Few years ago I lived a hard life. A house with one room and a bathroom with curtains. But no toilets. I was a little girl then. I had no qualms about sitting behind a mango tree for the regular morning chores except I used to run away every time I saw a snake hanging in the tree. Thinking of it now, I seriously wonder how did my parents survive that phase especially my mother. Had she been alive today, I would have definitely questioned about her dignity and other issues. But now I am on my own to discover some answers. So I decided to go on an educational trip in and around my area in the morning to get some real answers.
I must say, and very proud that Manipal is a place where I hardly see people defecating in the public. Mostly people are educated here and might not be extremely rich but financially stable enough to have toilets. And then there are public toilets. But still this problem exists in my city for immigrants. Because of the high paid pages, lots and lots of farmers and coolie workers come to Manipal in search of food, shelter and clothing. These immigrants are spread throughout Manipal and Udupi but are mostly inhabiting in a place called Beedangudde. This is a place which we people avoid the most considering bad smell and lack of hygiene. I wouldn’t mind going there riding my scooty but never by walk. This is the only place where I see small kids defecating near road side. They don’t have any bathrooms or toilets. They are living in tents. Tents smaller than travel tents. And not one person but a whole family stays there. Today morning when I rode over that area I observed certain things closely. Their clothes were filthy, they looked ill and yes, hygiene is a word which prefers to stay away from them. So what do they do for taking bath? Looks like they hardly take one. But what about defecating. Now that is something people can’t control. So, yes having no choice and they are forced to defecate in the public or may be back side of their tents. It is giving me goosebumps even while writing this. How difficult it must be for them to live like that? Our local government has taken initiate to clean the near by area to build a new auditorium. I wish they had built some toilets for these people. Then no Babli or Kamla would fall sick.
Yes, we all have learnt in our schools how important it is to maintain good hygiene. Polio, Giardiasis, Hepatitis A, Diarrhea, Cholera are often caused by defecating in public and not so surprisingly, children below the age of five are higher in number suffering from these. Defecation contaminates water, soil and land. So its effects might lower in few days but its side effects are going to last longer than we imagine. Apart from health, there is one more major concern that is a woman’s respect, her dignity. India is a country where women are taunted even an inch of her body is shown (especially in the rural areas) and imagine her plight when she has to defecate in the public. As a woman I wonder, could there be anything more traumatizing and humiliating for a woman?
Well, these people do not defecate in the public due to habit. Obviously it is because of lack of money and hence unable to have their own toilets. May be it is government’s duty to do something about this major issue India is facing. But can we leave everything up to the government? Can we do something about it? Yes we can in our own small way after all every tiny bit counts at the end.
Domex has taken an initiative. http://www.domex.in/
You can bring about the change in the lives of millions of kids, thereby showing your support for the Domex Initiative. All you need to do is “click” on the “Contribute Tab” on www.domex.in and Domex will contribute Rs.5 on your behalf to eradicate open defecation, thereby helping kids like Babli live a dignified life.
So guys, do not wait, do not hesitate. All you need to do is click and spread the word. So that people do not have to defecate in the public. Thank you !!!!