#Toilet for Babli

November 18, 2014 6 Comments

Happy Hours
I was woken up by the screaming sound of "cha -cha" sound of tea vendors at the Railway station. I tilted my head to read the station name. It was Agra and I was told that the train would be halting there for another 10 minutes. I could not cease my enthusiasm to step down and have a walk at the land of  the famous "Taj Mahal". 

As I got down from the 1st class compartment of my train, to have a fresh breath of the morning breeze, a very strange smell spoiled my fantasy. I moved further to found that it was the bad odor of the human defecation on the railway track. The sight was ugly and I was about to vomit. Good sense prevailed me and I rushed back to get inside my train compartment, however dingy it was. Open defecation on Railway tracks? Isn't it written on every toilet that please do not use "Latrine" while train is at station? How can be people so careless that they could not read and follow such simple, logical instruction? Or is it illiteracy that prevents people from following these instructions? Well my about to form notion got terribly blocked when I saw an affluent looking, educated person coming out from toilet towards the wash basin, proudly boasting his achievement to his fellow friend that how "early morning ablution saves him a good mood and the space for famous savories sold at nearing railway station". You got it, I was disgusted to the core.

I headed back to seat and could not stop wondering how we Indians have made our country and it's railway tracks an open toilet from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Just Railway tracks? well no. It was entire length and breadth of country that is turned in to an open Toilet by it's native- We The people. we the Ugly Indians.

It was a beautiful morning I woke up to. And if the bad track experience at Agra station was not sufficient, the country roads spoiled my entire idea of a good morning with sights of people defecating in open, sometimes quite close to the railway track leaving their treasures behind. The sight not just filled my heart with disgust and nausea, it also made we wonder that given the population of country and high turn around ratio of population defecating in open, where does it leave further spaces for them to defecate on the perpetual basis?

I mean is there a certain allocation that "This area is reserved only for Madho and his family to defecate" or this area is allocated only for X no of defecation in a particular day, by particular age or gender? or is there also any "ladies only" area reserved for the female population who need to defecate in open?

Human Dignity, Sanity, Sanitary and Open defecation
It is 21st century and even though the bicentennial men had reached moon, a lot of them still goes to open fields, meadows, nearby railway tracks, bushes to answer one of the very basic requirement- Call of the nature.

Really? What makes open defecation that popular that still a large chunk of population say around 597 million people are defecating in the open? Is this a mere mindset, lack of awareness or actually a reflection on lack of sanitation facilities? 

And not just men, even women and children are impacted by this lack of sanitation facilities and made to defecate in open. If you think, what the heck? They must be brought up to this living and would be used to it? Hmmm picture this. One fine morning you wake up from your bed and open your house door to find yourself greeted with harsh smell of urination and piles of human waste welcoming you to begin your day. Would you turn Dr Sheldon Cooper and say- "Ah that's my spot" and go la la la squatting there and fulfilling your own nature's call? Sounds disgusting? Well what if you are a woman yourself and imagine while all these is happening, you are also going through your "monthly cycle" and made to use a torn cloth and answer your "nature's call" at the "public". What if you become victim of diarrhea or loose motion and have to frequent toilet [in this case open toilet]?

Heart filled with disgust? Well mine is indeed. And while I am writing this during a fine morning of my day, I am pretty unsure that I would not be able to consume any food today at the mere thought of it. 

Since we are there, let me made it even more disgusting for you. No I am not sadist but I am disappointed with the fact [rather realization] that how the more fortunate lot like you and I who are not just blessed with knowledge but also means for good sanitation facilities and sufficient economic resources but still we do not time or sensibilities to understand and address this trauma of fellow human [women and girl child] who may need our help? No I have nothing against man folklore but I would like to concentrate this post for women and in particular girl child. Let us take an example of Babli [ hypothetical? well not exactly].

Women and the trauma of Open defecation
You know I am very scared to use public or common toilets including one in my office, posh malls, neighborhood, airports, flights and even Trains. From a girl, a woman's point of view, I strongly believe that we are at such a sorry state of hygiene. While a large proportion of population is struggling to have even public toilets for defecation, the same population and other portion of the population is struggling for "presence of hygiene in public toilets". Especially disabled, menstruating women and budding children. Imagine you have to lower your guards and pull up your dresses and sit at the open field and fulfill one of the most private act in open view of many or any?

Babli too feels the same. Last year, she lost her best friend Chintu to mortality caused by lack of sanitation facility and diseases caused owing to open defecation. It is not just Chintu and babli but more than half of Indian children faces a serious health threat related to not just mal-nutrition but lack of poor sanitation.

Toilet for Babli
It is high time that we wake up to this issue and help several children access their right to a healthy world and healthy life. If actress Vidya Balan and her "Jaha soch waha Sochalaya" campaign on TV has not caught your fancy yet, I would request you to take a moment of your time and think about Babli who wastes a vital part of her childhood searching a suitable place to not just defecate but defecate with dignity. Think through.

The Domex Initiative
I have recently learnt about the initiatve taken by Domex. Domex Toilet Academy or DTA program was launched in 2013 November and aims to become sustainable and long term solution to provide sanitation that benefits the local community and help stimulate the local economy. You can find more details at their website here. 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.

Well I am among the 462112 to have clicked and marked my contribution [a step in the direction] and now waiting for more and more clicks to happen there.

You my friend can ring change indeed. So let us come forth and show our support for every Chintu, Ramu, Shymala, Gauri and Babli! Let's join this motion [ no matter from wherever that is coming] and contribute towards it in all that ways we can.

The autor is half Human, half machine. Go Figure or just revel in what I write


  1. Big population has a lot to do with it. Lack of facilities is also contributory. Good to have brought this up as a social cause. Great write Ekta!


    1. Thanks Kaykuala. Hope you have clicked for your contribution. If not please do that. It is free and takes less than a minute :)

  2. Clicked for contribution :)


Hi Folks,

You heard me...now its time for Bouquets and Brickbats!

My Social Media Channels