Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bharat ek Shauch, No More.

 When Shakespeare said ‘all the world’s a stage’, he’d obviously not visited India where the world’s an open air urinal. Strangely, for a country that’s a great believer of covering up its women and misdeeds with a shroud of righteousness, and frowns upon open display of love especially when it’s not approved by parents, we don’t even lift an eyebrow at the sight of bare bottoms along railway tracks. Every open-field, barren stretch, dimly lit by-lane and brick on the wall is opportunity knocking against bursting bladders and aching stomachs, beckoning them to to come and relieve themselves of all their tensions. This special indignity is reserved for our poor who are only treated as humans when elections are round the corner.

It helps that we have more temples than toilets and the few public toilets that we do have are a playground for germs and diseases. Only someone with a death wish will dare use it.

At a time when India was smoothly transitioning from Bharat ek Soch to Bharat ek Shouch, our newly elected PM, Narendra Modi decided to play the party pooper with his clarion call for separate toilets for boys and girls in schools across the country. Now, these are not private schools that urban folks send their children to but the ones where kids die after having mid-day meals. But, if they are lucky to end up with just loose motions, Modi jee will make sure, they’ll not have to run out their Math class and out of their school in search of the nearest field to relieve themselves of their agony.

Mr Modi’s belief that his dream of ‘Swachh Bharat’ will help girls participate in education for a longer period of time and play a larger economic role has been strongly condemned by Khaps who make no distinction between women and buffaloes. Rahul Gandhi, the greatest champion of women’s empowerment has yet to come to terms that his signature theme is being taken away from right under his nose.

True to our Indian ethos that comes up with 10 different different problems for every solution, a tussle has erupted between the Drinking Water & Sanitation Ministry and the Human Resource Development Ministry over who will fund the construction in state-run schools. The government doesn’t have a Corporate Social Irresponsibility fund to draw on. They may approach the Finance Ministry to introduce a cess for tax payers. The DW&S Ministry has humbly approached Ajit Peewar, Maharashtra’s State deputy chief minister, to fill water tanks and not dams with his honourable urine.


Thankfully, Narendra Modi’s Pee for Progress has triggered a loo-natic rush by corporates for toilet building. Everyone from Bharti, HUL, Aditya Birla Group, ITC, Adani and Dabur are eager to bring Modi’s sanitation dreams to fruition. TCS, India's largest software services firm, said it will spend Rs 100 crore building sanitation facilities for girl students in 10,000 schools.

These toilets will catapult our police force and investigating agencies into a state of such heightened accountability that they will not only file FIRs when a woman is molested, but seek out the culprits from every nook and corner and mete out exemplary punishment. Senior politicians will no longer say “ Ladko se galti ho jati hai. Kya rape case mein phansi di jayegi?” Girls and women all over the country will see a Swachh Bharat that treats its women with dignity and lets them step out of their homes to build a new world without fear stalking their minds. 

If only. 






58 comments:

  1. It's truly Sad that in a country that believes in keeping its women closeted indoors has no facilities for its women to even pee in privacy with some dignity.
    On the other hand I get totally miffed by the total lack of "modesty" most men show when they pee on Public walls in front of half the world. If us women can control themselves till they reach home, should I just assume Indian men and born with no bladder control? I hope these new initiative works but yourlast line sums up the situation very succinctly – “If Only!”

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    1. I think it's a macho thing to do - spraying the walls with your watery discharge while the women who pass you by crinkle their nose in disgust.

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  2. NaMo's vision is indeed Pee-cture perfect! Hopefully the next step would be to build more loos everywhere. If you are traveling along a highway, (read: most highways, main roads, public places) you cannot find good usable toilets even for kids, much less for your own use. If you do find one at tiny roadside eateries, where you need to do a major search operation to find one, or at petrol pumps, they are at best unhygienic and smelly and at worst shady and suspicious. You use them only when your bladder is so full you can't contain it. Modi ji, hope you are hearing our des-pee-rate plea!

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    1. I may hate Mcdonalds and everything it stands for but when I'm travelling long distance, I look out for them for the clean toilets in their premises.

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  3. Enough jingoism and little action has been the bane of our country! We have an excuse for non performance each time! Hope something happens for better, Purba as enough of false promises have taken us where we are now :(

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    1. Corporates are falling over each other to build toilets because this helps them unburden themselves of their CSR. Hopefully, this will not be a one time measure and corporates will make sure that the facilities are well-maintained and usable over the long run.

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  4. Now I only have one wish - that Mr. Modi is as good a promise keeper as he is an orater. 1.3 billion people will become his bhakts!!

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    1. Years of being disappointed and taken for a ride by false-assurances has taught us not to take anything by face value.

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  5. The issue is important and the lack of such basic amenities is a matter of national shame, but to make that the central theme for August 15 speech, was a little too much, in my opinion. I would like to see how much he follows up with this by next year.

    The mid-day meal jibe was scathing! Classic. I don't know if building toilets would be a big step in solving women's issues but lets hope it is!

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    1. It has to be a team effort. But UNESCO studies do suggest that African nations that provided toilet facilities in schools did progress more than others.

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  6. Truly the national need of the hour...the basic amenity of a clean & safe toilet in every home, every school, every village and city, in all public places. Badaun should never repeat itself, ever.

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    1. Look what CBI is doing with the investigations - shameful!

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  7. Each sentence is hitting the nail harder home. Brilliantly written ! Bharat ek Shauch indeed. I cringe every time I see the sight and I was really glad of the speech. I just hope he's able to walk his talk.

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    1. Fingers crossed. At least he's saying the right things.

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  8. Our country is literally a garbage dump. This is a slap on the face for the us.

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    1. We can also do our bit by dumping wrappers and bottles only in garbage bins and take them home with us if can't find any.

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  9. I have seen all kinds of bums & asses doing their things early morning on my project field work, which are almost always located in rural areas. Best was haryana women on ghunghat baring their bums....seriously, it is a very tragic issue that our country cannot provide safe, hygienic toilets to our girls n women!!

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    1. I do hope people take his call for Swachh Bharat seriously. India does need cleaning up. So, let's start with toilets.

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  10. Replies
    1. If toilet building is the first step to nation building, why not!

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  11. Haha ' honourable urine '.And Purba your play with words reminds me of Bachhi K.

    But jokes apart,it is a huge shame that in 68 years we have not been able to provide sewage and toilets in our villages and slum areas.

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    1. A colossal shame indeed,Indu.

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  12. Maybe Acche din ki shuruvaat ho gayi. And like every din. ....the first thing you should do is pee n poop. Modi is following that line of progress.
    I wonder where we are headed to as a country.

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    1. I quite liked his idea of Swachh Bharat. He made pertinent points in his Independence Day speech. Only time will tell if he really meant it.

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  13. I indeed liked Modi's Independence Day speech! He made some practical points. During his swear - in ceremony he said he will present a report card after 5 years showing definite measurable positive changes! I am hoping for that! About using every wall as their own toilet, I think Indian men just plain like doing it in Public view. I have seen people peeing on the walls of pay-and-use toilets while it costs only 50 paisa to go in!

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    1. Why shouldn't our elected present their performance report at the end of the term? After all, they were elected to serve the nation and not lord over us!

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  14. I live in a city which has one thing to boast of cleaner toilets. Yes, I have surveyed public toilets from various parts of India. But people have to relieve themselves in open. It gives them kick. Our entire outlook needs to change.

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    1. Like it is a macho thing to do. *Shudder*

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  15. True,its a sorry state of affairs.But,we should appreciate that present Govt has taken an initiative.Lets hope,over a period of time India will have enough toilets for school children..
    What worries me is........Jibes being taken at the Govt while forgetting Montak Singh built toilet fro himself in Planning Commission office spending Rs 35 Lakhs..

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    1. I never said I'm against the move :-)

      It's a well-documented fact that toilets for primary schools encourages girls to go to schools which in turn helps in economic growth.

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  16. I actually quite liked the spotlight he has placed on this urgent issue, shameful as it is. I just hope, it will not remain only on paper and in air but will translate into action on the ground. It is dismal that we have not been able to provide the most basic of dignities to humans in this country. Well said. Loved the post title too.

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    1. Toilets will be built, of that I'm sure. But whether this do-goodery will sustain for long, only time will tell.

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  17. Like you said If only...But yes I like the fact that he is insisting on it..But yes how much of it transcends into reality ...well God only knows!

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  18. Nice article. Did not understand are you for or against the idea?

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  19. We Indians don't talk about sex but sex crimes take prime spot in crime stats. Likewise, we simply pretend that the problem of sanitation does not exist, at least for the poor with the result that our soch has been turned into shauch -- confronting us everywhere. The rush by corporates to build toilets is a welcome change from their beautifying bus shelters (behind which someone is peeing) and greening road dividers. "If only", as you have wistfully concluded your post.

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    1. And you summarized my entire post so neatly :-)

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  20. "if only" each one of us is willing to live like a humane being and to treat everyone else as a humane being.

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    1. We need to get out of the Mera kya, mujhe kya mindset.

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  21. Politics apart, first time ever the Indian government has raised this issue of toilets in every village & school. It would be a day of awakening if this comes true!

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    1. Yes, and I laud him for taking up this issue.

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  22. well, I'm glad if his speech could bring about a true change! A concrete one like a concrete-built toilet?! I'll take it!!

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  23. So tart and to the point!!
    Hope things change in the country for the better.

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  24. usually i have a lot to write, as you know and actually i do have a lot to write with a lot of experience of every Minister - PM and every tom dick and harry Saying a lot of what needs to be done, this or that .. BUT what actually happens is something very different . .

    so all i will say is LETS see what happens ... in 5 to 6 years time if a new govt comes to power we are sure to read how a fraud happened in the buying of the loo's and taps etc etc .. maybe I am a sad OLD MAN now .. but experience teaches a LOT ..

    I still managed to write a lot :) cant help it he he he he

    Bikram's

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  25. Let's hope words are translated into actions. It's the need of the hour for the country. Hope Modi's words bring the desired change coz India deserves better in terms of amenities, hygienic facilities for men and women.

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  26. If only...I wish too...
    Modi is good with speeches....atleast this PM speaks....will see if he performs too...figures crossed....
    Swachh Bharat is probably easier than Safe Bharat....esp for women....don't know when our minds will be cleaned...

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    1. Swachh Bharat is the first step towards providing dignity to our women.

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  27. So well said. I sometimes think that in India, our bowels pass through our brains. Soch and Shauch can actually be used interchangeably.
    Loved the puns in this one!

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    1. I'm dying to get back to my stack of newspapers and shrieking news-channels that do a world of good to my sarcasm.

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  28. I'm all in for Sulabh Shauchalaya International taking up the mighty task, rather than any TCS or Birlas getting into a commoners pants. More than building them up, their maintenance is very necessary.

    How about this: Youtube - The pissing tanker?

    Regards,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    1. and what was that quote "shauch(soch) badi honi chahiye... yada yada"

      Oops ;-)

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  29. potty humor..

    (unsure if my prev comment went thru)

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  30. I didn't see any. Sorry about that.

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