The honourable Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, introduced Swachch Bharat Mission on 2nd October, 2014 to ensure Clean India in five years. Mr. Modi’s admittance to the filthy situation in which Indian citizens have been living and the fact that nothing had been done with a sense of urgency at a larger scale built up a national attitude towards achieving the said goal. Bureaucrats and politicians were seen promoting cleanliness activities through photos, plans for the infrastructure were created and strategies oriented in order to bring about a greater impact of the Swachch Bharat Plan.
This outlay promises and allocates a sizeable amount to infrastructure of building toilets around the nation but is that the greatest challenge that the government faces? Perhaps no! Poor sanitation habits, lack of awareness regarding cleanliness, hand-washing and hygiene is a widely accepted one. Adding a greater sum of money does account for building toilets but it is not enough to bring about a change for achieving Clean India by 2019. A fractional part of this big diverse nation has taken up the challenge to mind their behaviour by not littering the streets, by building and using latrines in their houses, educating their children and neighbours about the significance of hand washing. Hence, there is a dire and an urgent need to create awareness, formulate strategies and engage communities for a change in behaviour. One way we could effectively bring about such a transition is through music.
From infancy to adulthood, through multiple transitions in our lives, from rosy to rocky, music is a part of all. We know we like a song when we find our feet tapping to a tune, our heads nodding and fingers clicking to the rhythm. We carry the lyrics in our mind not fully understanding how those words imprinted in our subconscious influence our understanding of things and our actions. It will be extremely naive for anyone to assume that music has a purpose only for entertainment’s sake. At various times it has become a tool to promote an idea, empower communities, communicate sentiments and control demeanour. We know how Mozart’s music has been used in that past to direct appropriate behaviour among young offenders, how punk rock became a strong tool for communicating, rebelling and empowering women. Scholars have time and again emphasised the connection of music and neuroscience and how it can be used for a deep seated change in human behaviour and for human development. Music for Development (M4D) aims for such an efficient and long lasting impact in support of Swachch Bharat Abhiyan.
Music for Development aims to produce music of the popular culture for children studying in school for educational purpose as the lyrics of the song will ensure that the lesson sticks with them while it is still enjoyable. The song lyrics strictly promotes and emphasises on key WASH behaviours. Advertently, efforts have been made to devise music with which the children of a particular region are well familiar with so that the songs don’t seem foreign and easily position themselves in the mind of the child. The project demands a routine playing of the songs in school where the top priority will be recalling knowledge ensuring it is enjoyable yet doesn’t overshadow the lesson. The lyrics are playful, informative and easy to grasp for any young child where there are direct instructions which are vital for teaching repertoire. Learning through such an approach will ensure nurturing of the child by building healthy habits in lines of Swachch Bharat Abhiyan.