Pathak offers Rs. 2 lakh each to newlywed Gorakhpur brides who revolted against lack of toilets
OT, June 29, 2012 04:08 IST
Taking forward its crusade against open air defecation, NGO Sulabh International, pioneer of low-cost sanitation, has awarded Rs 2 lakh each to three brides who revolted against absence of toilets in their in-law place.
At a function, intended to send a strong message to the masses, Sulabh founder Dr Bindeshwar Pathak gave away the awards in Vishnupur village, about 30 km away from Gorakhpur in eastern Utter Pradesh.
Sulabh has also constructed modern toilets for them.
Launching a powerful campaign Sulabh Towards Villages, Dr Pathak took the opportunity to announce an intensive campaign for total sanitation in rural India. Sulabh stumbled upon an innovative idea earlier this year when it rewarded a runaway bride in Madhya Pradesh who made news by protesting strongly against lack of toilet at her in-law place.
Here, in eastern UP, Dr Pathak honoured three newlywed brides including a plus 2 student, Priyanka Bharti of Kanchanpur Kuiya village, who had refused to stay in her in-law place barely within three days of her "Gauna" (second marriage) strongly objecting to the absence of a proper toilet in the house.
The newly-wed Schedule Caste woman, who ran away from her in-law place in Maharanjganj district in Uttar Pradesh, not only got a cash reward of Rs. 2 lakh, but also an ultra modern toilet.
So strong was her determination, that despite repeated requests by her husband and father-in-law, she vowed not to return till a decent toilet was constructed. Hailing her as a revolutionary of a different kind, Sulabh saluted her “bold stand on cleanliness and hygiene”.
Dr Pathak said: “The award will act as an inspiration for others to follow.”
“They have acted as an inspiration for others to follow in the country, where more than half of its population still defecates in the open. By revolting against non-availability of toilet, this rural woman has done a revolutionary act in India where more than 660 million people still defecate in the open, leading to serious diseases,” said Dr Pathak.
A few months ago, Anita, a tribal bride of Madhya Pradesh had done similar act and was even invited by President Pratibha Patil and Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh, who honoured her for her boldness for a social cause.
Priyanka Bharti was married to Amarjeet Kumar of Bishnupur Khurd under Partabal Block of the same district on May 2, 2007. But for the first time she visited her in laws only after "Gauna" (second marriage) on April 13 last. But soon she ran away from there due to lack of toilet facility inside in-laws' house.
“I was forced to go for open defecation so I decided to return to my father's house. I'll not go there until they construct a toilet,” she said, recalling the humiliation she faced.
On coming to know about the incident, the Sulabh Founder acted swiftly and announced to construct toilet facility within a fortnight besides giving a cash award of Rs 2 lakh for her bold decision. Another two newlywed brides Kumari Joyoti and Kumar Priyanka also took similar stands to revolt against in-laws for lack of toilets. Both have also been awarded with a cash reward of Rs. 2 lakh each plus toilet at their respective in-law places. Priyanka Kumari of Khushinager district even attempted to suicide when her in-law forced her for open defecation. Fortunately she survived. Kumar Joyoti of Siddharth Nagar district also fled away from her Sasural revolting lack of toilet there.
Dr Pathak said such cases would give a fillip to his ongoing Sulabh movement in the country. According to Dr Pathak, lack of proper sanitation facilities in most parts of rural areas in India was still a grave problem, particularly for women.
“Women suffer the most. They suffer silently. They have to wait patiently for darkness for the sake of privacy while attending to the call of nature. They go before sunrise or after nightfall to avoid being seen. The chronic shortage of proper plumbing is ironic in a country that has more mobile phones than toilets,” Dr Pathak lamented.
Since he established the Sulabh Sanitation Movement around four decades ago, Dr Pathak has worked tirelessly to change social attitudes toward traditional unsanitary latrine practices in slums, rural villages, and dense urban districts, and developed cost effective toilet systems that have improved daily life and health for millions of people. Sulabh toilets are being used by 1 .5 crore Indian every day.
He has also waged a campaign to abolish the traditional practice of manual “scavenging” of human waste from bucket latrines in India while championing the rights of former scavengers and their families to economic opportunity, decent standards of living and social dignity. Sulabh has so far built toilets for 11 million people in India. It is assisting in the humble mission in some other countries as well.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Okhla Times.
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