Corporate cleanliness can only be ensured if there is a corporate conscience and a corporate insistence on cleanliness in public places. Untouchability has a great deal to answer for the insanitation of our streets and our latrines, whether private or public.
In its inception, untouchability was a rule of sanitation, and still is in all parts of the world outside India. That is to say, an unclean person or thing is untouchable, but immediately his or its uncleanliness is shed, he or it is no linger untouchable. Therefore, a person who is to attend to scavenging, whether it is a paid BHANGI or an unpaid mother, they are unclean until they have washed themselves clean of their unclean work. (H, 11-2-1933, p.8)
No municipality can cope with insanitation and congestion by the simple process of taxation and paid services. This vital reform is possible only by wholesale and voluntary co-operation of the people, both rich and poor. (YI, 26-11-1925, p. 416)
If I were a taxpayer within the jurisdiction of a local board or a municipality, I would refuse to pay a single pie by way of additional taxation and advise others to do likewise unless the money we pay is returned fourfold. Those who enter local boards and municipalities as representatives go there not to seek honour or to indulge in mutual rivalries, but to render a service of love and that does not depend upon money.
Ours is a pauper country. If our municipal councilors are imbued with a real spirit of service, they will convert themselves into unpaid sweepers, BHANGIS and road makers, and take pride in doing so. They will invite their fellow-councilors, who may not have come on the Congress ticket, to join them and if they have faith in themselves and their mission, their example will not fail to evoke response.
This means that a municipal councilor has to be whole-timer. He should have no axe of his own to grind. The next step would be to map out the entire adult population within the jurisdiction of the municipality or the local board. All should be asked to make their contribution to municipal activities. A regular register should be maintained. Those who are too poor to make any money contribution but are able-bodied and physically fit can be asked to give their free labour. (H, 18-2-1939, p. 22)
Offences Against Nature
Anyone who fouls the air by spitting about carelessly, throwing refuse and rubbish, or otherwise dirtying the ground, sins against man and nature. Man's body is the temple of God. Anyone who fouls the air that is to enter that temple desecrates it. He takes the name of RAMA in vain. (H, 7-4-1946, p. 69)
A sense of national or social sanitation is not a virtue among us. We may take a kind of a bath, but we do not mind dirtying the well or the tank or the river by whose side or in which we perform ablution. I regard this defect as a great vice which is responsible for the disgraceful state of our villages and the sacred banks of the sacred rivers and for the diseases that spring that spring from insanitation. (CP, p. 15)