The Indian government has launched a 'no lavatory, no bride' campaign, telling women to reject potential suitors if they cannot provide an inside lavatory.
The comments were made by India's controversial rural development minister, Jairam Ramesh, who recently angered Hindus by pointing out there were more temples than lavatories for the country's 1.2 billion people.
In a speech to villagers in Rajasthan, he said it wasn't enough for families to check astrological charts to decide if a young man is suitable, they should also inspect his closet.
"You consult astrologers about rahu-ketu (the alignment of sun and moon) before getting married. You should also look whether there is a toilet in your groom's home before you decide don't get married in a house where there is no toilet," he warned.
His comments are part of a series of speeches and schemes to increase the number of indoor lavatories in a country where more have a mobile phone than a lavatory.
More than 900 million – 75 per cent of the population – has a mobile phone subscription in India, while only half of its households have a lavatory, according to last year's census. Only 11 per cent of homes have a lavatory connected to the sewerage system.
The shortfall means India is the world's "largest open-air toilet", the minister said earlier this year.
The problem is worse for India's women, many of whom are forced to rise before dawn to do their ablutions under cover of darkness. There have been a number of cases reported recently of women being raped or assaulted while searching for somewhere to go to the lavatory.
A spokesman for the minister agreed that if all young women backed his call, there would be far fewer weddings. But he said Mr Ramesh will continue making his call in a series of speeches throughout the country.
"We need to remove the open defecation system. This is a continuing campaign to eradicate it," he said.
Brindeshwar Pathak, founder of the sanitation charity Sulabh International said India had yet to eradicate open defecation more than two millennia after the problem was described by its great political thinker Kautilya in around 300 BC.
The government should offer cheap loans to help people build lavatories and defecating in the open "should be a punishable offence," he said.
Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/9625629/Indian-government-launches-no-lavatory-no-bride-campaign.html