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Indian villagers worship newly built toilets instead of using them

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims 100% success in eradication of open defecation under Sawach Bharat (Clean India) campaign. Against a target of about six million toilets in rural areas, he claims construction of about nine million in one year. The irony is, rural people in the country are worshiping these newly constructed toilets instead of using them.
One of such auspicious moments was captured on camera somewhere in India, which explains just why building millions of toilets in India can not eliminate practice of open defecation.

At one of such homes in poverty stricken rural India, residents inaugurated a newly built toilet by performing proper pooja (worship or ritual performance). The toilet seat and floor of toilet was covered with flowers, while coconut and bananas were offered to the God of toilets (if something like that exists).
A plate was placed at ground, in front of the toilet filled with a cup of sindoor (vermilion), an essential part of most of Indian religious ceremonies, and a glass full of milk as another offering. The toilet, that is nothing more than a latrine-seat, covered with discarded empty rice and wheat sacks, is decorated with garlands and mango leaves. A green ribbon waited arrival of a lucky one who was scheduled to inaugurate the toilet.
Most likely, this toilet, like millions of others which were built during the period of last 12 months, will not be used. It’s a reality and a huge obstacle for Clean India Campaign that despite availability of toilets, people, especially males, prefer to defecate in open. West mocks at India’s obsession for worshiping cows, stones and pervert self-claimed godmen, such as Assaram Bapu, who serves a prison term for rape of a minor girl studying in one of his schools. So, toilet worship shouldn’t be a surprise in rural regions where people have never seen one.
In rural India a facility like a toilet is an alien privilege. People in rural India still believe it’s an unhygienic and unholy practice to have a toilet within house premises, many others don’t know how to use and why to use toilets. A web of other cast and culture-based issues are also responsible for such attitude of people.
The government definitely needs to carry out aggressive awareness campaigns to convince them to use toilets and give up practice of unhygienic open defecation that is responsible for death of 600,000 people annually. About 620 million people defecate in open in the country. A survey conducted by the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics Sanitation Quality, Use, Access and Trends shows that out of interviewed 22,000 people in five Indian states, 40 percent of households with a working latrine have at least one member who still defecate in the open.
Another study by the BMC Public Health states,
“Strongly ingrained beliefs around impurity and pollution and the required rituals for purification and cleansing post-defecation in Indian society may play a big part in the choice to continue defecating in the open”.
Government claims of 100 percent success in building separate toilets for boys and girls in every school in India seem false. The government is only focusing on haphazard construction of toilets, and ignoring the need for educating or training people to use these toilets.
Image: Imgur

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