Ganghigiri !

I was witness to Gandhigiri ! Rather party to it, on Gandhi Jayanthi or the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. For starters, this was an interesting activity ! (Gandhigiri is increasingly getting used as a word that describes living the Gandhian ideologue in modern times with necessary tweaks to suit the times)!

As residents of our locality, we decided to get down to the road and personally pick and clean an empty plot of land being used a garbage dump yard. Posing a health, visual and mental and moral hazard to the entire neighborhood!!

Mahendran called me up late in the night one evening last week, stating that Kamayani and Glory had come up with this idea. From the word go, I was game. I cant understand, where such pockets of energy reside in me, to jump out at these times. The five of us (Kamayani & Avinash, Glory & Mahendran, and me) met at about 10.30 in the night. And discussed. Thus started the Shramdan. (I learnt a new word. Shramdan : Treat all work as equal. Nothing too high. Nothing too low).

The invite got made. It got distributed. We got encouraging responses. We tripped a few times. We fell a few times. But we gathered ourselves back all the time. The day before the event, many other people joined in, as they got to know. New ideas came up. The final strategy was three pronged.

  1. Build awareness that this is not a public dumpyard
  2. Clean up the place in the process
  3. Educate people who dump garbage about alternate mechanisms.

Today, all three were accomplished.

At 10.00 sharp, our hands gloved, with a couple of shovels, lots of gunny bags and a handwritten signboard, stating “Lets keep the place clean” a motely crew started work. Here we were. Seemingly sophisticated men, women and children, putting their nose on the road ( well, almost) to clean up.

Then came the mound of garbage that had accumulated over 4 years. Step by step. Rather, bit by bit. The clean up continued. More people joined in. Children jumped in to do their bit. Shopkeepers watched in awe. Some clicked photographs (god knows why). Others just stood there.

Dripping sweat did not deter anybody. The piercing sun was beaten back by the resolve to contribute. To change a few things. The way Gandhi had begun his work ! After about two hours, we had collected an entire truck load. Passersby in cars stopped. Got out, and said, how can we help? Come join us was the chorus !!

It was also good fun !

Then came the bit of educating all about the use of proper disposal methods. By now, the neighbourhood was aware that we had cleaned up that garbage and as we approached, many sheepishly admitted that they had contributed to it, while others didn’t. Some others did do other things.

One such was to point out other places where there are garbage mounds, expecting us to go clean those up too !

When we called it a day, late in the afternoon, every sinew hurt. We were hungry. Thirsty. And quite obviously – dirty.

Our hearts were warm. Perhaps with the feeling, that we had remembered Bapu in a very unique way on his birthday. Perhaps it was because we had reached out to each other and established new bonds., Perhaps, because the place is clean !

Or perhaps, simply because we see it as just a beginning. The spirit of this Gandhi Jayanthi will take us forward. A long way !

The team players who have signed the sign up sheet include

Mahendran. Glory. Madan. Sunil. Raja. Mani gounder. Sabari. Murugan. Ashish. John Correra. Ravi. JP Victoria. Praveen. Renuka. Kamayani. Kuldeep. Akshay. Akash. Leena. Dhanaraj. Sharmila. Selvi. Ganesh. Latha. Caroline. Nirmala. Nikita. Gautam. RP Rastogi. Malathi. Prakash. Abhinav. Amit Jain. Parul Jain. Suman Thapa. Sagash Sharma. Sreejesh. Sudeer. CM Padmanabha Nair. Jamuna Rani. Shanti. Dr. Shanti. Choudhary. Nagesh. KM Venu. Sahil Wahid.

More than 50 people had chipped in. We are all smiles !

18 thoughts on “Ganghigiri !

  1. Kavi,

    A great way of remembering the great man. Marvellous!!! My sincere good wishes to all those who participated in such a good work. It is 10:45 PM and I am overwhelmed. Three best things, were that on seeing people doing something, others joining. The second was the way you educated others in not littering. The third was that you took pictures and published in your blog. This gave us a feeling that as if we were standing and watching the whole stuff. Keep it up Kavi. This is a small begining but will enable us to lead into bigger steps. Great!

  2. KK says:

    Wow! Awesome guys!!! Hats off for you and your team for doing such a wonderful job!!! *Claps and standing ovation*

  3. Swatantra says:

    Bravo!! That’s what the spirit is.. It’s always the first step!! So many people are willing for the kindness but they are afraid of the first step!!

    You all have set an example!! Congratulation to each and everyone!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Inspiring act!! I was actually looking at today’s papers and expetcted it to make a headline or two.

  5. priya says:

    Hats off to u kavi and all your team. My heart says you have educated all onlookers and thaz what made them to join hands with you.

    Good job and a great awareness to your neighborhood and hope nobody drops anymore garbag their. Try post a board with few quotes about ppl’ who helped and it will be a landmark forever.

  6. indianangel says:

    Very nice to hear this Kavi! so where are you in this photo? Y dont you upload your photo as well?
    Charity always begins at home – unless we realize we need to keep our streets clean nobody will help us for that. I really wanted to appreciate your concern on this! Keep it up! 🙂

  7. Keshi says:

    Nice one…great message. We gotta do it for ourselves and for our country.


  8. Mumbai Guy says:

    Cool. I like this concept and have been thinking for a while doing the same thing as you guys.

    Lemme try finding some volunteers. Thanks much for doing this for society.

  9. shark says:

    WOW! That was realy very nice of you all..:)
    Way to go!

  10. enigma says:

    hey there,
    got here while blog hopping..
    this is really wonderful, proud of your Gandhigiri!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Way to go!!!
    Congrats on the initiative Kavi….


  12. Jeevan says:

    WOW!! That’s Great, very proud of you care on our society Friends! Every one should think like u, then ony we can see a Clean India.

  13. sathish says:

    amazing work man… shows ur true spirit!!

  14. Kavi says:

    Balaji : Thanks ! Messages like yours are so powerful in keeping up the momentum

    KK: Thanks for the standing ovation. Appreciate it ! We require it to keep going !

    Swatantra: Indeed it was an effort to set an example. We cherish the moment

    Kamal: I only wish we could get to a few more headlines. Thats ok..We’ll get there someday

    Priya: That was a good suggestion. Will sound it out with the guys over here. Am sure we can do something about this. Thanks a ton for the encourgaing words

    Prasanna: Thanks for the comments! Ofcourse charity begins at home. In this case, it was societal consciousness. Beginning in the street

    keshi: Thanks ! Yes. Nobody else can do it

    Enigma: Welcome here ! And thanks for you comments. Appreciate the intent and the sincerity !

    Swap: Welcome here ! Thanks for your comments

    Jeevan: Thanks for your comments pal !! Value it !

    Would also like to thank everybody else,who wrote in, cheered us on, and just stood by us. It was such a profound part of this process.

  15. V N says:



  16. Ashish says:

    This was great work. Would it not work to try and find the correspondent who covers this section of the city for a newspaper ? When people read about this, then they will actually start to think that this is possible to do by oneself and who knows, a couple of people might be inspired to actually do this, which would be a very good thing.

  17. kavi, looks like you are continuing the gandhigiri.. no new posts.. keep up the good work.

    we can watch and learn


  18. that is an amazingly admirable thing to do. When the minds and hearts work together, even the sky is no limit. You changed alot of things, alot of people and most importantly u inspired a new generation. I hope the energy never stops and the fire never goes out.

    And what r u doing awake at this time!!!

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