Sunday, January 30, 2005

We are a Filthy People

Indians assume it is their right to urinate and spit -- to create filth -- anywhere. "Sulabh Sauchlayas" are found on many of Mumbai's streets; yet we find men urinating on compound walls. People discard used plastic bags and papers on the streets. Most commuters throw the used paper packets of peanuts, and samosas, and vada-pavs in Mumbai's local trains. Yet these are the people who keep their homes spotlessly clean.

Gurcharan Das wonders in his sunday column if public filth is India's cultural failing. He ponders on the best way of setting things right: Do we attempt to change the culture or do we reform institutions that can enforce new habits?

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