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Special Content

Volume-26, 29 September to 5 October, 2018


 Gandhiji on Sanitation

Our cleanliness must be both internal and external. The former means truthfulness. Truthfulness is the essence of purity, and is also another name for neatness.

(Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (CWMG) Vol XLIX,. P414; 9-5-1932,

published by Publications Division, Ministry of I&B)


Cleanliness of the mind and body is the first step in education.  Prayer does for the purification of the mind what the bucket and the broom do for the cleaning up of your physical surroundings.  That is why, we always commence our proceedings with prayer.  No matter whether the prayer we recite is the Hindu prayer or the Muslim or the Parsi, its function is essentially the same, namely, purification of the heart.

(CWMG; Volume LXXVIII; p.320, published by   Publications Division, Ministry of I&B)


Both excretory functions should be performed only at fixed places. To pass urine anywhere in a street, at any place not meant for the purpose should be regarded as an offence. After passing urine at any selected place, one should cover up the spot well with dry earth. Lavatories should be kept very clean. Even the part, through which the water flows, should be kept clean. Our lavatories bring our civilization into discredit; they violate the rules of hygiene. If my suggestion is  followed, no one would need to remove night-soil, the air would not become   polluted and the villages would remain very clean."

('Our Dirty Ways' in Navajivan on 13-9-1925)


What is true of lack of order and method is also true of uncleanliness. A person who loves simplicity will never be unclean. There ought to be cleanliness in simplicity.

(CWMG Vol XXVII. P116; 17-5-1925, published by Publications Division, Ministry of I&B)


". . . No one should spit or clean his nose on the streets. In some cases, the sputum is so harmful that the germs are carried from it and they infect others with tuberculosis. In some places, spitting on the road is a criminal offence. Those who spit after chewing betel leaves and tobacco have no consideration for the feelings of others. Spittle, mucus from the nose, etc, should also be covered with earth. Near the villages or dwellings, there should be no ditches in which water can collect. Mosquitoes do not breed where water does not stagnate. Where there are no mosquitoes, the incidence of malaria is low. At one time, water used to collect around Delhi. After the hollows were filled, mosquitoes were greatly reduced and so was malaria."

(In  Navajivan dated   2-11-1919)


"I shall have to defend myself on one point, namely, sanitary conveniences. I learnt 35 years ago that a lavatory must be as clean as a drawing-room. I learnt this in the West. I believe that many rules about cleanliness in lavatories are observed more scrupulously in the West than in the East. There are some defects in their rules in this matter, which can be easily remedied. The cause of many of our diseases is the condition of our lavatories and our bad habit of disposing of excreta anywhere and everywhere. I, therefore, believe in the absolute necessity of a clean place for answering the call of nature and clean articles for use at the time and have accustomed myself to them and wish that all others should do the same. The habit has become so firm in me that even if I wished to change it, I would not be able to do so. Nor do I wish to change it"

( In Navajivan on 24-5-1925)