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Monday, October 14, 2019

cleansing the Nation ~ Modiji plogging at Mahabalipuram

What it takes to keep the surroundings clean ? – have you ever wondered when you walk past any area which is untidy ! – other than blaming the system and expecting people to refrain from throwing litter everywhere.. … what can we do to keep the public places clean – how can we prevent people throwing waste from their balconies and from their two-wheelers or throwing from a distance !!

A recent video and photos  of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji  cleaning Tamil Nadu’s Mamallapuram beach created waves of response.  While it was a huge positive impact on right-minded citizens, who took him as a great role model, some with negative mindset did criticise it stating that it was not PM’s job and it was a   planned photoshoot.

.. .. .. and some did wrong propaganda too.   Congress MP from Tamil Nadu’s Shivaganga constituency Karti Chidambaram tweeted three images on Saturday night. Two of them show PM Modi cleaning the beach and the third image  of an equipped camera crew in action. He wrote Jai Shree Ram as the caption of the tweet.

India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) has found Karti’s post to be misleading. The viral image showing the camera crew is not related to PM Modi’s Mamallapuram beach cleaning event. This image is around 14 years old and was taken at West Sands beach, beside St. Andrews Cathedral in Fife, Scotland, by a TV production crew.  Here is something read in India Today web.  AFWA probe: ~ the initial reason for suspicion was that the crew comprised mostly of what looked like foreigners. A few users, including Twitter handle @pillai_007, pointed out on Karti’s post that the same viral picture was taken from the webpage of Tayscreen.

Tayscreen is an organisation based in Dundee City, Scotland, UK, which works with various government councils of Scotland in media production-related activities. A much bigger picture of the viral image with a wider horizon and background can be found on the Tayscreen website. In this image, one can see old European structures with two spires and a tower in the background. A combination of reverse image and keyword search indicated that the location of the viral image is West Sands beach, Fife, Scotland.  With the help of satellite images and Google street view, they  could locate and identify the two monumental spires and towers in the background as ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral and St. Rules Tower in Fife, Scotland. These historic structures can be seen from the West Sands beach, where the camera crew can be seen shooting with equipment.

India Today posted that, therefore, we can say that one of the viral images which Karti Chidambaram posted on Twitter along with PM Narendra Modi’s pictures from Mamallapuram was unrelated, and hence the post is misleading. However, we could not verify whether any crew was present at the spot while PM Modi was cleaning the beach. But the viral image used by Karti to show the camera crew was taken around 2005 in Scotland. Even Karti later clarified in a separate tweet that he was wrong in his choice of one photo.

In this beautiful World, it is easier criticising and finding fault with action of others. WE can make a difference to the place around us – all that is required is ‘indomitable will, few leading from the front and people cooperating ’ –  In 2014, Tripllicanies saw vinyl banners dotting the Mada veethis of Thiruvallikkeni – SYMA  launched a ‘Cleaning Campaign’ – not a single day job – with vision to keep Streets of Thiruvallikkeni divyadesam clean.   

Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a great beginning with his pet initiative -  Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.  The Corporation of Chennai also launched a public campaign through various forums, including social networking sites, for a `Clean Chennai' and to promote source segregation of waste. The Civic body’s aim was  to make it ‘clean Chennai’  urging the residents to take a green pledge and do their part in keeping  their home, street, work space and city clean and free from litter.

                       7th December 2014 [Sunday] catalysed Triplicane residents into action. With brooms in their hands, pledge on their lips imbued with enthusiasm to make the Divyadesam, a model place – a clean, hygiene place – volunteers of SYMA and passionate residents went around Mada  Streets launching cleanliness campaign making the Streets around the Temple – ‘Litter-free Zone’, a clean area, where bakthas can walk with bare-foot around the Temple.  SYMA was at the forefront in making the residents of Triplicane realise that a clean litter-free environment is possible, if only, we all dedicate ourselves in that.

For four  months, SYMA undertook to maintain the mada veethis spending, creating additional infrastructure, involving locals in a  “Pilot Project”.  We went on door to door campaign seeking support and urging the citizens to keep the streets clean.   

b u t  ~ the result was not a huge success.  We realised painfully that it is not as easy as it was thought out to be.  Though we were at the forefront spending some money for a noble public cause and seemingly Triplicane was with us, the project’s success could not be continued .. however we see it as a worthy beginning.  Triplicane has some Street organsiations continuing this well and there is a joint action group too.

Moral : do not waste time in criticising act of others and trying to find fault with others.  Support every action done with good intention and in the interests of the Society.  Appreciate the efforts of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji.

SYMA in service to Society
Yours Truly – S. Sampathkumar, Secretary, SYMA
14th Oct 2019.

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