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BW Businessworld

Swachh Mindsets, Beliefs And Values

There is no shame in hard work. The shame is in indulging in acts of scams, corruption, fraud or any wrongdoings

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Thought Leadership for Reflection: The roots for the Swachh-Bharat-Mission began in 2003, when colleges/B-schools started inviting me for ethical leadership talks — workshops when we launched the Joy of Giving. Seven years and many colleges and B-schools later, I invited UN leaders, captains of industry like P. Sridhar Reddy, CMD, CtrlS, actors and crusaders Amala Aklineni , Gul Panag, Jaaved Jaffrey and other Karmaveer award recipients to clean India. In 2012 Armando Gonsalves and I enthused Manohar Parrikar — Goa CM, to voluntarily clean the Goa streets and creeks with us. Manohar then worked with us to influence PM Modi to make this a national movement. Launched on October 2, 2014, BW Businessworld chairman, Anurag Batra, chairman - Apeejay Surrendra Group, Karan Paul, supermodel Indrani Dasgupta and several others joined us to voluntarily clean India and inspire fellow Indians.

“#KeedaHaiKya to clean India?” was the simple campaign that triggered the Swachh Bharat Mission. In some Indian cities and villages “#KeedaHaiKya?” is slang for wanting to do something righteous or path-breaking and walking the road less travelled. But alas, during lectures, addressing an auditorium of 1,500-2,000 people in companies, colleges and schools, asking who all have picked the broom to clean India, less than 10 per cent of the audience raised their hands. People find it embarrassing and undignified to clean their home.

Circa 2007, my ethical leadership-workshop at India’s most premier B-School in Hyderabad. An integral part of the programme is to have students cleaning streets on Day-2. I have to inspire students to volunteer. We offer no certificates, brownie-points nor mandate students to join in. However, it is mandated that all staff (faculty/admin) will clean the streets with me. So, end of Day 1, I asked that Class of 2007 to buy brooms and garbage-bags. The next day most had brought the cleaning-implements (around 10-15 per cent chose not to volunteer).

One student (an investment-banker) tells me, “Jerry I’m sorry, I won’t be joining. I am an intellectual and meant for better things”. I responded amusingly, “Sure, there is no need. After all you are an intellectual. We are slaves”. I elbowed him humorously, “See your dean, professors there! They have garbage-bags and brooms in their hands and are joining me to clean India. I wonder what an intellectual could learn from these idiots? Tch, Tch!” He still didn’t get it. It took some time for bulbs to blink. He then came to me and joined in to clean the streets.

Idea for Action: India’s mission statement is ‘Satyameva-Jayate’ (truth triumphs). Sad India has very few people who stand for the truth and do right. There is no shame in hard work. The shame is in indulging in acts of scams, corruption, fraud or any wrongdoings by taking short cuts to achieve success.

We must develop dignity for labour. We must get rid of the manacles in our mind. There is no embarrassment in any hard work or cleaning our home. We need to develop the right mindsets, beliefs, human values and behaviours and this will make us better human beings, better citizens and better professionals at work.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Jerry is a management & OD consultant, celebrated inspirational orator, teacher, UN advisor, internationally certified leadership subject matter expert, trainer, Executive coach and an effective, innovative fundraiser and missionary entrepreneur

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