Assam: Diphu Man Makes Headlines For Advocacy in Cleanliness

The Lone Crusader Against Dirt

If cleanliness is a desirable quality and can contribute to human society, then one should be acquainted with Rajendra Kumar Jain, a small businessman in Diphu town who has kept his surroundings clean by sweeping an area of about 300 square feet single-handedly for the past 10 years.

Commonly known as Raju Bhai, he is a familiar figure in the Stadium road locality of the town. He can be told apart from others, with a broom brushing away every ounce of dust and dirt from the drains, footpaths, wayside, auto stand, and the entrances of large buildings. This devoted person does this day after day, daring hostile weather conditions, and neither rain nor cold has stopped him to this day.


Sometimes he disagrees with his next-door shopkeepers and commuters for littering the area or just for spitting on the sidewalk but any amount of dissuasion has failed to dampen his fortitude; each day he accomplishes what he has to do. Generally he sweeps up the area more than five times to make sure each position is spotless at the end of the day.

A resident of Hyderabad, Raju Bhai was born in 1961 in a Hindu, Jain Swetambar family, Rajendra Kumar Jain graduated from Osmania university with a degree in commerce, he came to Diphu with an aim to establish business around 20 years ago, and since then, this small town has become his real home. Raju Bhai is married to Mrs Manjula Jain and is the father of two daughters and a son.

“I have been cleaning up my surrounding areas for the last 10 years. I want to see that citizens of Diphu should feel happy while passing through this area, which I clean every day, while walking through the road or footpath they should not be confronted with any filth. I believe that, if at least 25 percent of the citizens of Diphu take an interest in what I do as self appointed duty, I suppose our town will be neat and clean and if God wishes, ours will be cleanest town in Assam,” Raju Bhai supposed.

“I admire this person for his sense of belonging and responsibility, he is religiously serious about the hygiene issue, he never compromises nor gives any excuse, he just performs his task like a committed soldier of crusade, if we by mistake litter our surrounding, Raju Bhai will silently clean the spot and tickle our guilty emotion,” said by Anil Barua, a fellow shopkeeper and neighbour of Raju Bhai, who runs an electronics and office stationery store in the same commercial block.

A few days back, during a government sponsored cleanup, the Chairman of Diphu Town Committee, Mohan Tisso and Additional Deputy Commissioner of Karbi Anglong, Brojen Chandra Das were leading a large procession of volunteers for sanitizing the town, the drive began from the area where Raju Bhai had already brushed off every morsel of dirt and muck a few minutes earlier.

The whole group of volunteers could not touch down their broom while crossing the area. Astounded, Brojen Chandra Das then noticed the lone and long-limbed Raju Bhai giving the finishing touches to his opening action of the day.

The intellectual Assam Civil Service officer immediately asked, “who is that gentleman? You are saying he has been doing this for the past 10 years? I am elated to see such a selfless person, please let us do something to honour him publicly and at least let us try.”

Happy-go-lucky Raju Bhai, when told about the admiration he received turned bashful, “I have not prepared my bio data yet, actually in my petty business I never required one and do you say I will be honoured by the government, its good but never it occurred to me, please thank everybody who observed me, actually I did nothing to deserve such commendation.”

Sushanta Roy is a journalist in Assam, India, who photographs and writes about the people, animals and flora of Assam, and the things that affect them.