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Tide of Ignorance | by premasagar
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Tide of Ignorance

They say that "cleanliness is next to godliness". Well, in India, the land of many gods, people certainly take their physical appearance very seriously - they scrub their skin and beat their clothes till they sparkle. In this land of dust and dirt, the white shirts and trousers rise above like a lotus of purity. Yet there is a problem...


There is a gap of awareness, a gap so great that it surprises and saddens me every time. For, while many people will keep themselves and their homes quite clean, they will think nothing of casting their litter and waste into the streets and across the land.


Once the soap has purified their bodies at the river or well, its wrapper is shed like a gun cartridge - a permanent memorial to this act of self-cleansing. A trillion plastic bags carpet the villages and countryside in a spattering of persistent colour. Bottles from train windows, wrappers and packets...


The days of banana-leaf plates and coconut-shell drinks are fading. The containers used to be bio-degradable and it was natural to feed them back into the soil, but education has not caught up. And the land weeps.


India, Journey to the East set

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Taken on February 7, 2006