The National Institute of Cleanliness Education Research (NICER) today honoured Baba Iqbal Singh, President Kalgidhar Trust and Chancellor of Eternal University, HP with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the Afro-Asian Cleanliness Conference 2016 held at India International Centre, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi. Dr. P R Trivedi, Founder Chancellor, Indira Gandhi Technological and Medical Sciences University, Arunachal Pradesh and President, Confederations of Indian Universities (CIU) presided over the function. National Institute of Cleanliness Education and Research (NICER) cosponsored by many universities from all over the country and funded by the Afro-Asian-American Chamber of Commerce, Occupational Research and Development (ACCORD) has designed a masterplan paradigm for cleaning up the country.
Baba Iqbal Singh retired as Director Agriculture from Himachal Pradesh in 1986 and thereafter started a small school with 5 students as envisaged by his predeccessors Sant Attar Singh ji and Sant Teja Singh ji, MA LLB AM Harvard. This fountainhead today has progressed into a chain on 129 rural schools and 2 Private Universities alongwith a host of Social Development programs. One of the most remarkable contribution by Baba Iqbal Singh ji has been the Free Teachers Training Program, which till date has benefitted more than 2000 marginalised girls from rural areas through its free B.Ed training and jobs as Teachers or allied staff. Following the faith that the houses whose daughters are educated are the homes that keep the evil away . Education is the turning point of the clan to be clean. This keeps the society free from gender inequality, empowered, progressive and clean.
‘Clean to Clan’ to Babaji is doing everything that can turn a life around starting from cleaning the environment, sustaining the outer environment as clean as ever extending this to inner self of people for a society that is painstakingly clean. Comprehensive cleanliness to Babaji is a mandate which each one of us should follow – education, gender equality, women empowerment and a soul free from intoxicants all these when practiced together results a society – free from evil, keeps society strong by default to wade away from nefarious designs.
Clean to Clan thus becomes the foundation of all of Babaji’s work, the comprehensiveness of this mandate works two ways – self to society and society to self, where the outside surroundings adds to totality. Whilst education, empowerment and gender equality brought about cleaning in society on one hand and added to general conscience to keep cleanliness in the surroundings this is well exhibited in village – Lana Bhalta, District Sirmaur, Himachal Pradesh. For the uninitiated, ‘Lana Bhalta’ is the winner of Swachh Mission award of Rs. 10 lakhs in Himachal Pradesh amongst 3243 Gram Panchayats. Here there are toilets in each household, a localised system to sift waste from water flowing out of every kitchen into soak pits; and not a scrap of garbage or filthy water is to be seen all under the aegis of Baba Iqbal Singh.
Each of the households in the village has been given a sanitation kit that includes a toilet brush, a jute bag for collecting garbage, a dust pan, a dust bin and a nail cutter. The five anganwadis in the panchayat are equipped with toilets that have special seats for children. Almost all items from the garbage bins are recycled. Raddi (wasted paper) is recycled into paper and stale, oily’ food into manure. Oil-free waste like raw vegetables and left-over food find their way into the vermi compost pit. Nothing is left unused. Waste from building material such as stones, bricks and rubble is used for construction; while glass, tin, shoes, clothes and toys are sold to trash buyers. Toxic waste is burnt in incinerators, while the entire garbage is made bacteria free. , Tthis model is fortified further through grass root level awareness and education to inculcate clean and healthy habits.
When we spoke to Baba Iqbal Singh ji, he humbly shrugs off the mention of the lifetime achievement award and says “Cleanliness of Environment should be preceded by Cleanliness of the Mind, of the five vices. Pavan paani dharati aakas ghar mandar har bani. i.e. Air, water earth and sky are God’s home and temple – sacred places which need to be protected and looked after. ”