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Shane felicitated by PM for his commitment to ‘swachhata’

On the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, student of Lourdes Convent High School, Shane Savio Fernandes was felicitated by PM Modi for his essay on ‘swachhata’. NT KURIOCITY gets you the details

ANNA FERNANDES | NT KURIOCITY

As the inheritors of the planet, the younger generation is stepping forward to ensure that their voices are heard. Among these is resident of Candolim, Shane Savio Fernandes who was recently felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his commitment to ‘swachhata’ or cleanliness. A student of Lourdes Convent High School, Shane won the second place in an essay writing competition held on ‘Letter Writing Day’ September 13 in which students across India wrote a letter to Bapu noting their contributions and commitment towards creating a clean India.

The 15-year-old, who has been on cloud nine ever since he found out about his victory, says: “It isn’t often that one gets the privilege to meet the Prime Minister, let alone be felicitated by him. I was ecstatic and humbled; I felt honoured by the fact that I was shaking the hand of a man of such high stature.” Shane was felicitated along with other winners at the ‘Swachhata Diwas’ function held at Sabarmati, Gujarat. The competition was organised as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India in tune with the ‘Swachhata hi Seva’ campaign.

In his letter to Bapu, Shane expressed Gandhi’s ideals and its relevance today in building a safe and swasth society. “My essay focused on the legacy of Gandhi and his idea of non-violence and how we as a society need to promote it.” The essay also emphasises the admiration Gandhi still holds, world over, by standing firmly with the values he espoused. “Mahatma Gandhi lived a life of example. I believe that if we practice his teachings of non-violence, wars and bloodshed would cease to exist.”

Gandhi’s ideas relating to Satyagraha based on truth and non-violence, simple life style and development reveal how sustainable development is possible without doing any harm to nature and our fellow beings, he says adding that “Gandhi’s teachings of swachhata are the need of the hour to eradicate problems such as global warming, deforestation, soil poisoning, erosion, etc. We need to stop the use of single use plastics and segregate our waste. In doing so, our world will regain its former glory and be the paradise it once was. And in the words of Gandhi, ‘Do or die’.”

In doing his part for the environment, Shane says he has made a conscious effort to reduce his plastic usage and has switched to more eco-friendly plastic substitutes. A firm believer that every small step towards plastic reduction matters, he says: “Every time I go shopping I carry my backpack so I don’t need to accept plastic bags from vendors. I also try to spread awareness in my social and family groups so as to make an impact.”

Youngsters, he believes are increasingly environmental conscious. His message to the youth of Goa is: “I believe that each and everyone is important in the mission towards cleanliness. It’s all about doing what you can. It does make a difference; from refusing a plastic bag to organising rallies on creating a clean and green world. We need to act to protect our Mother Earth and our home. Don’t be selfish. Our future generations will also need a place to call home.”

He credits his teachers, friends, parents and especially his brother for moulding him into the person he is today. “It has always been my dream to someday make myself, my family, my society and my country proud,” concludes Shane, whose aim is to someday become an astrophysicist.  

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