20,000 Sanitation Ambassadors to Attend Champaran Satyagraha Celebration

MOTIHARI – Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the featured speaker at the celebration of the close of the centennial celebration of Champaran Satyagraha on April 10 in Motihari. 20,000 Sanitation Ambassadors (Swachhagrahis) are expected to attend. Half of the ambassadors will be from Bihar. The other 10,000 will come as representatives of other states.

Champaran Satyagraha

Champaran is a district in the state of Bihar. It was here that Gandhi began his Satyagraha campaign for Indian independence from Great Britain.

Satyagraha is often defined by Western culture as passive resistance. However, Gandhi insisted that there is a marked difference between the two.

I often used “passive resistance” and “satyagraha” as synonymous terms: but as the doctrine of satyagraha developed, the expression “passive resistance” ceases even to be synonymous . . . passive resistance does not necessarily involve complete adherence to truth under every circumstance. Therefore, it is different from satyagraha in three essentials: Satyagraha is a weapon of the strong; it admits of no violence under any circumstance whatsoever; and it ever insists upon truth. I think I have now made the distinction perfectly clear.”

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

The celebration will feature the continuing promotion of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the Clean India Mission launch by Prime Minister Modi in October 2014. The goal of the initiative is to make all of India Open Defecation Free by October 2019.

The Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, has been leading an effort to bring the Champaran District Open Defecation Free (ODF) in time for the April 10 ceremony. Currently, more than half of the household in East Champaran have been declared ODF.

The celebration will not be a vacation for the Swachhagrahis. The 10,000 from out-of-state will join with the 10,000 from Bihar for an entire week of work throughout all 38 districts in the state. During the week they will engage in door-to-door campaigns to teach people why they need toilets in their homes. Some will construct toilets and others will participate in clean-up activities.

At the end of the week, Prime Minister Modi will address the assembled ambassadors and awards will be presented to those who are deemed to have contributed the most outstanding service.

It is hoped that the week-long initiative will help to transform the Clean India Mission from a government campaign to a Gandhi-like people’s campaign. Achieving that objective will transform Swacch Bharat Abhiyan from a government crusade to a people’s movement in which the citizens themselves demand better sanitation and freedom from open defecation and its detrimental and often disastrous effects.


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