So I’ve been thinking about Garbage. Which is significantly different from what I usually do….thinking garbage.
We wonder often why our cities are full of lumps of garbage. By we, I mean of course, the English speaking classes of India. Why, we ask isn’t it like that in say, Indonesia or Latin America where socio-economic conditions are similar but cities and towns are much cleaner? Sparkling clean compared to our garbage littered streets with decaying lumps of garbage every few meters!
Here is part of the answer according to me: The Indian Caste system*
The Indian caste system taught us that Garbage was always someone else’s job..that of the untouchable and polluted lower castes. As a result we never developed a personal concept of cleaning our own dirt.
Additionally there was never a chance for systems based purely on economics to develop around garbage collection and disposal, once we allowed unnecessary stigma to be attached to the essential activity of the removal of our dirt.
So with the pressures of modern life and migrations (rural to urban) came a disintegration of the structure that allowed our villages, towns and cities the means to stay clean. Couple that with the fact that our lower castes hate their lot, surprise surprise.
Our living spaces have Garbage that we deserve. Delivered via thousands of years of social inequities and the attitude that our garbage is someone else’s problem.
Like Plato said, “The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men & ideas”.
* – (No doubt pathetic administration, inadequate funds, corrupt practices and bureaucracies play a big part too. But I think we share these with many other 3rd world countries of similar means and conditions that are much cleaner)