Posted by & filed under Articles, In the Press, International, Photos, Press Releases, Sulabh News.

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A TOWN known as ‘the city of widows’ attracts thousands of women who have been cast away by their families and left alone in the world, following their husbands’ deaths.

news.com.au FEBRUARY 17, 2018

For more than six hours each day, dozens of women, mostly widows, with no other way to earn a living, gather to pray together in exchange for meals and money.Source:AP

FOR centuries the mysterious ‘city of widows’ has attracted thousands of women who have been banished by their families and considered cursed following the death of their husbands.

No one has reliably counted the number of widows in Vrindavan, about 135km south of the Indian capital New Delhi. But it’s estimated there are up to 15,000 widows living there, after being cast off by relatives who consider them a financial drain and bad luck, or want to prevent them inheriting money or property.

Many of them are abruptly dropped off on a city street — where the Hindu god Krishna is said to have grown up — by a family member who then abandons them and drives away.

Others come on their own volition, via buses or trains from hundreds of kilometres away, in search of companionship and purpose or for worship. Most have travelled from West Bengal, a journey of more than 1600km, leaving behind friends and grandchildren.

It’s a pilgrimage that has been made by generations of Indian widows. But it’s still a struggle for survival everyday.

Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of human rights organisation Sulabh International, which works with the widows, said the “shame” of widowhood was still very strong in some traditional quarters where they are expected to relinquish all joy and pleasure.

Mr Pathak said they aren’t allowed to celebrate or attend marriages and they’re supposed to live in seclusion, shave their heads and dress in white.

“It is essentially a form of life imprisonment for these widows,” he said.

Sulabh, which has done pioneering social work in India in sanitation and other fields, was tasked by the Supreme Court in 2012 to work with the women after reports of widows’ bodies being put in sacks and thrown in the river.

The organisation has been providing a monthly allowance of 2000 rupees ($35) a month to 700 widows and teaching skills since that time. But it reaches only a small fraction of the widows said to be living in Vrindavan.

Most of the women are forced to live in shelters, shared rooms and under roadside tarps because it is difficult to find accommodation that will admit them.

Indian women pray together for more than six hours each day at a temple in Vrindavan, India.

Indian women pray together for more than six hours each day at a temple in Vrindavan, India.Source:AP

The city and its neighbouring towns are a spiritual centre, crowded with temples to the Hindu god Krishna. Because the widows are not accepted into society, they congregate around the spiritual centres, where they are able to scrape together a meagre living and develop a sisterhood with the other women.

The authorities run four ashrams in which bhajans — devotional songs — are chanted all day long by impoverished widows who crowd side-by-side on the floor, National Geographic reports.

The widows — usually elderly women — pray together and sing chants repeatedly for hours at a time in exchange for hot meals, sleeping mats.

They are commonly seen coming in and out of the temples, dressed in white and often begging for food and money to pay for rented accommodation.

Delhi psychologist Vasantha Patri, who has written about the plight of Vrindavan’s widows, described them as “physically alive but socially dead”. The women’s plight was depicted in the 2005 Oscar-nominated film Water.

A crowd of women fight to enter a gate to be given their daily ration of food at a charity centre in Vrindavan.

A crowd of women fight to enter a gate to be given their daily ration of food at a charity centre in Vrindavan.Source:AP

A group of Indian women wait to receive two Indian Rupees (about four US cents) payment after praying together in a temple in Vrindavan, India.

A group of Indian women wait to receive two Indian Rupees (about four US cents) payment after praying together in a temple in Vrindavan, India.Source:AP

The woman are generally banned from participating in the colourful revelry of festivals with the exception of one event that takes place each year — the annual Holi ‘Festival of Colours’ which celebrates the arrival of spring.

During the two day festival, revellers throw coloured powders and liquids on others, creating a vibrant atmosphere. Each colour used at the festival signifies something different. Red means love and fertility; blue is the colour of Krishna, the Hindu deity; yellow is the colour of turmeric, and green symbolises spring and new beginnings.

About 1000 widows sponsored by non-government organisations turn out to the event each year. This year’s is expected to start in less than two weeks.

An Indian widow tries to catch flowers as she takes part in Holi or 'festival of colours' at the Meerasahabhagini Ashram in Vrindavan, India on March 3, 2015. Picture: K M Asad/LightRocket via Getty Images.

An Indian widow tries to catch flowers as she takes part in Holi or ‘festival of colours’ at the Meerasahabhagini Ashram in Vrindavan, India on March 3, 2015. Picture: K M Asad/LightRocket via Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

The widows of this and other ashrams are sponsored by the NGO, Sulabh International that funds most of their needs. Picture: K M Asad/LightRocket via Getty Images.

The widows of this and other ashrams are sponsored by the NGO, Sulabh International that funds most of their needs. Picture: K M Asad/LightRocket via Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

It’s a part of Indian society that the government has made recent strides to help. But there’s still a long way to go.

In 2012, the Supreme Court ordered that a special committee be constituted to identify the widows in Vrindavan — “those having shelter and those wandering in the streets without shelter”.

The court also ordered that complete data be collected on the families of these women, including their reasons for leaving home and their source of income. This tedious process, however, is still not complete, according to The Hindu. In a status report submitted by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development in September 2015, the government had said the process was ongoing.

A detailed Agreed Action Plan formulated by the Ministry and the National Commission for Women was submitted before the court as a follow-up last year.

This plan detailed the need to improve infrastructure, create a database of widows by linking them with their Aadhaar identity cards that are issued to all Indian residents, and counselling the families to take the women back home.

According to the order, the women should be entitled to free legal and medical aid along with basic living conditions.

Source : http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/the-mysterious-place-where-thousands-of-widows-flock-to-live/news-story/6bef3703bdcac89ca811fc7e457f2ccf

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

 

Gurvinder Singh| Kolkata 29 Jan 2018, Vol 9 Issue 5

Much has been written about Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, who has dedicated his life to the fight against open defecation and manual scavenging, but few know how tough his struggle has been. The world-acclaimed social reformer was once on the brink of committing suicide.

Success, however, was in his destiny it seems. “When I was just two years old, my grandfather had prophesised that I would earn lot of name and fame in life,” says the soft-spoken reformer. His grandfather, Shiv Sharan Pathak, was a renowned astrologer.

Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, Founder of Sulabh International, was born into a Brahmin family, but chose to rebel against untouchability (Photos: Monirul Islam Mullick)

His prophecy came true. Starting in 1973, Pathak’s non-profit Sulabh International has constructed over 1.5 million household Sulabh Shauchalayas (pour-flush toilets) across the country, with 20 million people using the facilities every day.

In August 1974, he built his first public toilet in Patna, with 20 bathrooms, urinals, washbasins, which had soap and clean water. Around 500 people used the toilet on the first day itself at the charge of 10 paise per user.

Today, Sulabh Shauchalyas generate around Rs 500 crore every year. Sulabh International maintains over 8,500 public toilets across the country and employs over 50,000 people. Over 10 lakh manual scavengers have been connected to the mainstream by jobs at Sulabh Shauchalyas, and their children have been provided education for a better future.

The social entrepreneur initially suffered so many setbacks on this journey that he had seriously considered ending his life… but his vision and commitment saw him through the rough patch.

Born on 2 April, 1943, in a Hindu Brahmin orthodox family at Rampur in Vaishali district of Bihar, Pathak was the second of six siblings.

His father, Dr. Ramakant Pathak, was an Ayurvedic doctor and the family was quite well-off but he recollects an incident from his childhood that left an indelible impression on his mind.

“I was around 5 or 6,” Pathak recalls. “A woman, who happened to be a Dalit, used to come to sell some household items to our village. One day, I touched her to say something… All hell broke loose.

A younger Pathak cleaning a dry latrine, the job assigned for manual scavengers (Photo: Special Arrangement)

“My grandmother not only berated me but also made me eat cow dung, drink cow urine and poured Ganga-jal on me to ‘purify’ me. The incident left a scar. I began to wonder why Dalits were treated inhumanly even though they have the same flesh and blood like us. I vowed to do something for them when I grew up.”

He studied in a government school and went to RDS College in Muzaffarpur, about 60 km away from his hometown, for a year, before shifting to Patna, the state capital, where he took admission at Bihar National College and studied Sociology.

The sociologist shares an amusing anecdote: “I was too shy and introverted in those days. I still remember standing in a queue for admission in college and pulling out every time I reached the gate and then standing in queue again… The gatekeeper eventually caught me and forced me inside the Principal’s office!”

He topped the first year with 54 per cent marks and was awarded a scholarship of Rs 14 per month.

“My father used to send Rs 25 every month for additional expenses,” says Pathak. “I used to stay at my uncle’s house in Patna who took care of my food and accommodation. My friends were nice and took me to movies.”

He remembers wearing dhoti and kurta in those days. “Some students wouldn’t talk to me because of my rural looks,” he says, adding that he started wearing shirt and trousers after the first year.

In 1964, he completed his graduation and returned to the village where he joined Gandhi High School as a temporary teacher at a monthly salary of Rs 80.

Pathak with some of Sulabh’s employees, many of whom are rehabilitated manual scavengers

In July 1965, he got married to Amola, a resident of Mehnar in Vaishali district. The couple has three children.

He quit the teacher job and joined as account assistant at a thermal power station at Patratu in Ranchi (now in Jharkhand) in August 1965, at a daily wage of Rs 5.

“Slowly, thoughts of making a name for myself started entering my mind around that time,” says Pathak. “I had no idea what to do but I quit my job in 1966.”

His father, meanwhile, had shifted to Muzzafarpur and had opened a pharmacy. He returned and began to assist his father in supplying medicines but somehow he didn’t like the intricacies of business and decided to quit that too.

The life changing moment came in 1968, when he joined the Bhangi-Mukti (scavengers’ liberation) Cell of the Bihar Gandhi Centenary Celebrations Committee at Patna. He was first made a translator and then appointed as publicity in-charge at a monthly salary of Rs 200.

“The Committee was mainly involved in spreading the ideas of Gandhiji and to liberate manual scavengers from the ill practice,” explains Pathak. “I slowly began to get attracted to the ideals of Gandhiji. My whole life changed.”

He was then sent to stay with manual scavengers and try to connect them with mainstream society. “I was initially reluctant to stay with people considered ‘untouchables’ by society because I was a Brahmin,” admits Pathak, “but it was my job so I agreed. However, soon I was very moved to see the state of manual scavengers… cleaning human waste from the pit latrines and carrying it for disposal.”

He was so moved that he decided to do something more.

Pathak has received various awards for his service to eradicate manual scavenging

On 5 March 1970, he took a personal loan of Rs 50,000 and founded Sulabh Svachchh Shauchalaya Sansthaan (the clean toilet institute), his non-profit, and came up with his now famous innovative concept of the two-pit ecological compost toilet.

In this technology, there are two pits. One is used at a time and the other is kept as a standby. When the first pit gets filled up, the human excreta get converted into bio-fertilizer with the help of bacteria present in the soil. It requires only one litre of water per use to flush.

He hired 7-8 people and the office was set-up at an area of 200 sq ft at Patna. Later, he started getting CSR fund support from corporates like State Bank of India, ONGC, Maruti, HDFC, Bharti Foundation and others. The non-profit became Sulabh International in 1980, to have a more simplified name for the international network.

His work, predictably, attracted anger and protest from his community. “My parents and in-laws, along with the society, were angry with me because they found it derogatory for a Brahmin to work for the lower caste,” he says. “But I was out to achieve the dreams of Gandhiji.”

The 77-year-old says that the initial years were disappointing as he didn’t get work to build toilets from anywhere. “The non-profit needed money to run but there were no orders for toilets,” Pathak recalls. “The situation reached such a point that I had to sell my mother’s and wife’s jewellery to run it.”

The economic conditions were so adverse that Pathak thought of committing suicide… “I was nearly bankrupt and had lost all hope,” he says. “I had taken money from people but couldn’t repay them.”

But destiny had other plans for him.

He got an order to build two private toilets at Arrah district in Bihar and received Rs 500 in 1973.

Pathak carrying human waste from a dry latrine along with manual scavengers during his earlier years of activism

Slowly, his technology started becoming popular and spread to other districts of Bihar, with almost 500 toilets in a year.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Sulabh means easy access – and they have provided access to clean toilets to millions. Their work has now crossed over to Afghanistan, Nepal, South East Asia, Africa and Latin America. Besides this, the NGO is also involved in philanthropic activities and has been giving stipends to widows and educating children from Dalit communities.

A Padma Bhushan recipient, Pathak has won several domestic and international awards, most recently the Legend of Planet award from the French senate in Paris, ahead of World Environment Day in 2013.

His mantra for success: Work with a mission, vision, morality and always be honest. “You will have infinite power if you are spiritual and never be arrogant of your success,” says Dr Pathak.

Well said, sir.

This article is part of the ‘Inspiring Indians’ series

More Inspiring Indians

Dr. Rajalakshmi S.J, Bengaluru

Dr Thiruvengadam Veeraraghavan, Chennai

Source : http://www.theweekendleader.com/Heroism/2694/the-noble-soul.html

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

The Times of India

 in Newshound Tales | India | TOI

January 28, 2018

On a balmy morning, impoverished women from Sunderbans whose husbands were killed by man-eater tigers, entered – for the first time in their lives – a glitzy hotel in Kolkata to witness hope that has eluded them for decades.

They all walked up the mahogany-walled expansive stairs of Oberoi Grand, marvelling at the hotel’s suited butlers offering tea in porcelain pots and biscuits freshly baked from the hotel’s expensive bakeries. Some of the widows wore ashen symbols on their forehead as reverence to Lord Vishu, the creator and among the Trinity of Hindu mythology. All wore sarees starched for the occasion. Their guides showed them the expensive chandeliers of the hotel, told them it cost lakhs.

Leading the speakers was one of India’s top social reformers, Dr. Bindeswar Pathak, who had chalked out a plan with the West Bengal to alleviate the standards of living of these hapless women who live on a pittance. It was the first ray of hope for the widows, who had always found mention in global journals for the death of their husbands because of the wild cats.

There are no official estimates of such killings though locals in Sunderbans estimate a little over 1000 people – fishermen, wood and honey collectors – died in the last decade of such attacks. Some were killed during morning ablutions in the forest.

The initiative by Dr Pathak, whose exemplary work in creating hygienic toilets in India and across the world and water treatment plants has helped him get global awards, was pathbreaking because the widows have always been neglected.

Not just the Sunderban widows, Dr Pathak has been working for almost a decade on the plight of similar women from Bengal who live in faraway places like Varanasi, Vrindavan and Mathura. He and his team members from Sulabh International encouraged the women to tie rakhi – a symbolic thread of brotherhood – on the wrist of former President Pranab Mukherjee, pushed them to celebrate Holi, the festival of colour that was always forbidden for the women.

His unique move on January 19, 2018, Oberoi Grand hotel, where a cup of tea costs Rs 230 and a lunch Rs 2500, was a giant ray of hope for the poor widows, who live in thatched houses lit by kerosene lamps and eat frugal meals. In his speech, Dr. Pathak exhorted those present on the dais and also in the audience to join hands and work with Sulabh and the West Bengal government to push the widows out of poverty, helping them create cottage markets for local use.

Rest, as expected, was speeches by local leaders who exhorted the widows to remember the historic days of Bengal’s reformers like Raja Ram Mohun Roy and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. It created little impact on the women, ostensibly because it was more than 183 years ago. Some of the speakers even talked about parental discord and an increasing number of aged heading for old-age homes. Such arguments were clearly out of place, it had no relevance to the present.

Sulabh International’s creditable initiative will bear fruit only if people in Bengal are exhorted by the state government to start sub-groups and work with such women found in villages across the Sunderbans. And also in Vrindavan, Mathura and Varanasi.

Lectures about the past will not help the widows. You cannot tell the poor what they should do, you must show them what you can do for them to rise in life. It is a tough call in India where social responsibility is committed under fears of tax regulations set by the government. Such efforts are mostly in the files for the chartered accountant to file returns, mere lip service.

It’s like offering food without a human touch. It is time Dr Pathak and his men get their rightful due, only then it will transcend into a fresh lease of lives for those hapless women.

Else, they will continue to live in dilapidated conditions without hope.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

Posted by & filed under Articles, Haryana, In the Press, India, Press Releases, Sulabh News.

 EconomyNational 

Gurugram, Jan 27 : As many as 65 new Sulabh toilets were inaugurated for the residents of a village here on Saturday in a move to end the practice of open defecation.

The new toilets are part of a joint initiative by Rotary club of mid-West Delhi, Rotary Club of Denver, US, and Sulabh International.

The toilets were handed over to the families in the Indri village of Sohna.

“This initiative is under the effort of the Prime Minister for his flagship programme to ensure total sanitation coverage by 2019,” said William Korstad, coordinator Rotary club of Denver, US.

Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh International, on the occasion said: “We are trying our best to make places open defecation free (ODF). And handing over toilets to villagers here is part of it.”

/IANS

Source : https://dailyworld.in/65-new-toilets-inaugurated-under-odf-initiative/

Posted by & filed under Articles, Haryana, In the Press, India, Press Releases, Sulabh News.

Business Standard

IANS  |  Gurugram Last Updated at January 27, 2018 18:45 IST

As many as 65 new Sulabh were inaugurated for the residents of a village here on Saturday in a move to end the practice of open 

The new are part of a joint initiative by of mid-West Delhi, of Denver, US, and 

The were handed over to the families in the Indri village of 

“This initiative is under the effort of the for his flagship programme to ensure total coverage by 2019,” said William Korstad, of Denver, US.

Bindeshwar Pathak, of Sulabh International, on the occasion said: “We are trying our best to make places open free (ODF).

And handing over to villagers here is part of it.”

–IANS

rup/nks/rn

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Source : http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/65-new-toilets-inaugurated-under-odf-initiative-118012700705_1.html

Posted by & filed under Articles, Haryana, In the Press, India, Press Releases, Sulabh News.

Gurugram

Posted 27 Jan 2018

As many as 65 new Sulabh toilets were inaugurated for the residents of a village here on Saturday in a move to end the practice of open defecation.

The new toilets are part of a joint initiative by Rotary club of mid-West Delhi, Rotary Club of Denver, US, and Sulabh International.

The toilets were handed over to the families in the Indri village of Sohna.

“This initiative is under the effort of the Prime Minister for his flagship programme to ensure total sanitation coverage by 2019,” said William Korstad, coordinator Rotary club of Denver, US.

Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh International, on the occasion said: “We are trying our best to make places open defecation free (ODF). And handing over toilets to villagers here is part of it.” – IANS

Source : http://www.theweekendleader.com/Headlines/12136/65-new-toilets-inaugurated-under-odf-initiative.html

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

Ei Samay

এই সময় : কেন বিধবা বিবাহ আইন পাশ হওয়ার একশো ষাট বছর পরেও বিধবাদের সামাজিক পুনর্বাসন ও ক্ষমতায়ন নিয়ে আলোচনাসভা আয়োজন করতে হয় ? বিদ্যাসাগরের আমলে না হয় নানা সামাজিক প্রতিবন্ধকতা বা রক্ষণশীল দৃষ্টিভঙ্গির জেরে বিধবাদের অধিকার প্রতিষ্ঠা করা কঠিন ছিল৷ কিন্ত্ত এত বছর পরেও কেন সে সমস্যার জট ছাড়ল না ? এই প্রশ্ন তুললেন ঈশ্বরচন্দ্র বিদ্যাসাগরের বংশধর নীলাদ্রি বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়৷ কেমব্রিজ বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের পদার্থবিদ্যার প্রাক্তন অধ্যাপক নীলাদ্রি শুক্রবার কলকাতায় ‘বিধবাদের সামাজিক মুক্তি ও স্বশক্তিকরণ ’ শীর্ষক একটি আলোচনা সভায় যোগ দেন৷ সেখানেই তিনি এ প্রশ্ন তোলেন এবং সামাজিক প্রেক্ষাপটে বিধবাদের প্রতি দৃষ্টিভঙ্গির বদল আদতে কতটা হয়েছে , তা নিয়ে নতুন করে চিন্তাভাবনার প্রয়োজনের কথা বলেন৷ বিদ্যাসাগরের আমলে যে সমাজটা আটকে নেই , এ দিনের আলোচনা সভায় তার খণ্ডচিত্র ধরা পড়লেও নীলাদ্রি যা বলেছেন , তার প্রয়োজন যে কতখানি , সেটা বোঝার মতো উদাহরণও ছিল ভূরি ভূরি৷ একদিকে ছিলেন উত্তরাখণ্ডের বিনীতা৷ ১৯ বছর বয়সে প্রাকৃতিক দুর্যোগে স্বামীকে হারিয়ে বৈধব্যের নিঃসঙ্গতা ও কড়া অনুশাসনের অন্ধকারে ডুবে গিয়েছিল তাঁর জীবন৷ একদিন পরিচয় হয় পেশায় গাড়ি চালক রাকেশ কুমারের সঙ্গে৷ বিনীতাকে মনে ধরে রাকেশের৷ বিয়ের প্রস্তাব দেন৷ কুণ্ঠিত ভাবেই বিনীতা জানিয়েছিলেন , তিনি বিধবা৷ কিন্ত্ত রাকেশের কাছে সেটা কোনও বাধা মনেই হয়নি৷ শেষ পর্যন্ত চার হাত এক হয়৷ বিনীতা এখন দুই সন্তানের মা৷

কিন্ত্ত বাসন্তীর সুবর্ণর গল্পটা যে অন্যরকম ! আশপাশের মানুষের কাছে তাঁর পরিচয় ‘বাঘ বিধবা ’৷ সুন্দরবনের গভীরে মধু সংগ্রহে গিয়ে বাঘের শিকার হন তাঁর স্বামী৷ ১৫ বছরের দীর্ঘ বৈধব্যের যাতনায় মুখে অকাল বার্ধক্যের বলিরেখা৷ বলেন , ‘আমার কোনও ছেলেমেয়ে নেই৷ বোনের এক ছেলে দুটো ভাত দেয়৷ সরকার থেকে সাহায্যও পাই না৷ ’ নবদ্বীপের প্রাচীন মায়াপুরের ছবি শর্মার ছেলে থাকলেও সুবর্ণর চেয়ে তাঁর পরিস্থিতি খুব একটা ভালো নয়৷ ছেলের আর্থিক অবস্থা এতটাই খারাপ যে নিজের সংসার টানতেই নাজেহাল৷ তাঁর ‘গলগ্রহ ’ না হয়ে তাই বৃন্দাবনবাসী হয়েছেন ছবি৷ নামগান করে আগে সেখানে একটি আশ্রম থেকে দৈনিক আড়াই টাকা , চালডাল সব্জির সিধে আর কখনও সখনও কাপড় পেতেন৷ হালে অবশ্য সর্বোচ্চ আদালতের হস্তক্ষেপে একটি স্বেচ্ছাসেবী সংস্থার তরফে মাসে দু’হাজার টাকা করে মিলছে৷ একটু ভালো আছেন ছবি৷ তবে তিনি ব্যক্তিগত ভাবে বিধবাদের পুনর্বিবাহে বিশ্বাসী নন৷ তাঁর কথায় , ‘মন তো একটাই৷ একজনকে সঁপেছিলাম৷ অন্য কারও কথা মনে আনি না৷ ’ বর্তমানে লাফবারো বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের অধ্যাপক নীলাদ্রি বলেন , ‘বিদ্যাসাগর বিধবা বিবাহের সূচনা করেছিলেন৷ কিন্ত্ত কুণ্ঠার সঙ্গে বলছি , বৃন্দাবন -সহ ভারতের নানা জায়গায় বিধবাদের যে শোচনীয় পরিস্থিতি , তা নিয়ে আমি খুব একটা অবহিত ছিলাম না৷ এই আলোচনা সভার উদ্যোক্তারা আমায় বলতে বলার পরে এ বিষয়ে কিছু খোঁজখবর নেওয়া ও পড়াশোনা শুরু করলাম৷ দেশের বড় শহরে পরিস্থিতি সামান্য বদলালেও সামগ্রিক ভাবে বিধবাদের গ্রহণযোগ্যতা সে ভাবে বাড়েনি৷ ’তবে সিন্ধুতে বিন্দুর মতোই সংস্কারের অচলায়তনে খানিক চিড় যে ধরছে , তার কিছু দিশা মিলল রাজা রামমোহন রায় ও পণ্ডিত ঈশ্বরচন্দ্র বিদ্যাসাগর ফাউন্ডেশন আয়োজিত এই আলোচনা সভায়৷ যেমন বিন্ধ্যেশ্বরী পাঠকের নেতৃত্বে সুলভ ইন্টারন্যাশনালের সহায়তায় বৃন্দাবনে বিধবারা সংস্কারকে বুড়ো আঙুল দেখিয়ে রঙিন কাপড় পরছেন , হোলিতে মাতছেন , এমনকি ফ্যাশন শোয়ের র্যাম্পেও হাঁটছেন৷ স্বনির্ভর হতে শিখছেন হাতের কাজ , কম্পিউটার৷ পঞ্চায়েত মন্ত্রী সুব্রত মুখোপাধ্যায় জানিয়েছেন , রাজ্য সরকারও বিধবাদের ক্ষমতায়নের কর্মকাণ্ডে শরিক হতে চায়৷ তিনি বলেন , ‘রাজ্যে স্বনির্ভর প্রকল্পে আমরা বিধবাদের সংযুক্ত করতে পারি৷ না হলে , বিধবাদের উপরে যে শোষণ চলছে , যে বঞ্চনার তাঁরা শিকার , তা লজ্জার কারণ হয়ে দাঁড়ায়৷ ’ নারী কল্যাণমন্ত্রী শশী পাঁজা মনে করেন , এই সমস্যার সমাধানে সরকারি উদ্যোগের সঙ্গে মানসিকতারও ইতিবাচক বদল দরকার৷

বিধবাদের ক্ষমতায়নে শরিক হতে চায় রাজ্যও৷ শুক্রবার কলকাতায় — জয়ন্ত সাউ৷

Source : http://www.epaper.eisamay.com/Details.aspx?id=37559&boxid=141412798

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

दैनिक जागरण

By Sanjay Pokhriyal / Tue, 09 Jan 2018 11:07

संसार में हर आदमी अपने लिए जीता है, लेकिन असल जीवन वो है, जो दूसरों के कल्याण में, उनकी भलाई में लग जाता है।

जानिए- बिंदेश्वर पाठक के 'शौचालय प्रेम' के पीछे की रोचक कहानी

नई दिल्ली (जेएनएन)। महात्मा गांधी ने ज्ञान से अधिक कर्म को महत्व दिया था। उनका कहना था कि बड़े से बड़ा ज्ञान हासिल करने की बजाय समाज की एक छोटी-सी समस्या का निदान निकालना महत्वपूर्ण होता है। अमेरिका के राष्ट्रपति जॉन एफ केनेडी कहा करते थे कि यह मत पूछो कि देश ने तुम्हारे लिए क्या काम किया है, बल्कि अपने से यह पूछो कि तुमने देश के लिए क्या किया है। मैं पटना विश्वविद्यालय में समाजशास्त्र में प्राध्यापक बनना चाहता था, लेकिन संयोग से मैं बिहार गांधी जन्म शताब्दी समारोह समिति में एक सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता के रूप में कार्य करने लगा। वह वर्ष 1968 था।

एक साल के बाद 1969 में महात्मा गांधी का जन्म शताब्दी-समारोह होना था। उस समय अमानवीय एवं घृणित मैला ढोने की प्रथा प्रचलन में थी। साथ ही लोग शौच के लिए खुले रूप में खेतों में जाया करते थे। सार्वजनिक जगहों पर शौचालय की कोई व्यवस्था नहीं थी। खुले में शौच के तमाम नकारात्मक असर से हम वाकिफ हैं।

लिहाजा 1968 में मैंने दो गड्ढे वाले सुलभ शौचालय का आविष्कार किया और घर-घर जाकर लोगों को अपने घरों में शौचालय बनवाने के लिए प्रेरित करना प्रारंभ किया। आज सुलभ द्वारा गांवों और शहरों में 15 लाख सुलभ शौचालय बनवाए गए हैं और सार्वजनिक स्थलों पर 8,500 सुलभ शौचालयों की व्यवस्था करवाई गई है। यदि ये शौचालय नहीं बने होते तो ये लोग शौच के लिए कहां जाते! आज महिलाएं सुरक्षा एवं प्रतिष्ठा के साथ शौचालय का उपयोग कर रही हैं। अब लड़कियां स्कूल जाने लगी हैं।

मेरा मानना है कि यदि आपने किसी पीड़ित व्यक्ति की मदद नहीं की है तो आपने कभी ईश्वर की पूजा नहीं की है। गांधी जी भी कहा करते थे,‘वैष्णव जन तो तेने कहिए जो पीर पराई जाणे रे’।

संसार में हर आदमी अपने लिए जीता है, लेकिन असल जीवन वो है, जो दूसरों के कल्याण में, उनकी भलाई में लग जाता है। ईश्वर ने अगर आपको इस लायक बनाया है कि आप किसी की मदद कर सकते हैं तो हमें इसके लिए तत्पर रहना चाहिए।

डॉ विंदेश्वर पाठक

संस्थापक, सुलभ इंटरनेशनल

Source : https://www.jagran.com/news/national-helping-others-and-live-for-others-is-the-bast-policy-of-humanity-17329419.html

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

Fame India

Posted by  On January 08, 2018

विश्वविख्यात समाजसेवी 73 वर्षीय डॉ बिन्देश्वर पाठक ने समाज के लिए सबसे जरूरी स्वच्छता, मानवाधिकार, पर्यावरण और समाज सेवा के क्षेत्र में कार्य से देश दुनिया में बड़ी पहचान बनायी है. इनके कार्य को सिर्फ स्वच्छता, तक मानना बेमानी होगा क्योंकि बिहार के पारंपरिक ब्राह्मण परिवार जन्म होने के बावजूद अछूत माने जाने वाले भंगी समुदाय के लिए किये गए इनके कार्य अतुलनीय हैं, जो इन्हें सुलभ इंटरनेशनल के संस्थापक से ज्यादा एक समाजशास्त्री बनाते हैं. महात्मा गांधी व डॉ. अंबेडकर की विचारधारा के पक्षधर डॉ. पाठक स्नातक की पढ़ाई पूरी कर बिहार गाँधी सेनटेनरी सेलिब्रेशन कमेंटी से जुड़े. इस दौरान की गयी यात्राओं में इन्हें मैला ढोने वाले लोगों की समस्या को जानने समझने का मौका मिला. इसके बाद 1970 में इन्होंने सुलभ इंटरनेशनल की स्थापना की. करीब 43 वर्षों से स्वच्छता, व सामाजिक छुआछूत को ले कर किये जा रहे सुलभ इंटरनेशनल के कार्य आज विश्व की जरूरत बन गये हैं. इनके समाज विकास के कार्यों की विशेषता का अंदाजा इसा बात से लगाया जा सकता है कि न्यूयॉर्क के मेंयर ने 14 अप्रैल 2016 को बिन्देश्वर पाठक डे के तौर पर घोषित किया.

समाज सेवा के विशिष्ट कार्यों के लिए पद्मभूषण अवार्ड से सम्मानित डॉ. पाठक को राष्ट्रीय-अन्तर्राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर 60 से ज्यादा अवार्डों से नवाजा जा चुका है. सन् 2003 में श्री पाठक का नाम विश्व के 500 उत्कृष्ट सामाजिक कार्य करने वाले व्यक्तियों की सूची में प्रकाशित किया गया। श्री पाठक को एनर्जी ग्लोब पुरस्कार भी मिला. इन्होंने पर्यावरण के क्षेत्र में काम करने के लिये प्रियदर्शिनी पुरस्कार एवं सर्वोत्तम कार्यप्रणाली के लिये दुबई अन्तर्राष्ट्रीय पुरस्कार भी प्राप्त किया है.

देश दुनिया में बड़ी पहचान बनाने वाले डॉ पाठक बिहारी अस्मिता और पहचान के एशिया पोस्ट सर्वे के 100 प्रभावशाली व्यक्तियों की सूची में प्रमुख स्थान बनाने में सफल रहे.

Source : http://fameindia.co/?p=64