26 July, 2021

Watch Your Head, Mr PM

Modi can try, but Benares just doesn’t care

Priyanka Rai
Watch Your Head, Mr PM

Even Narendra Modi cannot rescue this city, sighed a friend of mine. We were discussing, what else, the PM’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. There were smirks and all-knowing smiles, the consensus being that even Modi can’t help those who do not want to help themselves. In many areas of the ancient town, walking through the narrow lanes is risky.  Neither autorickshaws nor cycle rickshaws can get into them, indeed two motorcycles coming from opposite directions can trigger a brawl. But the risk I was referring to was the refuse carelessly tossed from the balconies. Dr Bina Singh, an associate professor of English at BHU, did a door-to-door campaign, pleaded with residents that she and her students would collect the garbage every day if they promised not to fling them out of the window at unsuspecting students and teachers walking to college. But the pleas were ignored. Walking is not an option in the town unless you go through the lanes. There is little or no space left for pedestrians. Godhulia is just four kilometres from my ancestral house and in my younger days, I...

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