Can we recreate Mawlynnong? | Inside Asia’s Cleanest Village

2020. The end and the beginning of two separate eras. What does this decade have on its plate for us?

The new decade has hardly even begun and we’re already having a number of national and global crises. From top-rung political incompetence to hints of World War III, the global climate crisis and the emergence of the deadly Novel Coronavirus, 2020 has already shaken the whole world in its wake. Its time we started seeking help from the woke.

The woke dudes and dudettes I’m referring to here belong to a village called Mawlynnong in Meghalaya, North-East India. Mawlynnong is famous for its cleanliness and overall environmental hygiene among a few other things.

You might find that there are a lot of things that the rest of our country or even the world could learn from this humble little village. In fact, the whole purpose of this article is to show how exceptional and unique this village is. A native could proudly claim that Mawlynnong is ahead of its time in terms of environmental and individual health.

There are a lot of lessons that you could choose to learn about getting started on recreating your own immediate environment, deriving inspiration from the revolutionary practices and the discipline of the Mawlynnong natives.

MAWLYNNONG – GOD’S OWN GARDEN

Mawlynnong, 90km from Shillong, the Meghalayan capital, is located along the East Khasi hills. It is as close as you could get to Bangladesh without a passport.

As of 2019, it had 900 residents.

There are roughly about a hundred households in Mawlynnong. Get this – the literacy rate is almost a 100%. You would have no trouble connecting with the locals, as most people are fluently conversant with the English language [DATA SOURCE: wikipedia.org].

The villagers have a knack for several professions, especially agriculture, trading and exports, the betel nut being the chief produce. Pineapples and Litchees are also cultivated and exported to nearby regions during the summer season.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared Mawlynnong a model for the entire country to emulate in a radio session in 2015, while addressing the mission statements of the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan.

BEATING STEREOTYPES – MATRIARCHY & MATRILINEAGE

The Khasi people are the prime example of a matriarchal society. In Mawlynnong, the property and wealth are passed from the mother to the youngest daughter. Also, every child born in the Khasi community keeps their mothers’ surname.

The revolutionary ideologies of the people of Mawlynnong, ie. Matriarchy(women empowerment), cleanliness and ~100% literacy rate have earned Mawlynnong the title of God’s Own Garden.

ECOTOURISM AND CLEANLINESS

Mawlynnong was declared Asia’s Cleanest Village by travel magazine Discover India in 2003 and this reputation has exponentially boosted local tourism. Tourists flock into the village in large numbers mostly during the monsoon, as it is the time when the sceneries turn almost too picturesque for the naked eye to drink in.

All household and industrial waste is collected in dustbins made of bamboo. The degradable waste then is directed into a pit and then used as manure. Most forms of plastics are banned in the village.

The people have put in immense collective effort to maintain the ambience of a clean village. A striking fact about this village is that cigarette smoking is banned. Nobody knows when the rest of us are going to give up those death-sticks. My guess is probably never.

The inhabitants of the village do not just keep their houses clean but also step out to clean the streets and plant trees. All adults and children clean their surroundings on a daily basis. In this village, the importance of cleanliness is deeply rooted in people’s minds right from their childhood.

A MYSTICAL HAVEN OF PICTURESQUE NATURAL BEAUTY

The village is very pretty, especially in the monsoons when there is lush greenery all around, with small streams borne of glistening, noisy waterfalls and a myriad of rare flowering orchids dangling from trees and hedges.

The tourists are instantly hooked by the beauty of the place even before they reach the village, with lustrous streams flowing in the distance with betel and broomstick plants surrounding the narrow entrance to the village. The appearance of this place is unquestionable, with decorated homely restaurants here and the curio parlours there emitting the vibe of a movie-like setting.

The village offers once-in-a-lifetime visual experience if you happen to trek to the see the living root bridges at the neighbouring village of Riwai.

The village also offers a sight of natural balancing rock, a strange natural phenomenon of a boulder balancing on another rock.

Another mind-blowing construction the villagers have put together is the Sky View, an 85 feet high viewing tower that’s completely made of bamboo. When you the top, you are guaranteed of stunning views of not just the village but also Bangladesh on the other side.

What do you think about this paradise of a village? Are you ready to start recreating your immediate surroundings, your town, your city or even your state as a follow-up to these lessons from these formidable yet humble village people? Let us know in the comments below.

Also, as we have learned a lot from the Mawlynnong natives, why not share this article to make sure someone from Mawlynnong comes across this and finds out how their people and their practices have impacted other parts of North-East India? We’re counting on you!

ON A SIDE NOTE 

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