releasing balloons and wielding the broom himself accompanied by his children, and then flagging of the huge crowd to start their work. Several Bollywood celebrities led by Bollywood veteran Pahlaj Nihalani joined Guruji on the podium, notably actress Poonam Dhillon, star wife and social worker Poonam Sinha, singer Udit Narayan, director Jeetu Arora, actress Flora Saini, actor Vindu Dara Singh Universal Music MD Devraj Sanyal, Music director Shameer Tandon among several others.
At the very outset, Guruji observed that He had been talking about a son of the soil coming at the helm and transforming the country, with the emergence of the present Prime Minister, Sh.Narendra Modi, that statement that he had repeatedly made in the past, had rung true. Guruji also added that inspite of the fact that the Dera's drive had started 3 years ago, with the emergence of the PM's initiative he was open even to the adoption of all of the Dera's 138 initiatives by the government, and would be happy even if their names were changed to those deemed suitable by the government.
Guruji called for suitable legislation and the introduction of fines to act as a deterrent to India's penchant for creating insanitation. In a frank exchange with the media, Guruji lamented that in a country where no one sought permission for urinating in the open, spitting or littering, cleanliness drives were subjected to unnecessary delays and procedural red tape. Guruji urged the government to simplify the procedure so that intimation and adequate notice should be enough to embark on a Mega cleanliness drive.
The MMRDA grounds in Bandra Kurla complex were swarming even as similar crowds converged around in around 25 locations all over Mumbai at locations like Azad Maidan, Oval Park, Shivaji park, Santacruz, Goregaon, JJ bridge, Chembur, Govandi, Sion, Kurla etc. The entire Mumbai is slated for a sanitation drive facelift today. The followers from various states have been divided into separate blocks and are posted in different areas for the drive.Even the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, had recently praised the Dera's commitment and dedication to the cause of cleanliness in a mammoth event in Haryana.
The day's campaign divides the city into 22 zones where different teams were working actively. Apart from various Indian states, some volunteers have also come from overseas for the event. Even as Guruji was interacting with the media, the huge Bandra Kurla grounds were totally cleaned up by volunteers and rid of the huge expanse of garbage within minutes.
A significant feature of the drive is that 600 dustbins are being installed at significant vantage points. This would be a significant first, as no one else has done it so far. In addition, the brooms and implements like spades, shovels etc are carried by all volunteers who started off from their homes with them. Colored olive green, the dustbins will serve as a reminder not to litter, said Guruji.
Guruji said that the advent of new and more dangerous illnesses made it imperative to pay attention to community sanitation and hygiene issues. Guruji observed that illnesses like, "Swine Flu, Bird Flu and now Ebola are particularly worrisome as they are transmitted through saliva, secretions etc which means they are spread by spitting. Dengue and malaria mosquitoes also breed aplenty due to wet sewage. Tuberculosis, typhoid, plague, cholera and other infectious diarrhoeas are traditional killers. In-sanitation is a killer as even a dropped banana peel could maim or kill."
All the Bollywood attendees, led by senior producer Pahlaj Nihalani, lauded Guruji's effort where people had travelled thousands of kilometres to clean a far off city.
The Deputy Director of the Maharashtra state blood transfusion council requested Guruji for a blood donation drive, which Guruji announced would be organised the today evening. He also mentioned the 76 world records including several Guinness world records that the Dera had established in humanitarian sectors like blood donation.
The question of 125 crore people littering the surroundings and expecting a few lakh people to clean it all up is indeed a vexatious one, said Guruji. No religion sanctions deliberate environmental pollution, he added. Guruji said that like Singapore and other developed countries, India too needed to impose stringent fines on people who spit and litter, since the advent of newer illnesses had made hygiene a question of survival. The movement by Guruji also includes a strong behaviour change message by making onlookers sign pledge forms. In this campaign, a strong advocacy movement to ask for stronger laws against making surrounding dirty would also be initiated.
Guruji said that spreading filth and various forms of chemical compounds were also contributing to the depletion of ozone layer, leaching into subsoil water and a steady spread of cancer causing chemicals apart from disease causing germs. The advent of polythene was also causing serious ecological issues. In all, Guruji concluded that there was a serious contribution by in-sanitation to climate change and adverse weather events.
This will be the 28th such drive in the country. Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, who teaches free spiritual meditation at Dera Sacha Sauda, holds 22 humanitarian Guinness World Records apart from a 138 ongoing social initiatives. He has achieved remarkable success in weaning away 50 million people from alcohol and drugs.
Guruji has chosen unconventional means to press home his message for society. His music has been widely acclaimed and published by Universal Music, while he is also starring in an upcoming film, MSG-The Messenger of God, to augment his anti-drug crusade.
The hashtags of the drive #HoPrithviSaaf and #AriseGoForthConquer were trending at the fourth and fifth position by 11 am.The campaign is causing a stir online through retweets by people like Devraj Sanyal, actor Vindu Dara Singh and music director Shameer Tandon. The campaign also innovatively invites locals designating them as the most important long term allies of the program. The ones who are said to arise, are the ones who sign sanitation pledges; the ones who join the drive in addition are said to be Going Forth, while the Conquerors will act as advocacy leaders and participants on a long term basis.
Guruji spoke out against social evils like female feticide, prostitution and gender discrimination and outlined various initiatives likes rescue and amalgamation of prostitutes and transgenders, body and eye donations etc, which were being actively taken up by the Dera and had translated into Guinness World Records.