Saturday, 6 October 2012

Everywhere is a Bathroom!

Union Ministry for Rural development, Drinking water and Sanitation, has decided to start a campaign Nirmal Bharat Yatra against open defecation with a star campaigner in tow, none other than Vidya Balan.  The campaign will transverse five states and message of hygiene will be conveyed through entertainment using celebrities, bollywood and cricket. Finally! Government has woken up to the menace of poor sanitation conditions prevailing in the country. It doesn’t only bring health hazards but also bad name to the country when one tends to project India as an international tourist destination. Barring a couple of international airports, all other upon arrival give a big jolt to the tourists and prepare them for the ultimate sanitation ordeal they are about to go through.  I wonder why only Ministry of rural development has opened its eyes to the poor sanitation conditions when urban India is reeling under equally shabby state, or even worse. Due to virtually nonexistent town planning resulting in haphazard development in most urban areas, sanitation planning is often the first causality. Add to it the migration of labour and mushrooming of illegal slum areas around the cities. Situation only goes worse. The whole campaign seems like the case of ‘too little, too late’.

                But what about our own hygiene habits and etiquettes, which surprisingly have nothing to do with education or the background a person comes from. Indian males have the unique freedom to pee anywhere and everywhere they fancy. I remember a photograph featuring a man peeing at the wall with ‘See, the dog is peeing here’, written across (though you don’t need a photograph as this a pretty common sight in India anywhere you go!). Even in well educated urban households, hardly anybody cares to wash hands before eating. In restaurants, you can see young mothers emptying their toddlers bladders in wash basins, not minding people impatiently waiting in line for their turns to wash their hands. The blessed soul who invented hand sanitizer must have been to India and stood in that line. The other day, I was taking a walk in my daughter’s tennis academy, when a young man emerged out of the gym talking over phone and spat right in front of me. Even under the surge of disgust, I couldn’t help laughing at a remark made by a foreigner many years ago that in India, everyone is doctor and everywhere is bathroom!

Picture taken


  1. great work done sis!! very well written!

  2. Campaigning for hygiene should be a follow up after having the necessary infrastructure. In the urban areas its the malls now that come to the rescue. The municipal facilities are pathetic. Better late than never, sigh...

  3. agree..the problem runs even deeper because we even don't have even necessary infrastructure. A recent study showed that many girls drop out of schools after 5th standard in semi urban and rural areas because of the lack of toilet facilities! It is grave problem if you come to think of it...

  4. I am not sure if we will see a day when we have more toilets -and clean ones at that- than mobile phones. Yet, we do believe in Gods and Goddesses, don't we? I often flinch when shaking hands with people; you never know what those fingers were up to a few seconds back!

    A well meaning piece with an excellent clip to match.