I am very fond of hot Maggi noodles, served with some green peas or beans. It was therefore interesting to know that in U.P. it was allegedly detected to have lead and other food additives much higher than the permissible levels.
The great man had launched a 'Swatchata Abhiyan' ( cleanliness drive ) last year. We saw stunts on T.V. like people using brooms to sweep away garbage which had earlier been deposited there, and a lady M.P. ( a former film actress ) walking with a broom in Mathura which was taller than her and did not appear to even touch the ground.
In India one can see mounds of garbage lying everywhere, and people throw garbage on the road or anywhere without blinking an eye. In contrast, in North America and Europe one is taught since childhood that garbage must only be thrown in the garbage bins set up for the purpose. In every house there are garbage boxes, and when it is full someone in the house takes it to the garbage bins in front of the house, and a Municipality vehicle comes to take the garb age away.
If one goes for a walk with a dog, and the dog defecates on the road, one cannot just leave the droppings there. He has to pick up the defecation ( which is usually done with gloves kept for that purpose ) and put it in a bag, and deposit that in a garbage bin.
Why is it that people in developed nations are so particular about cleanliness, sanitation and hygiene, while underdeveloped countries like India are not ? Let me try to explain.
In feudal agricultural societies human groupings are small and scattered, and people are living mostly, perhaps 90%, in villages. People are only bothered about cleanliness within the house, but not outside it.
In contrast, in industrial societies ( like in North America, Europe, Japan, Australia ) human groupings are large, and concentrated in urban areas ( cities ).
So if high standards of cleanliness, sanitation and hygiene are not maintained in industrial society diseases and epidemics are bound to occur and spread, which will make workers sick, causing the factory production to stop. Also, since bacteria and viruses do not make a distinction between employer and employee, even the owner or manager of the factory may fall sick. It is for this reason that in all developed ( which means highly industrialized ) countries there are very strict rules for cleanliness, sanitation and hygiene, and very tough liability laws for imposing millions of dollars of fine for their violation ( see in this connection the novel " Jungle' by the American writer Upton Sinclair, who wrote in this novel about the unsanitary and unhygienic conditions in the meat packing industry in USA. This novel resulted in very strict rules for hygiene and sanitation being framed ).
If an incident like the one relating to Maggi happened in North America by now the factory would in all probability have been ordered to be closed down, and millions of dollars fine imposed. If a single hamburger having contaminated contents is detected in the West, immediately the food control authorities swing into action, the sale from such outlets is stopped, and punitive action taken against the delinquent..
But what happens in India ? I had been to Varanasi a couple of years ago, and was told that 30 sewer channels discharge into the Ganges untreated filth. And people bathe in the same place, and take away Ganges water to other cities to give to relatives and friends. Filth and Garbage can be seen everywhere in India, and the air we breathe and water we drink is often polluted. People travelling in cars throw trash outside the car window without batting an eye.
I am all for cleanliness and sanitation, but in my opinion 'Swatchata Abhiyans' and anti pollution laws will have only a marginal effect in India, if any at all, and will be mostly stunts.
It is only when India becomes a highly industrialized country that cleanliness, sanitation and hygiene will become a universal feature, and an ingrained habit will arise among all citizens, as it is in the West, to insist on it. Only then will laws against pollution etc will really be effectively enforced ( we have plenty of such laws even today, but they are not effectively enforced ).. At present India is only partially industrialized