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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Toilet for Babli



About 6 years ago, in the summer of 2008, I was travelling with an American in Chennai. We were proceeding towards Mahabalipuram and for a while there was complete silence in the car. He broke the silence and to my surprise asked me what one thing I would do if I were the prime minister or president of India. Frankly the question came unexpected and my mind was searching for an answer. Lot of ideas came to my mind, and then I zeroed in one .... I will ensure a roof for every Indian. He said it was a noble idea but considering the expense involved that may never happen and there is something which is more Urgent and easier to achieve.

It was my turn to probe and I asked him the same question and pat came the reply "I would do whatever it takes to stop people from using the open space as toilet. Needless to say, I was taken aback, I knew it was true but couldn't accept the statement when it came from a foreigner. I recovered my thoughts and told him that it was truly noble, probably toilet is more important than a roof over the head. I explained that homelessness is the main problem and many who have a roof still do not have a toilet in the house. If it was tough for a man, imagine the state of woman.

The conversation continued while the driver was busy driving us towards Mahabalipuram. Suddenly he shouted "Look there" and on the side of the highway we saw a man parked his scooter on the side and defacating in the open. My friend continued, awareness is also important and People should not want to do it in the open. Unless that happens, toilets even if built, will remain under-utilized. Yes, I agree, we should do whatever it takes, be it building more toilets, Heavy fines for the people who defacate public space or a combination of both, we should hold a stick and a carrot to ensure the practice stops.

Now fast forward to 2014. Neither of us could become the Prime Minister of India but we have elected a Prime Minister who is not ashamed to talk about it openly. What better way to increase the awareness than discussing it openly. He views are supported by many corporates and leaders whom people consider as role models in making this dream a reality. I am now confident when I meet my friend next time, I should be able to say "It no longer happens in India".

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.

This blog was written for indiblogger contest "Toilet for Babli".

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