Posted by & filed under Articles, In the Press, India.

 

In yet another instance of toilet revolution in Madhya Pradesh, a woman’s wish to have a proper indoor lavatory will be granted by Sulabh International, after it got to know that she had a bitter quarrel with her husband over the issue and was hospitalised.

Harda resident Chhaya, after facing the humiliation of defecating in open for almost a year decided not to return to her husband Narayan Nagre’s home, till he constructed a toilet at his residence.

This led to an ugly fight between the duo a few days back following which both were undergoing treatment at a hospital in Harda.

When Sulabh International Chairman Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak came to know about the incident through the media, he wrote a letter to them stating that had they approached him on the issue, the situation could not have taken such an ugly turn.

Pathak informed them that he has directed his Bhopal office to construct a toilet at the residence of Nagre at the earliest, Sulabh sources told PTI.

Few months ago, Anita, a tribal bride from Madhya Pradesh’s Betul district had risked her marriage and left her household in the absence of an indoor lavatory.

She was even invited by President Pratibha Patil and Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh, who honoured her for her boldness towards a social cause.

Last week, in eastern Uttar Pradesh also, Pathak honoured three newly-wed women, including a class XII student Priyanka Bharti of Kanchanpur Kuiya village, who had refused to stay in her in-laws’ home after three days of staying there while strongly objecting to the absence of a proper toilet in the house.

Pathak said by revolting against non-availability of toilets, these rural women had done a revolutionary act in India where more than 660 million people still defecate in the open causing serious diseases.

Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/mp-woman-fights-for-indoor-lavatory;-sulabh-comes-to-rescue/969819/0

Posted by & filed under Articles, In the Press, India.

 

More than 60 per cent of the State’s population does not have toilet facilities. The much-hyped Total Sanitation Campaign has been a failure

The absence of a toilet nearly deprived a man of marital bliss when his newly-wed bride ran away from her husband’s home on the third day of her marriage, because she was told that her home did not have toilet facilities and that she would have to use the open fields. in a nondescript district of Uttar Pradesh.

This is the story of Priyanka Bharati, a Dalit and a Class XII student, who got married to Amarjeet Kumar of village Vishnupur Khurd in Maharajganj district of Lucknow on May 2. By Priyanka’s own admission, she was shocked to learn that women in her marital home had to defecate in the open. For the first two days she tried to adjust with the situation, before deciding to return to her mother Kamlavati Devi’s home.

Priyanka’s mother was shocked to see her daughter back within three days of marriage on what the former called a ‘flimsy ground’. She feared that the neighbourhood would be abuzz with her daughter’s early return from her husband’s home. She tried to persuade Priyanka to go back. She argued that in villages women generally used the open fields. Priyanka’s husband Amarjeet too promised to construct the toilet but to no avail.

This was not the first incident. Recently, two more young brides in Uttar Pradesh refused to go to their in-laws’ houses after marriage because those homes too did not have toilets. Priyanka Rajbhar of Kushinagar even attempted suicide when her in-laws threatened her with dire consequences, if she did not return home. Jyoti Kumari of Sant Kabir Nagar also refused to go to her in-laws place till a toilet was constructed there.

The three returned to their new homes last week and only after toilets had been constructed by Sulabh International.

A few months ago, Anita, a tribal bride of Madhya Pradesh, made news by protesting against the lack of toilet facilities at her in-laws’ place. Her in-laws were forced to construct a toilet. She was invited by President Pratibha Patil and Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh, who feted her for her courage in standing up for a social cause.

In rural India, in the absence of toilets women generally use the fields. They go before sunrise or after nightfall. Sulabh International, an NGO that has constructed cost-effective toilet systems in slums and dense urban localities, claims that of the over 24 crore houses, only 11 crore have toilets. And of 7,935 cities, only 160 have sewage treatment plants.

In Uttar Pradesh, almost 63 per cent people still defecate in the open. The total number of households in Uttar Pradesh is 3,29,24,266. Of these only 1,17,36, 853 have toilets, and about 2,07,54,080 — which is 63.03 per cent of the total number — still defecate in the open. The percentage is higher (77.13 per cent) in rural areas against the 14.82 per cent in the cities.

Sulabh International founder Bindeshwar Pathak said that 660 million people in India still sit in the open, leading to serious health issues. It is the women who suffer the most. It is not as if constructing dry latrines in villages or in urban slums is not on the priority list of the Government.

In Uttar Pradesh, the Total Sanitation Campaign was launched in the State in collaboration with the Centre in 2002. The whole project now stinks as much as the toilets. TSC was told that 82.5 per cent households have toilets but the data collected during Census shows that just 22 per cent households have toilets. This clearly proves that the public money has been flushed away in the toilets.

The stark reality is staring us in our face. Over 60 per cent of Uttar Pradesh’s population is deprived of toilets. The TSC campaign to construct proper toilets and strengthen basic sanitation facilities will end in 2017. This means that Uttar Pradesh has got just five years to put a lid on this stinking system of open defecation. Priyanka’s bold act might spur the Government to end this menace at the earliest.

Source: http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/item/51930-the-stink-that%E2%80%99s-engulfed-up.html

Posted by & filed under Articles, In the Press, International.

VISHNUPUR KHURD (Uttar Pradesh) — Spotlessly clean and decorated with plastic flowers and balloons for its opening ceremony, Priyanka Bharti’s toilet is seen as a gleaming symbol of the empowerment of Indian women.

It has been built in the village of Vishnupur Khurd in Uttar Pradesh state due to the determination of Priyanka, a young bride who walked out of her new marital home when she was appalled to find she had to defecate in the open.

The ensuing drama soon became well-known in the area as the newlyweds’ scandalised families both tried to persuade her to return to her husband but she refused, saying the shame of squatting in the fields was too much to bear.

“I was adamant that I could not stay in a home where people might see me go to the toilet outside in an unhygienic way,” Priyanka said after the lavatory, constructed by sanitation charity Sulabh, was ceremonially unveiled last week.

“I don’t know where I got the strength,” she said. “But I come from a family with many strong women and when I moved to my husband’s house I was without my relatives and friends and I was having to adjust to a new life.”

Her firm stance paid unexpected dividends after Sulabh, one of India’s largest social organisations, heard about her protest and adopted her cause as a way to promote better public health through proper toilet facilities. It even awarded Priyanka a Rs200,000 ($3,600) prize that was presented at the official opening of the small toilet building, with the bride agreeing to move back in with her husband.

“We did not really believe the money was a true story, so we are shocked,”  said Priyanka, whose marriage was arranged when she was aged just 14, although she was not taken to her husband until April when she turned 19.

She stayed at her new home for just four days before fleeing when her family came to visit from their village 20 kilometres away. She refused to return to the marital home until the toilet was ready to use.

“My parents were apprehensive and angry but I convinced them it was what I had to do. They had a basic indoor toilet, so for me to start going outside was too difficult,” she said.

Defecating in the open is a major social issue in India, touching on topics including women’s rights, health and hygiene, and the clash between traditional and modern lifestyles. “Women will not go in the open during the day so they must visit the fields before dawn and then wait many hours again until after dusk,” Bindeshwar Pathak, who founded Sulabh in 1973, said.

“Walking barefoot in these areas is bad for catching tapeworm, bacteria and many other diseases, and is unhealthy for children who play. People used to not talk about this issue but now it is a public debate.”

Pathak, one of India’s most notable activists, has for decades campaigned for the use of simple indoor toilets and has also fought for low-caste Dalits (formerly “Untouchables”) who often clean out other people’s bucket toilets. “We gave awards to Priyanka and two other brides who refused to live with their new families due to lack of toilets,” he said. “We want them to be torchbearers whose example encourages better sanitation.”

India’s Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said recently that India “should be ashamed” that 60 to 70 per cent of women are forced to defecate in the open and he vowed further funding to tackle the problem.

However, government schemes to build new facilities are often undermined by corruption, with recent allegations that in Uttar Pradesh alone, millions of toilets meant to have been built by state authorities were never constructed. According to the 2011 census, about 131 million households in India have no latrine in their premises, with eight million using public facilities and 123 million defecating in the open.

Among those with an indoor toilet, 800,000 households use a bucket device cleaned by humans and 500,000 use containers left out for animals to eat from.

In Vishnupur Khurd, the new toilet block, with its freshly-painted yellow walls, stands out among the jumble of huts and houses made of rough bricks. Priyanka’s husband Amarjeet, 20, believes the most important thing is that his wife has at last returned to his home — though he adds he is amazed and proud that she has suddenly become the centre of a publicity campaign. “I was embarrassed when she asked ‘where is the toilet?’ and we had to tell her to go outside,” he said. “Now it is built we are going to maintain it and use it properly.

Source: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp? xfile=data/international/2012/July/international_July64.xml&section=international

Posted by & filed under Articles, In the Press, International.

VISHNUPUR KHURD: Spotlessly clean and decorated with plastic flowers and balloons for its opening ceremony, Priyanka Bharti’s toilet is seen as a gleaming symbol of the empowerment of Indian women. It has been built in the village of Vishnupur Khurd in Uttar Pradesh state due to the determination of Priyanka, a young bride who walked out of her new marital home when she was appalled to find she had to defecate in the open.

The ensuing drama soon became well-known in the area as the newlyweds’ scandalized families both tried to persuade her to return to her husband but she refused, saying the shame of squatting in the fields was too much to bear. “I was adamant that I could not stay in a home where people might see me go to the toilet outside in an unhygienic way,” Priyanka said after the lavatory, constructed by sanitation charity Sulabh, was ceremonially unveiled last week.

“I don’t know where I got the strength,” she said. “But I come from a family with many strong women and when I moved to my husband’s house I was without my relatives and friends and I was having to adjust to a new life.” Her firm stance paid unexpected dividends after Sulabh, one of India’s largest social organizations, heard about her protest and adopted her cause as a way to promote better public health through proper toilet facilities. It even awarded Priyanka a 200,000-rupee ($3,600) prize that was presented at the official opening of the small toilet building, with the bride agreeing to move back in with her husband.

“We did not really believe the money was a true story, so we are shocked,” said Priyanka, whose marriage was arranged when she was aged just 14, although she was not taken to her husband until April when she turned 19. She stayed at her new home for just four days before fleeing when her family came to visit from their village 20 kilometers away. She refused to return to the marital home until the toilet was ready to use. “My parents were apprehensive and angry but I convinced them it was what I had to do. They had a basic indoor toilet, so for me to start going outside was too difficult,” she said.

Defecating in the open is a major social issue in India, touching on topics including women’s rights, health and hygiene, and the clash between traditional and modern lifestyles. “Women will not go in the open during the day so they must visit the fields before dawn and then wait many hours again until after dusk,” Bindeshwar Pathak, who founded Sulabh in 1973, said. “Walking barefoot in these areas is bad for catching tapeworm, bacteria and many other diseases, and is unhealthy for children who play. People used to not talk about this issue but now it is a public debate.”

Pathak, one of India’s most notable activists, has for decades campaigned for the use of simple indoor toilets and has also fought for low-caste Dalits (formerly “Untouchables”) who often clean out other people’s bucket toilets. ‘Should be ashamed’-”We gave awards to Priyanka and two other brides who refused to live with their new families due to lack of toilets,” he said. “We want them to be torchbearers whose example encourages better sanitation.” India’s Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said recently that India “should be ashamed” that 60 to 70 percent of women are forced to defecate in the open and he vowed further funding to tackle the problem.

However, government schemes to build new facilities are often undermined by corruption, with recent allegations that in Uttar Pradesh alone, millions of toilets meant to have been built by state authorities were never constructed. According to the 2011 census, about 131 million households in India have no latrine in their premises, with eight million using public facilities and 123 million defecating in the open. Among those with an indoor toilet, 800,000 households use a bucket device cleaned by humans and 500,000 use containers left out for animals to eat from.

In Vishnupur Khurd, the new toilet block, with its freshly-painted yellow walls, stands out among the jumble of huts and houses made of rough bricks. The structure contains two cesspits, plus an attached storeroom and washroom as Sulabh organizers say they find that a single new toilet with a lockable door often ends up being used for storage instead. For villagers such as Kamala Wati Sharma, 45, the new building-and the cash prize-are to be admired and perhaps envied. “We have nothing in our house,” she said during a break in the day-long opening ceremonies, which included blessings, speeches and dance performances organized by Sulabh and attended by hundreds of villagers.

“It is a problem for us to go to the toilet outside in the dark,” said the mother of five. “But it costs money for something like this.” Sulabh, which has provided 1.2 million toilets to poor rural Indians, admits that the toilet built for Priyanka and her new family cost over $1,000 but says that more basic designs can be constructed for well under $30. Priyanka’s husband Amarjeet, 20, believes the most important thing is that his wife has at last returned to his home-though he adds he is amazed and proud that she has suddenly become the centre of a publicity campaign. “I was embarrassed when she asked ‘where is the toilet?’ and we had to tell her to go outside,” he said. “Now it is built we are going to maintain it and use it properly.”- AFP

Source: http://news.kuwaittimes.net/2012/07/03/brides-new-toilet-points-to-social-revolution-in-india/

Posted by & filed under Articles, In the Press, India.

A young woman, who ran away from her in-laws’ house for its lack of toilet, returned to the same house last week after her husband’s family built an ultra-modern toilet. She received a reward of Rs.2 lakh from Sulabh International. With her were two other women who too had similarly walked out from their in-laws’ houses.

Priyanka Bharti was mobbed as she arrived decked up like a bride for her ’gauna’ ceremony at her Vishnupur Khurd village in a sports utility vehicle (SUV).

Amidst blowing of conch shells and ’aarti’, tears rolled down her cheeks as she was ushered in by her in-laws and shown the new toilet and bathroom.

Later, she along with the two other ’runaway brides’ – Priyanka Kumari from Siddharthanagar and Jyoti from Sant Kabeernagar – and Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of sanitation NGO Sulabh International, took centre stage in an enclosure.

Priyanka narrated to the gathered villagers, numbering around 500, how she took the "extreme and difficult" step of walking out of her husband’s home because she was asked to defecate in the open."It was not possible for me to do so and so I ran away," she told the crowd amid applause.

A Class 12 student from Maharajganj, 365 km from Lucknow, Priyanka said the lack of a toilet in the house was "a big challenge" for her at the "sasural".

She said she mustered enough courage to run away on the third night after her ’gauna’ – the traditional induction of a bride married in childhood into her in-laws’ house.

Priyanka said ever since she ran away from Vishunpur Khurd April 13 demanding that her in-laws build a toilet to get their ’bahu’ back, her life changed as she attracted national and international attention.

"I’m happy that by the construction of a new toilet with all modern facilities, I have been reunited with my husband and can live happily," she said, as photographers jostled to take her picture with her in-laws.

Bindeshwar Pathak felicitated each of the three brides with the bank draft of Rs.2 lakh, a shawl, a saree and a rose-sandalwood garland, and said that from now on, they would "try in their own humble ways to educate women around them the need of hygiene and sanitation."

Priyanka’s husband, Amarjeet, said he appreciated what his wife did.

"All through these years I saw my sisters, my mother go out in the field every morning but it never occurred to me how shameful it was, until my wife stressed on it by running away," he said.

Pathak, while appreciating the efforts of the three women announced a reward of Rs.25 lakh for the Vishnupur Khurd village for being the promoters of communal harmony and taking lead in the battle against poor sanitation in the villages.

He said Sulabh would now undertake a new rural-centric drive "Sulabh-Gaon Ki Or."

"The award will act as an inspiration," Pathak said. He recounted that though his ancestral house in Bihar stood over several acres, it lacked a toilet, making lives of the woman folk in his family miserable.

"By revolting against non-availability of a toilet, this woman has done a revolutionary act in India where more than 660 million people still defecate in the open, leading to serious diseases," he said. – IANS

Source: http://www.theweekendleader.com/Culture/1217/a-hygienic-reunion.html

Posted by & filed under Articles, In the Press, India.

No sewerage system. Just a squatting platform connected to a covered 4-foot single pit, surrounded by three walls with no doors or ceiling. This is a toilet in Vishnupur Khurd village of Maharajganj district of Uttar Pradesh built with the incentive received under the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC).

It is not the only toilet with such a design. There are almost 50 beneficiaries who have similar unusable toilets outside their homes, built under the scheme. Earlier this year, the village administration handpicked these below-poverty-line (BPL) families and gave them Rs. 2200 under the TSC to construct toilets in their homes. The families had to add the additional amount required to build the toilet.

It is a mystery why all the families landed up with toilets of the same design when they are free to construct their own. The bottom line, however, is that majority of the family members are forced to continue to defecate in the open, despite a TSC toilet.

According to Sanandan Pandey, village pradhan Gayatri Devi’s son, there are no guidelines specifying the design or the amount to be contributed by the beneficiary. Neither Mr Pandey nor the District Panchayati Raj officer Prabhakar Singh are able to confirm if this identical toilet design is ‘approved’ by any government agency or whether there is any standardisation of the toilet design at all.

Sanitation volunteers and villagers pointed out that the biggest flaws in the design are the depth of the pit, which is very shallow, and lack of door and roof. This forces the family members to continue to defecate in the open. Sometimes families pool their own resources to build a door, while others get both a door and a roof in addition to a deeper pit. Most, however, cannot afford to make these changes and the toilet falls into disuse.

"It’s not just the depth or the absence of doors and ceiling. Many a times the lid gets damaged or stolen and this happens frequently. Arranging for a new cover is very difficult for the poor families and it takes a lot of time. This is worse than defecating in the open because the waste is lying uncovered at your backyard," says Dr Brahmanand Chaturvedi, a college Professor in Patna who is also an advisor to Sulabh International, a voluntary organisation working in the field of sanitation.

Most of the 350 families in the village do not have proper toilet facilities. The villagers put the figure of the total number of houses with proper toilets at around 8 to10. Sulabh recently constructed a modern toilet in the village in the house of Priyanka Bharti – the woman whose struggle for proper sanitation facilities at her in-laws residence was highlighted recently in the media.

Sulabh, which claims it has provided 1.2 million toilets to poor rural Indians, admits that the toilet built for Priyanka and her new family as a reward for the guts she showed, costs over $1,000 (approx Rs 55,000) but says that more basic designs can be constructed for well under $30 (approx Rs 1700). For Priyanka Bharti, the organisation constructed a toilet, a separate bathroom, a room for food grains, and another for fire wood. Sulabh recently took a group of journalists to take a look at the construction.

Both Mr Pandey and Mr Singh attribute the problem in the village to the lack of design awareness among the locals and acknowledge the incentive amount of Rs 2200 (1500 from the Centre and 700 from the State government) is too less for anyone to construct a proper toilet. Mr Pandey explains how the villagers got a raw deal as the funds were released in the month of February and in the very next month (March) the Central Government’s share was raised to Rs. 3200 and the State’s to Rs. 1400 taking the cumulative figure to Rs. 4600.

The sanitation challenges of the village, however, extend beyond the design of toilets. The villagers, albeit acknowledging the hazards of open defecation, link most of their problems to their poverty and inaction by the people’s representatives. According to Uttar Pradesh’s development projections, it was to become an open defecation free (ODF) State by the end of Eleventh Five Year Plan (March 2012), a target it has clearly missed.

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/society/article3610126.ece

Posted by & filed under Articles, In the Press, India.

Ever wondered what a museum dedicated entirely to the history of toilets would be like?

If that peculiar question ever crossed your mind-seek professional help! But if you really want to know, you can visit Sulabh in New Delhi, India or just browse this section of our website where we bring the museum onto your screens, virtually.

The Museum

Museums as repositories for the preservation and exhibition of the objects of historical, scientific and cultural interest are found all over the world. But rare are the museums that display the evolution of toilets and their various designs.

Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, the Founder of Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, a pioneering non-profit voluntary organisation (NGO) in the field of Sanitation in India, envisioned the need for the setting up of a museum of toilets in the sprawling campus of his central office at Mahavir Enclave, Palam Dabri Road in New Delhi, India and has consultative status with Economic and Social Council of the U.N.The idea engaged his mind for long, eventually leading him to make hectic worldwide search for minutest details of the evolution of toilets, as also of various toilet designs used in different countries at different points of time. Sulabh International is grateful to the professionals, embassies and high commissions in setting up this museum by furnishing information on the subject and also providing details / photographs of various toilet designs used in their respective countries.

Objectives

The Museum has been established with the following objectives :

To educate students about the historical trends in the development of toilets; To provide information to researchers about the design, materials, and technologies adopted in the past and those in use in the contemporary world;

To help policy makers to understand the efforts made by predecessors in this field throughout the world;

To help the manufacturers of toilet equipment and accessories in improving their products by functioning as a technology storehouse; and

To help sanitation experts learn from the past and solve problems in the sanitation sector.

Source: http://boldillibol.co.in/sulabh-international-museum-of-toilets/#bookmarks

Posted by & filed under Articles, In the Press, India.

A tall building with two storeys, a book by William Shakespeare, a throne and a nicely decorated vase. These are all toilets in fancy shapes at the Sulabh International Toilet Museum, located at Mahavir Enclave, Palam Dabri Road in New Delhi.

Being the only toilet museum of the world, it has a rare collection of facts, pictures and objects detailing the evolution of toilets from 2,500 BC to modern technologies from around the world. The museum has a chronology of developments relating to toilet related technology, social customs, etiquette and sanitary conditions of various eras.

One of the museum’s prize exhibits is a replica of the throne of Louis XVI of France with a concealed commode which enabled the monarch to hold court while doing his daily chores! John Harington, a court poet of Queen Elizabeth I, is credited with the invention of the first flush toilet in 1596, which, except the queen and the inventor, no third person used.

“All that is there in this museum, it is because of some importance,” says Ijaaz Khan, the caretaker. The most interesting ones are the European-style table-top, sofa-seater and book-shaped toilets. The sofa seater and table top were used to avoid inconvenience of leaving one’s work to use the toilet while the book-shaped toilet was constructed by the French to demean English books such as those of Shakespeare. Then there are pictures of urinals engraved and decorated with expensive gems in the Victorian era.

The cutest is a small toilet-shaped piggy bank from Japan which makes a flush-like sound when pulled. Set up on the campus of Sulabh International Social Service Organisation at Mahavir Enclave, the museum is the brainchild of Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, who has been working in the field of sanitation for over four decades.

Dr Pathak is known to have taken up sanitation in India. But why a toilet museum? Dr Pathak recalls when he was visiting London and was asked to go to Madame Tussaud’s. “I have been to London many times but when finally I made it to Madame Tussaud’s, it came to me to create something that will be exclusive in India. Since I have been working in the field of sanitation, a toilet museum made sense.”

“Dr Pathak mixed humour with history in building Sulabh International Toilet museum,” says Ijaaz.

The purpose of this museum is to educate students and general public about the historical trends in the development of toilets, to help sanitation experts learn from the past and solve problems in the sanitation sector and also to help manufacturers of toilet equipment and accessories improve products.

The museum also displays the toilets and sanitation practices in ancient Egypt, Babylonia, Greece, Jerusalem and Rome.

And if you thought that the museum doesn’t get its share of visitors, you couldn’t be more wrong. It keeps brimming with tourists from around the world.

This unique toilet museum is a place that showcases some interesting innovations. It also showcases society’s progress with regard to sanitation and personal needs.

Source: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/tracing-toilets/977752/0