Seeti bajao, school mat jao: A novel way for Himachal students to bunk classes


seetiOn April 22, the Himachal government banned spitting and littering on the Mall Road, Shimla. A whistle-blower brigade of school students was set-up to embarrass the defaulters by the Science and Technology department and state Pollution Control Board. I wish the government had let the children study and asked its own employees to do the job.

First the news part. About 400 members of 20 Eco-clubs of as many schools have been given whistles by the government. These students, along with a Home Guard employee and a member of the Pollution Control Board, skip their classes and patrol the Mall Road (as a part of the Seeti Bajao, Shimla Bachao campaign), and embarrass the defaulters by blowing a whistle, till the latter pick up the litter and serve it into the nearest dust-bin. A novel way.

But why can’t the government ask its employees to do the same? Should the school children be allowed to miss the classes and patrol the Mall Road when they should be actually studying?

I’ve received complaints from friends who visit Shimla of the lack of civic amenities like Rest Rooms. The Mall Road has six liquor shops (I’ll call them thekaas) and just one each toilet (for Men and Women). OK let me take you through all these thekaas. Let’s start from the Lift towards the Scandal Point. The first is just near the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex, near the Lift. The second is just a few metres away near Krishna Bakers, the third – a few hundred metres away, near the LG showroom, the fourth near the Khadi Gramodyog Retail point, the fifth near Trishool Bakery, and the sixth near Coffee House.

Now let me take you through the toilets. The first near the Khadi Gramodyog retail point, just above the theka. The second near the Scandal Point, next to the Tourist Information Centre (it was under renovation when I’d seen it last. If it at all exists today, I’m not sure), the third, near the Ridge, next to UNI office. Are there any more? Oh yes, near the Sher-e-Punjab restaurant. That would qualify in the Lower Bazaar actually. Ah, yes, there are three thekaas together in Lower Bazaar. Just a couple of hundred metres away from Sher-e-Punjab Restaurant, two thekaas in a row, and the third just opposite them (near Mehru Sweets/Thakur Bhrata’s shop).

The least said about the cleanliness of these toilets, the better. Stinking, filthy, unhygienic, and rooms of umpteen diseases. Haven’t seen the Ladies’ toilets, but many jerks too can be seen whiling away their time in the Men’s toilets. As you cannot smoke on the Mall, many use these toilets to spit their paan refuse and release their nicotine urge as well.

I wish the government had come up with as many toilets on the Mall Road than these thekaas. Also, as many dustbins. OK, let me count the dustbins as well. I can remember only one. Opposite the Toys Shop (or the LG showroom). If there are more, please count them below, in the comments column.

We boast of Shimla being a tourist place. We ask them to visit us and boost our economy. But have we given them any basic amenities? We allow the tourists to use the open spaces as toilets on the Highway and any galis or stairs leading from the Mall Road to Lower Bazaar. Why just the tourists, even the locals. Sorry, I’m not counting the women here. They have to control their urgency. This liberty is for the privileged men only. Women have to take long walks before they find one and pay (I don’t know how much) to comfort themselves by using these dirty toilets.

So what’s next? Is the government planning to hand over commodes and spittoons to school children? Also, why not let these children only, sell liquor?

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A perfect story-teller, who is madly in love with the hills. Shimla is his first love, and probably the last too. Won't get tired reading Rudyard Kipling. Hopes to pick up poetry again soon.

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  1. Talking about the nuances on the Mall, these days it is very difficult to take a stroll in evenings. First you have the taxi wallas offering sightseeing tours around the city and others offering package tours to Manali and Dalhousie. You beat these guys then you have the pram wallas asking to hire a pram.

    I come in the evening around 8 on Mall with my kid and these guys are right on the Ridge and Mall and asking everyone with a child. Now this becomes irritating when you have to refuse 20 times..!!

  2. Seeti bajao Shimla bachav is a novel and wonderful way of stopping the people from throwing garbage/dirt on the streets of Shimla. The traders, tourists and several residents had the habit of throwing garbage on the roads. They are hard to understand even if we explain them. Because this is continuing since ages. Elders are lethargic. Shifting the responsibility to the children, who take keen interest in keeping the city clean, is a right direction. This campaign should continue until all the people, including the tourists, understand the importance. I believe that the people in other cities also follow this campaign. The children who participate in this campaign realise the responsibility and follow themselves strictly. The next generation must follow and take several steps in maintaining the cleanliness and containing global warming. The young political people should take active part in the campaign. I also believe that the next generation also will not be corrupt as it is now in government offices. Let us love our country and our people. I also wish Mr.Rajesh Dharmani to be successful in his dreams and vision.

  3. i had not been to Shimla for quite some time (an year almost) but i believe it would have been even better place now.. thanks to those kids.. i got not know about this campaign on web and was really amazed as children must have got chance to take on the such people and make fun as well.

    Some solution on toilet problem needs to be worked. Govt must take cue from such facilities available in Chandigarh city.. And would be even better if such facilties are provided on highway part of Shimla roads.

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