TODAY -

Work culture, cleanliness and unemployment in Manipur

Dr Puyam Rakesh Singh *



If prevention is better than cure, we must rethink the way we look at cleaners and their job profiles. Lack of cleanliness at home, school, office, market and park are things we have learned to ignore as our way of living.

Cleanliness and diseases are inimical relatives. To put it straight, cleanliness is a major barrier to outbreak and spread of diseases. We all know this.

There is an old teaching in a very old scripture. The Sam Veda said: “One, who maintains cleanliness keeps away diseases”. What can be learned? Definitely we have a lot to learn from the line quoted from the Sam Veda.

A critical thought on this can overhaul the way we live our life and re-fashion our perception. To put it bluntly, a physician helps cure a sick person but a cleaner can prevent the very sickness. It is nothing but prevention preceding cure.

Logically speaking, many ailments and diseases could be avoided in one’s lifetime by maintaining cleanliness in those spaces where he spends his time. It is not possible to enjoy cleanliness at home only and lead a healthy life.

One is not confined to his homestead. It is reason why the developed nations employ an army of cleaners to keep their nations clean. Those who have visited such places on earth will ask some questions.

One such question will be: How can they maintain dust-free roads? Another probable question is: Where do they hide their garbage?

Undoubtedly, such a project will cost us but it will pay more. The government will spend a large sum on the cleaners. However, we can cut down heath expenditures by channeling some fund to manage the cleaning troops.

We have accommodated IRB battalions and VDF personnel. Hospitals and primary health centres are established to attend to public health.

A healthy people can be productive with the right mix of work culture. Moreover, such a move on cleanliness would make investment on public health more meaningful.

It will minimise expenditures on medical treatments and infrastructures. Equipped with the right tools and implements, the uniformed cleaners getting a good salary will maintain cleanliness in our living space.

Again, without degrading the place of a physician, a cleaner can be upgraded to prevent diseases and ensure a better living space. The state government can run its own affairs with some central government support to raise the troops. They must be provided with protective gears when it comes to handling unhealthy and filthy wastes.

Our society can learn to live with this army equipped with sophisticated brooms, baskets/waste bins, pickup trucks and so on. In doing so, the rest of the world will not laugh at us. It could be the first step to gain respect from others.

If Singapore can impose heavy tax on importing, selling and chewing of chewing gums, Manipur can also introduce a system of imposing fines to maintain cleanliness wherever necessary.

The school curriculum has lessons on cleanliness but the educated fellows need reminder calls to master a healthy art of living. A society surrounded by filth and garbage dumps should take a break from philosophising for Gangnam style (Gangnam is a place for super rich people in Seoul, South Korea).

We must sweep our courtyard before we dream of treading on streets at Times Square in New York City or Gangnam in Seoul City.

Finally, a flicker of light is seen in our cave. Whether satisfied or not, the cleanliness campaign is still alive in Manipur. There are competitions among villages, markets, wards and so on.

However, our society has to employ the educated youths to make a new society where cleanliness, work culture, employment opportunity and healthy life merge together. A decent job is not all about the pay scale but a good pay scale could change the hearts and minds of job seekers.

A cleaner wearing a clean uniform and getting a decent salary to manage the rising cost of living in Manipur can be a good start for our collective life.

Recently, a woman named Niitsu Haruko who works at the Haneda Airport in Tokyo was named the ‘National Treasure Craftsman’ for her excellent work in keeping the airport clean. This Japanese airport has been the world’s cleanest airport for four years.

Our society can also think of ‘Cleaner of the Year Award’ at national, state, district and village levels. Truly speaking, every parent in Manipur will not let their children play in filthy places.

Now the question is: Why do they create a filthy society in the first place?


* Dr Puyam Rakesh Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on 04 August , 2016.


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