The idea of introducing a magazine for Cleanliness and Hygiene was getting brewed inside the office of Virtual Info Systems for long. It was the vision Jayaram and JP had been nurturing. But the real motivation came from the positive response the first Clean India Show (April 2005) received. Yes, we needed to launch Clean India Journal on October 2, the birthday of Mahatama Gandhi. My briefing session with JP on a cup of tea at Nehru Centre, Worli was one of the clearest and best briefs I have ever received from anyone. What came through were the determination to achieve the common vision and the strong relationship he had already built up with the Indian Cleaning industry. Names were dropped – Abhay Desai, Vinay Deshmukh, Vinay Ruparel, Anil sethi, Hydross Jassem, Vivek Mata, Ashok Khemlani, Arun Thapar, Om Sabu… The list grew bigger and bigger and today, the magazine is proud of having the full support of the Indian Cleaning Industry.
The dream of bringing out an exclusive magazine was fast understood. But the implementation was challenging. The perception was “ What is actually there to report? On the contrary, the topic had the widest of scope. The entry of global companies had increased the awareness for professional and mechanized cleaning. The need for outsourcing was gradually getting understood. The equipment and technology were making their presence. An industry for cleaning was evolving.
A magazine like Clean India Journal has multiple responsibilities. Cleanliness is not just the requirement of business houses. It has to be addressed at the grass root level also and we worked towards an effective synthesis of cleaning with technology and cleaning with a heart. While the Indian cleaning Industry had to be brought together, the international companies to be told about the big Indian cleaning market and new technology and systems to be written about, we also had to see how to reach school children to speak about hand washing or highlight the sanitation deficiencies in the national system. It took months of research and interactions before we freezed on an acceptable model.
On the lighter side, we had a lot of fun bringing out the launch issue.
Our photographer combed the City for a candid picture of ‘Cleaning’. For the first cover of the magazine, we chose a picture of street cleaning with Hotel Taj at the background. Brooms were on the Clean India Journal’s cover much before “Swachch Bharat” made the tool a national hero. Quite expectedly, rounds of debates and arguments followed over the proposed cover. No, we needed to add glamour to cleaning, said Jayaram from Japan or some other part of the globe (work took him outside India mostly then). We transplanted the visual of Shahrukh Khan, Preity Zinta and business man Ness Wadia cleaning up Bandra Reclamation and kick starting a cleaning campaign, on to the Taj picture! A clever job of grafting which worked well and the first issue of the magazine was out on time
Each issue thereafter had been exciting in terms of bringing in new ideas and adding value to the content. We had Adi Godrej on the cover of the second issue. The focus was on people just as it was on products, technology and services. The small Clean India editorial team, with Prakash Kuttappan digging out fresh ideas, got stronger with Mohana joining us. Today, Clean India Journal and Mohana are inseparable! There are many others who have contributed to making Clean India Journal what it is today: our sales team, art department, IT team and our ever energetic office boys. We have had our share of chaos, quarrels… especially when the advertisements did not arrive on time, trill while coining brilliant headlines and exasperation when picture captions got mixed up.
As the Cleaning Industry started growing, we wrote on how it took off, then analysed its consolidation and looked at the trends, opportunities and challenges. To us, cleanliness at the grassroots level was equally important. Clean India Show turning international widened the scope of the magazine as well. Gradually, we created sections for laundry, pest management, washroom hygiene and waste management.
The time is prime for the Indian Cleaning Industry to grow. Opportunities are abundant and Clean India Journal promises to walk along with its Industry friends as it has been doing all the way. Thank you friends, thank you VIS team.