By Amrtha KasturiRangan, Arghyam
Imagine your house didn’t have a toilet. Now, imagine all the houses near yours didn’t have one either. You were all forced, day after day, to run out when nature called, find a bush that fit your dimensions and do your business. All the while taking care to not sit on your neighbour’s pile. Now imagine your government decides to build you all free toilets.
This is the first time you are coming upon this wonderful structure. This magnificent invention that gives you the freedom to empty your bowels whenever you want. Heck, you could even throw in a cigarette and a newspaper while you are in there.
Let me stop and ask the two most obvious questions that arise in this scenario:
- What! Who doesn’t have toilets?
- Why is the government involved? Why aren’t the people constructing toilets themselves?
Answering these questions:
- Most of rural india – 70% according to the 2011 Census doesn’t have toilets
- The government has been building toilets since 1986 – it has spent several crores and built several lakh toilets. Yet, close to 3 decades after it began only 30% people have toilets.
Puzzling isn’t it? Population growth, graft and poor construction have all contributed to this poor reach. The largest contributor is the absolute unwillingness of people to go in, and shut the door behind themselves. They do not understand why toilets are magnificent. So, they do not demand accountability or ask for the latest fittings.
Read the entire article (originally published on Amrtha’s personal blog) here.