In a country with such a huge population, sometimes takes wit and humour to stand out and deliver a message and deliver it in a way that would register in the minds of people. And that’s what the Howrah division of Eastern Railway seems to have understood and implemented. Call it unique, novel, innovative, hilarious, witty or even ‘filmy’, but this division of the Indian Railways has modified popular Indian film dialogues to effectively tell people to stop dirtying stations! As a part of the ‘Swachhta Saptah’ initiative of the Railways, the Howrah division put up posters at stations, highlighting the importance of cleanliness, and the penalty associated with littering and spitting.
Sample this: “Arey O Sambha, Kitna zurmana rakhe hai sarkar gandagi failane par….500 rupay….poore 500”. For both movie and non-movie buffs, this Amjad Khan dialogue from Sholey is not only familiar but also has an easy recall value. It is this very high recall value that Railways seems to be banking on. From “Ja Simran Ja, Platform bhi saaf rakhte hue ja” to “babumoshai, kab kaun, kahaan kuda giraayega…yeh koi nahi bata sakta”, these posters have generated a lot of buzz on social media. Most people have not only appreciated the humour but also the step by Eastern Railway to spread awareness.
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Talking about the initiative, Eastern Railway Chief PRO RN Mahapatra told FE Online, “We had put out these posters on September 17, that is the day of the launch of the Swachhta Saptah. We have received a very positive response. And we now plan to expand this programme to other divisions of Eastern Railway.” According to Mahapatra, the Sealdah, Malda and Asansol divisions of Eastern Railway will also put up similar posters on stations to take the ‘Clean India’ campaign forward.
So, will the same set of posters be used? “No, we are looking at more lines from movies and other ways to promote this campaign. Using the same set of 4 to 5 posters in all stations would not work. We have to come up with something new, and hopefully, a fresh set of posters will be in place in the coming few days,” Mahapatra said. “Not only that, we will take all this a step forward to generally make people more aware of the way Railways functions. We want to also communicate to people that Railway jobs are not for sale, but are given on the basis of merit,” he added.
“Swachhta Saptah” was a nine-day long initiative by Suresh Prabhu-led Indian Railways aimed at tracking various aspects of maintaining cleanliness at stations, tracks and in trains. Each day was earmarked with specific focus areas, such as Swachh Rail Gaadi(Clean Train), Swachh Stations (Clean Stations), Swachh Neer (Clean Water), Swachh Aahar (Clean Food), Swachh Parisar (Clean Complex), Swachh Sahyog(Cleanliness Participation).