File photo of PM Narendra Modi. Photograph:( PTI )
Modi met the safai karamcharis (sweepers) to give them the "Swachh Kumbh Swachh Aabhaar" award, a recognition of their effort at keeping the Kumbh premises clean.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi washed the feet of five safai karamcharis at the Kumbh mela on Sunday. Modi posted a video of the incident on Twitter.
Modi met the safai karamcharis (sweepers) to give them the "Swachh Kumbh, Swachh Aabhaar" award, a recognition of their effort at keeping the Kumbh premises clean — a gargantuan undertaking considering a grand total of some 150 million people are expected to attend the religious gathering this year.
In the video posted by Modi, he is seen approaching the karamcharis.
Modi sits on a low stool — the safai karamcharis are seated in chairs — and begins to wash their feet.
These are "Moments I’ll cherish for my entire life!", Modi said on Twitter while posting the video.
Moments I’ll cherish for my entire life!— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 24, 2019
Honouring remarkable Safai Karamcharis, who have taken the lead when it comes to realising the dream of a Swachh Bharat!
I salute each and every person making a contribution towards a Swachh Bharat pic.twitter.com/IsjuCgjlkn
Twitter of course has been agog since then:
I am salute Prime minister Narendra modi . Narendra modi India's most likely prime minister. He was respect safai karmchari— Pramod Thorat (@PramodT68025074) February 24, 2019
Salute …… to our PM Narendra Modi who washed to feet of Safai Karmchari at Praygraj to pay gratitude for their whole hearted work at KumbhMela on behalf of whole nation— INDIA now MODIfied (@sarjukalaria) February 24, 2019
Do you believe job of a Safai Karmchari is lesser than yours? Modi has achieved big in his sanitation mission. Sanitation workers should be paid well. By the way manual scavenging is banned. Few are still doing it for good money being offered for such job. No compulsion.— saroj indian (@Saroj_ini) February 25, 2019
There has also been criticism:
दलितों और पिछड़ों को सम्मान भरा रोजगार चाहिए, आपका बाह्मणवाद नहीं।— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) February 24, 2019
Keep your casteism away, Modiji. Give us our land, respect, and jobs! https://t.co/iU5LdtHgmj
Modi also presented the safai karamcharis with angvastrams.
In a tweet, he said he prayed for the well-being of 130 crore Indians at the Sangam.
He described all those, who have been involved in ensuring the best of arrangements for the devotees gathering at Prayagraj for the Kumbh, as "real karma-yogis".
In this context, he mentioned the NDRF, the boatmen, the local population, and the sanitation workers as well.
"No one can know the labour they (safai karamcharis) have put in the Kumbh. Cleanliness has been the trademark of this Kumbh," Modi said addressing the Swachh Kumbh, Swachh Aabhaar programme.
"It is my wish that your blessings remain with me and I continue to work for you."
He said no stone was left unturned to make this "Divya Kumbh" and "Bhavya (grand) Kumbh", and this Kumbh will also be remembered as "digital Kumbh"
Modi also performed a Ganga aarti on Sunday.
(With inputs from PTI)