8 Nov 2011, Sabarimala, Kerala

Motivation, Team work, Leadership, Project Management, Planning – 4 M’s (Man, Material, Machine and Mind (new addition)), all these are wonderful management jargon to talk and express. In reality, can all of this happen in one place? Can all of this happen at the same time? Can all of this happen flawlessly? Can all of this happen without the physical presence of a leader? CAN ALL THIS BE DONE BY A SINGLE PERSON???… Take a few seconds to think. Take a few seconds to assimilate. Take a few seconds to answer.

To even get a bird’s eye view of the answer of the above questions, it took me 5 hours of journey by bus, 3 hours of trekking by walk, observe more than 5000 people working at a place at the same time, understand the smile behind each and every one right from teenagers to octogenarian and the answer was loud YES..This can be done and this was done and done flawlessly. Who could do this ?

Only ‘SHE’ could do this.

It was the night of 5th of November 2011, when 10 buses travelled to the foothills of the holy mountain of Sabariamala – The abode of Lord Ayyappa. We reached river Pampa at 1:30AM and then trekked uphill to Sannidhanam. Our batch consisted of more than 600 people. We reached Sannidhanam by 4:45AM. By 7:00 Am, we were ready for seva along with other devotees who reached a day earlier. There were more than 3000 people ready, many reaching the previous day. Many more expected the next day. What we saw cannot be expressed in words – Women and men aged 60 plus to 75 or 80 yrs, smart and brisk, clad with a orange coat, a broom or a spade or a shovel in hand walking straight towards their workplace (the dump yards filled with plastic waste, glass bottles waste etc). Above all they had a beaming smile that captured our attention. I just thought – How did they climb uphill? How will they clean the huge waste ? Why are they so happy ? All this was happening at a single place at the same time.

Yes- they were on duty to make India a cleaner place, they were on duty to recover the pristine beauty of surrounding areas of Sabarimala. Who can make them feel so happy about cleaning???

Only ‘SHE’ can do this.

This project was “AMALA BHARATAM CAMPAIGN at Sabarimala“. Over 5000 people all clad in Amala Bharatham attire – Orange coat, Orange/ White gloves, Rubber boots and a broom/spade/shovel/basket in their hands surged forward to clean up Sabarimala. Rain, heat, dust, dirt, insects or even leeches (area has leeches because of the moist dense forest area) could not stop them. All of them moved with a single motto – Clean Sabarimala.. All the ashram residents, devotees and students were clad in orange coat –it seemed that Sannidhanam and Pampa was painted in orange. This army of orange picked, cleaned, segregated thousands of tons of waste. Every used bottle, every broken glass, every plastic bag that was collected brought happiness to people collecting it. This was the cleaning that happened externally.

There was something else happening – A silent inner transformation was also happening. People said “I will reuse every mineral bottle I buy, I will not discard it immediately”. Some others said “Now every waste that we see, shall be collected and put in the bins”. Some expressed “We never ever felt so happy and so contended before. This is bliss in cleaning India. We are cleaning ourselves”. Who can instil such values in a mass gathering? Who can motivate a mass gathering all at once? Who can unite so many humans from different walks of lives, ages, mentalities, cultures and societies?. There was only one slogan that echoed all around and when the thousands voiced this slogan it merged to a single voice.

Who could make this happen? Who could ever really make “unity in diversity “seem real in this age?
It was a single leader that did this. It was a single Mother that made this happen with LOVE and COMPASSION.

Yes it was only ‘SHE’ who could do this.’ SHE ‘ is our Guru, ‘SHE ‘is our Mother
‘SHE’ is none other than our very own loving “AMMA” who guided us, who motivated us who transformed us to take up and successfully execute project “AMALA BHARATAM at Sabarimala”

As Neil Armstrong said “A small step for man is a giant leap for mankind”. This project has surely inspired many more watching it to make India a cleaner and better place to live in.

Thus I found the answer to all the questions.

– Avinash Shivdas

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Amala Bharatham @ Sabarimala read with great inspiration and wished if self were there amongst the orange group. Those who participated are so lucky.

    This time the memories of Amritavarsham seva coming as a resembling incident where volunteers served day and night in all sort of sevas for 350 thousand guests from around the world continuously for 3 days at kochi Nehru stadium.

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