Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharat’ pledge took off, where the PM invited everyone to participate in making the country a clean one. Modi has started off by inviting a chain of famous people to join him in this mass campaign. He stated that these nine which include Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Ambani amongst others — would and should inspire others into cleaning up the country. This is not about politics, he stated, but above that and is about patriotism.

Fired up by that zeal, celebrities have started endorsing the campaign. Some of them have promised to start cleaning up the areas near their homes; others have moved out to public places to set an example to others by cleaning up. Certain political parties like the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), too, joined in, with AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal too cleaning up a part of the roads near the PM’s residence in Delhi. A number of corporations have joined in with campaigns planned for a few days.

While India is certainly in need of a clean-up, and firing up individuals with a zest to do their best is one way, what is important is that consistency remains key. This campaign has to be concerted, serious and long-term to really work. So often, we see that campaigns are started with good intentions, yet they fizzle out mid-way or even very close to inception because of a number of reasons.

To be a success, this cannot be a short, one-off kind of awakening. It is not enough to simply have an October 2 moment, as one could call it, a clean- up on Gandhi Jayanti Day and then, slowly go back to old habits and forget about cleanliness efforts and somehow slip into the comfortable ‘cleanliness is not my job’ mode.

Celebrities, too, must not join in simply to get their pictures taken by the press, but if they really feel for the cause. Only longevity can put real meaning and bring about results in the ‘Swachh Bharat’ initiative.