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Watching the trailer of Akshay Kumar’s new film, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, one was reminded of stories about this unhealthy practice that women in my family had to go through.

BOLLYWOOD Updated: Aug 10, 2017 09:10 IST

Nivedita Mishra
Nivedita Mishra
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The practice of open defecation is particularly hard on women as this personal account shows.

The practice of open defecation is particularly hard on women as this personal account shows.(TEPKTheFilm/Facebook)

When I first saw the trailer of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, I marvelled at how an issue like open defecation could become the subject of a Bollywood romance.

The Hindi film industry has always tried to play an important role on matters of social reform and change. If I grew up on a routine dose of films like Bimal Roy’s Sujata, which adroitly took on the issue of casteism, I also came to appreciate V Shantaram’s works like Do Aankhen Baarah Haath – a cinematic bid at ensuring jail reforms. Through stories, song-and-dance sequences and lilting melodies, these films gently nudged us to bring in change.

Who can forget Raj Kapoor’s socially relevant films of the 1950s, often written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas and VP Sathe? That was then…

When I recently watched the trailer of Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, a remake of hit Tamil comedy Kalyana Samayal Saadham, I couldn’t help but smile at how wonderfully it had tackled a serious issue such as erectile dysfunction. A couple of years ago, Vicky Donor bravely dealt with sperm donation while having us in splits at the same time.

Akshay Kumar’s film Toilet: Ek Prem Katha attempts to tackle the issue of open defecation. (TEPKTheFilm/Facebook)

Even though social customs such caste, sati and window remarriage were passionately debated in the past, nobody wanted to talk about sex, personal hygiene and even health concerns. Thankfully, that’s not the case anymore.

These were pretty much my sentiments when I saw the first trailer of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. Its lead actor, Akshay Kumar, deserves a pat on the back for bringing a social taboo out in the open and forcing people to think. To be fair, he has been doing this for a while now – he even approaches patriotism through the prism of self-reflection and change rather than enemy-bashing.

Watching that scene from the trailer where a woman beckons Bhumi Pednekar to join the ‘lota party’ who are waiting for her ‘belcome’ (welcome) brought back memories of the stories I heard growing up. One of them was about my mother, of course.

It was the late 1960s. My mom had been married for four years. A wedding at my paternal aunt’s ancestral village forced everybody to relocate there for a while.

My uncle was a prosperous zamindar. His house was a large and spacious one, quite unlike my grandfather’s cloistered place in Sambalpur – my ancestral hometown in Odisha. As it was their first function, everybody was in attendance.

A recent survey by Quality Council of India (QCI) conducted in 4626 villages across India found only 62.54% households have access to toilets. (TEPKTheFilm/Facebook)

My uncle, of course, played the perfect host without bothering to note that his home did not have toilets. No household in the village – rich or poor – had one, and even the residents’ century-old association with the British did not succeed in changing that. In fact, having a toilet in the home was thought to be polluting. You had to go the fields to perform this “unclean” act.

Matters of privacy were the least of their concerns. The fact that it could be particularly problematic for women never really crossed their minds. It didn’t matter that not everybody feels the urge to defecate in the morning. An accidental snake or insect bite? You must be kidding!

My mother was married into a family of humble means, but her own family was better off. My maternal grandfather’s home had an Indian-style toilet since the time it was built back in early 1950s. Growing up, mom never faced such issues. But married life threw up a whole new challenge.

Back in the village, a day before the wedding, mom was jolted out of sleep by my aunt to join her in the fields. She was mortified to know the reason, but found herself unable to refuse. So, out they went into the darkness with a lantern and a ‘lota’. The fields were empty with not a soul in sight, and the stillness of the dark morning seemed to ensure some privacy. Cold comfort – mom refused to join in, choosing to stand at a distance. My aunt, however, was not encumbered by any such qualm. She was used to the routine, having been married into this milieu at the tender age of 14.

Those two days were the most miserable in my mom’s life; she ate little and drank next to nothing. It was only when she returned home, back to familiar surroundings, that she finally started breathing easy.

A maternal aunt of mine also faced a similar situation. Married off at the age of fifteen in the mid 1950s, she was packed off to the family’s ancestral village. My uncle, an irrigation engineer, was posted in far-flung places where family accommodation was not allowed. Stuck in a new place all by herself, she was clearly uncomfortable in her surroundings.

But while other matters could eventually be tackled in the long run, what she simply couldn’t adjust to was the custom of open defecation – a norm in the village. Distraught, she cried her heart out during her next visit to her parents’ place. Worried for his daughter’s well-being, my grandfather had a word with her in-laws – after which she stayed in their Cuttack home (which had all the necessary arrangements). In time, a toilet was constructed at their village home.

Years later, while doing a story on Dr Bindeshwar Pathak – founder of the Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement – I visited his office in Delhi. During a tour of the premises, he showed me a model of their ‘cheap and easy-to-install’ Indian toilet that consumed less water as well. Dr Pathak had come up with this solution while dealing with that scourge called manual scavenging, which – unfortunately – is still prevalent in India.

In the process, I realised that open defecation is still in practice because of an age-old habit. In fact, a recent survey by Quality Council of India (QCI) conducted in 4626 villages across India found only 62.54% households have access to toilets – the number in Bihar was 30% while Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand followed at 37%. The situation in parts of urban India is no different where open defecation is still seen where people don’t have access to a toilet.

It’s time the call against it became a mass movement. Films like Toilet: Ek Prem Katha should be a move in the right direction.

Source : http://www.hindustantimes.com/bollywood/before-akshay-kumar-s-toilet-disturbing-accounts-of-women-who-endured-the-practice/story-xrOFSFHam5MKN5U35IJ9cM.html

Posted by & filed under Articles, In the Press, India, Photos, Press Releases, Sulabh News, Uttar Pradesh.

देश

वृन्दावन एवं वाराणसी के आश्रमों में विधवाएं राखी बनाती हुईं।

मथुरा (भाषा)। वृन्दावन एवं वाराणसी के आश्रमों में विधवा एवं परित्यक्त जीवन बिता रहीं महिलाओं ने रक्षाबंधन के पावन पर्व पर एक बार फिर प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी के लिए अपने हाथों से बनाकर 1500 राखियां भेजी हैं।

इसके लिए वृन्दावन के तकरीबन पांच सदी पुराने ठा. गोपीनाथ मंदिर में एक विशेष कार्यक्रम का आयोजन कर गाते-बजाते इन राखियों को मिठाई की टोकरियों के साथ पैक किया गया। इस कार्यक्रम का आयोजन वर्ष 2012 से वृन्दावन, वाराणसी एवं उत्तराखण्ड की 1000 विधवाओं की देखभाल कर रहे गैर सरकारी संगठन ‘सुलभ इण्टरनेशनल ‘ ने किया था।

सुलभ इण्टरनेशनल के संस्थापक डा. बिन्देश्वर पाठक को अपना भाई मानने वाली इन विधवा महिलाओं ने राखी बांधकर सदियों से चली आ रही कुप्रथा को तोड़कर खुशी-खुशी रक्षाबंधन का त्यौहार मनाया। इस बार यह राखियां बनाने में वृन्दावन के ‘मीरा सहभागिनी ‘ आश्रम में निवास करने वाली विधवाओं ने खासा योगदान किया।

संस्था के मीडिया सलाहकार मदन झा ने बताया, ‘सोमवार को भाई-बहन के अमिट प्रेम व त्याग के त्योहार के अवसर पर इनमें से 10 महिलाएं दिल्ली में प्रधानमंत्री आवास पर पहुंचकर नरेंद्र मोदी को राखी बांधेगी तथा मिठाई भेंट करेंगी। ‘

प्रधानमंत्री को राखी बांधने के लिए एक बच्चे के समान उत्साहित मनु घोष (94 वर्ष) ने प्रधानमंत्री का फोटो लगी राखी दिखाते हुए कहा, ‘मैंने भी स्वयं अपने हाथों से उनके लिए राखी बनाई है और मैं उनको यह राखी बांधने के बेहद बेताब हूं। वे समाज के हम जैसे निर्बल वर्गों की बेहतरी के लिए काम कर रहे हैं। ‘

संस्था की उपाध्यक्ष विनीता वर्मा ने बताया, ‘सुलभ वर्ष 2012 से ही उच्चतम न्यायालय के निर्देशानुसार इन महिलाओं की देखभाल विभिन्न प्रकार से कर रहा है। ‘ उन्होंने बताया, ‘प्रधानमंत्री कार्यालय से हरी झण्डी मिलते ही 10 विधवा महिलाओं एवं सामाजिक कार्यकर्ताओं का दल दिल्ली रवाना हो जाएगा। ‘

Source : https://www.gaonconnection.com/desh/mathura-vrindavan-varanasi-widows-ashram-prime-minister-narendra-modi-rakhi-gopinath-temple-sulabh-international-bindeshwar-pathak-meera-sahabhagini-widow-ashram-madan-jha-manu-ghosh-vinita-verma-old-age-home-raksha-bandhan-raksha-bandhan-2017

Posted by & filed under Articles, Delhi, In the Press, India, Photos, Sulabh News.

NEWS WORLD INDIA / August 7 , 2017

On the occasion of ‘Raksha Bandhan’ women and children from various segments of society called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his official residence and tied ‘rakhi’ on his wrist.

The Prime Minister, on Monday morning tweeted, “On the auspicious occasion of Raksha Bandhan, congratulations to the nation. Greetings on Raksha Bandhan.”

रक्षाबंधन के पावन पर्व पर देशवासियों को बहुत-बहुत बधाई। Greetings on Raksha Bandhan.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 7, 2017

While the Prime Minister celebrated the festival with the widows of Vrindavan, various children and women also went to Narendra Modi’s residence to tie him rakhis. The PM also met the schoolchildren at his office and celebrate Raksha Bandhan. He then blessed the children and conveyed his best wishes to everyone on the occasion.



Source : http://www.newsworldindia.in/sports/the-prime-minister-celebrates-raksha-bandhan-/270798/

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The widows say unanimously that it will be a dream come true for them and that they have been preparing special rakhis for their brother Modi ji.

By News Nation Bureau  |  Updated On : August 07, 2017

The widows say unanimously that it will be a dream come true for them

The widows say unanimously that it will be a dream come true for them

New Delhi :  Today, on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be hosting very special guests from the city of Lord Krishna, Vrindavan.

PM Modi has invited widows from the holy city of Vrindavan to tie rakhi on his wrist at his official residence. The widows have been living in ashrams in Vrindavan and Varanasi.

The widows say unanimously that it will be a dream come true for them and that they have been preparing special rakhis for their brother Modi ji. They also have high hopes that the Prime Minister will take concrete steps for their welfare.

“The invitation from Mr. Modi is a rare honour for these widows who have been living a life in penury, shunned by their kin and cut off from the mainstream. This bonding between the widows and Mr. Modi would mark the beginning of a new era,” said Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh International who will accompany these widows to 7 LKM.

A special programme was organised at the five-century-old Gopinath temple in Vrindavan, where rakhis were packed in beautifully decorated baskets carrying sweets.

Widows living in Vrindavan’s ‘Meera Sahabhinini’ ashram made a major contribution in the making of these scared threads.

Around 1,500 hand-made rakhis would be given to the prime minister.

94-year-old Manu Ghosh, while showing a rakhi carrying a picture of the prime minister, said, “I have made this rakhi with my own hands and I am very excited to tie it on the prime minister’s wrist.”

Vineeta Verma, the vice-president of the organisation, said, “A green signal has been received from the Prime Minister’s Office. A team of these women and social workers will be leaving for Delhi today.”

Source : http://www.newsnation.in/india-news/prime-minister-narendra-modi-to-host-vrindavan-widows-who-will-tie-rakhis-on-his-wrist-article-178875.html

Posted by & filed under International.

The Economic Times
PTI|
Updated: Aug 06, 2017, 08.47 PM IST
Widows living in Vrindavan's 'Meera Sahabhinini' ashram made a major contribution in the making of these scared threads.

Widows living in Vrindavan’s ‘Meera Sahabhinini’ ashram made a major contribution in the making of these scared threads.

MATHURA: Widows from Vrindavan would tie rakhi on Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s wrist in Delhi tomorrow on the occasion of Rakshabandhan that celebrates the brother-sister bond.
A special programme was organised at the five-century-old Gopinath temple in Vrindavan, where rakhis were packed in beautifully decorated baskets carrying sweets.
Widows living in Vrindavan’s ‘Meera Sahabhinini’ ashram made a major contribution in the making of these scared threads.
The programme was organized by Sulabh International, a non-governmental organization, taking care of 1,000 widows of Vrindavan, Varanasi and Uttarakhand since 2012.
Madan Jha, media in-charge of the organization, said, “Tomorrow, on the occasion of Rakshabandhan, 5 widows from Vrindavan will visit the prime minister’s residence in Delhi and tie rakhi to him.”
Around 1,500 hand-made rakhis would be given to the prime minister.
94-year-old Manu Ghosh, while showing a rakhi carrying a picture of the prime minister, said, “I have made this rakhi with my own hands and I am very excited to tie it on the prime minister’s wrist.”
Vineeta Verma, the vice-president of the organisation, said, “A green signal has been received from the Prime Minister’s Office. A team of these women and social workers will be leaving for Delhi today.”

Posted by & filed under Articles, Blog, In the Press, India, Interviews, Photos, Press Releases, Sulabh News.

NATION

Team Republic 

Widows of Vrindavan celebrate Raksha Bandhan Festival and show their Modi Rakhi during a function organised by Sulabh International at Gopinath Temple in Vrindavan on Sunday. (PTI Photo)

Widows of Vrindavan celebrate Raksha Bandhan Festival and show their Modi Rakhi during a function organised by Sulabh International at Gopinath Temple in Vrindavan on Sunday. (PTI Photo)

Muslim Girls of Marora (Popular as Trump village) showing their Trump Rakhi ahead of Raksha Bandhan Festival in the hounor of US President Donald Trump, at Nuh Dist Mewat Haryana on Saturday. The girls are making 1000 Special Trump Rakhi for US President

Muslim Girls of Marora (Popular as Trump village) showing their Trump Rakhi ahead of Raksha Bandhan Festival in the hounor of US President Donald Trump, at Nuh Dist Mewat Haryana on Saturday. The girls are making 1000 Special Trump Rakhi for US President

Some people have been very creative with their rakhis and have made Modi and Trump rakhi to pay tribute to them. With help of different images, Republic wishes you a very happy rakhi.

Source : http://www.republicworld.com/s/4329/raksha-bandhan-2017-india-comes-together-to-celebrate-rakhi

Posted by & filed under Articles, Blog, Gujarat, In the Press, India, Photos, Press Releases, Sulabh News.

ROTARY NEWS

The gesture by the residents of Marora village in the backward Mewat region represents the wish of the people that ties are further strengthened between India and the US.

 

Girls from Haryana’s Marora, popular as Trump village, with their Trump Rakhis on Saturday.

Girls from Haryana’s Marora, popular as Trump village, with their Trump Rakhis on Saturday.

He may have not heard of ‘Rakhi’, but the women and girls of a remote Muslim-dominated village “symbolically” named by an NGO after US President Donald Trump will send him 1,001 sacred threads on the Hindu festival that celebrates the brother-sister bond.

The gesture by the residents of Marora village in the backward Mewat region represents the “wish of the people that ties are further strengthened between India and the US”, says the NGO which has adopted the village.

The village had come into the limelight after Sulabh International Social Service Organisation (SISSO) chief Bindeshwar Pathak had announced to name it ‘Trump’s village’.

The district administration had later said the move to rename the village was “illegal”, forcing the organisation members to remove boards mentioning the new name.

The village, with a population of 1,800 people, lies under Punhana tehshil, some 60 km from Gurgaon.

“These students have made 1,001 rakhis with photos of Donald Trump and 501 rakhis for Narendra Modi. Women and girls of the village consider them their elder brothers,” Monica Jain, vice president of the NGO, said.

The consignment of rakhis was sent on Sunday (August 6) through cargo so that it reached the US president on Raksha Bandhan on Monday. The villagers are also sending invitations to the two leaders to visit the village.

Source: https://rotarynewsonline.org/haryana-villagers-send-rakhis-to-trump/

Posted by & filed under Articles, Blog, In the Press, India, Photos, Press Releases, Sulabh News, Uttar Pradesh.

Monday, 07 August 2017 | PNS | Lucknow | in Lucknow

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi will get 1500 special Rakhis made by hundreds of widows of Vrindavan and Varanasi this raksha bandhan festival.

The Rakhis carrying colourful photo of Modi have been tastefully prepared by a group of old widows living in Meera Sahabhagini ashram in Vrindavan..

Ten widows will go to Delhi to present baskets containing sweets and Rakhis to their “brother” Modi on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, a festival that celebrates the love and duty between brothers and sisters.

A colourful Rakhshabandhan programme was organised in Vrindavan’s Gopinath temple where they prepared and decorated all such Rakhis in baskets. On the occasion Widows also tied Rakhis to Sulabh International founder Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak who look after around a thousand widows in Vrindavan.

Vice President of Sulabh International Vinita Verma said, “We are trying our best to get permission to go inside the prime minister’s residence to tie Rakhi to Mr Modi. We are waiting for communication from the PMO in this regard.”

Rakhi celebration was organised by well known Social Reformer and Founder of Sulabh International Dr Bindeshwar Pathak who looks after around a thousand widows living in various ashrams in Vrindavan and Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of the prime minister.

Dr. Pathak said that as these widows have accepted him a brother and he honours them by fulfilling their wishes by organising such events from time to time.

94-year-old Manu Ghosh looks very excited to go to Delhi to tie Rakhi to Modi if she gets a chance.

She has personally made a Rakhi for him.

Continuing to defy an age old tradition, hundreds of aged widows living in various ashrams today celebrated Rakhsha Bandhan at the historic Gopinath Temple here.

They tied Rakhis to Pathak who has been taking care of their livelihood and welfare since 2012.

Source : http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/lucknow/pm-to-get-rakhis-form-widows.html