Hadwin Charlie/ A Culture Towards Sanitation: A Step to Clean India

Hadwin Charlie,

Research Scholar,

Lovely Professional University, Punjab, India.


This study probes to study who are the real sectors to pollute the country by defecation. The reasons for such pollution are also to be analyzed. Attempt is made to study to whom the media awareness promotion is targeted and whether such targeted people have any means of owning media equipment or at-least exposure to media content. If so where and to what extent?

If no washrooms where will the people go for their excretion? Media promotions are made for the use of toilets. Here the effort is put to study that if the media promotions reach the right target audience. Whether the audience has media tool appliances. And even whether they would be exposed to motivational videos. Also what big or the least change these persuasion videos can bring to these deprived people when they have no provisions of proper latrines and sewerage systems. Don’t they know by themselves to use lavatories? Do we need to teach them to use good toilets? Is it that they are using outdoor open-air toilets purposely or liking or willingly? Lot of questions arises within oneself when it comes to clean India program.

This research seeks if media promotions be effective in bringing out behavioral change among the public in using proper toilets in spite of lack of sufficient toilets equal to the speed of promotions.

Keywords:  Toilets, Public Place, Clean India Program, Behavior  change.


Good health is the best prosperity one could have on this earth. That is why it is said, “health is wealth”. Everyone wants to live a dignified life. Everyone has the right to privacy and safety as well. We all are in need. The basic needs are food, shelter and clothing. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs also emphasize  the various aspects of needs of a human being.

Not all are blessed with this privilege of right. There is a sector of people who spend their life is hardship. They have been denied of essentials because they could not financially afford to, or they have been denied by the society which includes the political set up also. The societal makeup and the government systems are far away from their reach.

Today the challenge India faces is the cleanliness crisis. The government of India has come out with “Clean India programme” targeting cleanliness; tidy and sanitation and good health and hygiene.

Promotions are also displayed on media especially telecasts on TV. The government says.’ Grow one tree per house”; the homeless say, “Give us house and we would grow tree”. The government says,” use toilets”; the poor says, “We don’t even have a house”.

In this situation, how effective is the government campaign for using toilets going to be powerful and functional, needs to be analyzed.

It bothers when political people; ambassadors and NGO’s and school and college students keep posing, seeking publicity in the name of promotion of “Clean India program” and achieving personal publicity through this and nothing serious is made in real life practice. If they are so genuine, they should have cleaned the toilets and set an example for moral leadership.

Here the problem identified is that the remedial measures have to come from the citizens and also from the government. But the major part of the remedy falls on the responsibility of government than the general public. Pollutants cause environment and surrounding unclean, unhealthy and untidy. The ways to manage human excreta is a real challenging venture which needs a serious and rigorous research. This has to be elaborately discussed.

The most uncontrollable and awkward pollutant is the human waste i.e. human excreta. This research probes to find out the reasons of open air toilets. Who causes such pollution? And the reasons for why they do it? An attempt is made to identify measures to eradicate this crisis and if media will be able to achieve its promotional concept without finding a relief aspect i.e. a solution of proper infrastructure with complete sanitation.

Parimita Routray, Wolf-Peter Schmidt, Sophie Boisson, Thomas Clasen and Marion W. Jenkins (2015)[1] has discussed that majority of their research samples are about people who defecated at the outskirts of the village. They used open field lands and bushes to stay away being seen by others. Also the water available places were used for cleansing anal after two bathrooms. They had to walk a long distance for separate locations for men and women. And finding such places were tough as the places they use is already filled with human waste being used every day. And those sites should be within the reachable range. It was a hazardous situation when both the genders have to use a common place at times of rain and floods. Even sometime they may not be able to move out of their houses as it is raining. People who are ill-health and physically handicapped suffer a lot; not able to walk to remote areas away from their living-hood. People who have dysentery and diarrhea suffer as they have to go for outlet now and then immediately and quite often with no presentations and no control on bowel moments. This is not only in rural villages but even more prominently prevailing among urban slums and road side settlers.

The crisis has not even left out educational institutions and government offices. The schools and colleges are lacking infrastructure or sufficient toilets and remain unmaintained. In many places the students especially the grownup teenage children and young-ones needed to go out behind the wall or even out of the campus for littering and motion.Least provided with water facility both boys and girls have to share a toilet that is only one available. To pity, even the teachers share the same common single toilets used by the students and the uncomfortable moment would be when men and women teachers use the same. The grownup girls feel uneasy when needed to change their napkins during mensuration periods. The doors are not proper and sometime no door at all. No mugs, no top roofs and everything remains a mess. Jun Shin Jung, Kam Ning Hui, Li Kun Man, Sophie Tan Su Fei (2003)[2] has put-forth that lack of litter bins and both lacking of toilets and lack of maintenance of the available toilets as a major factor in schools. This also surely affects the school going children resulting in huge sum of dropouts.

India is a rural country filled with villages. The total population of our country is very high out of which the major part of population belongs either to the rural community or the slums and settlements in metropolis. Being the lowest of the lowest in economic perspective they really don’t have provision for toilets and so ease themselves in and around are they live in not by willing but by force of situations. Soutik Biswas(2012)[3]  registers that more than 60% of homes in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand are still without residential toilets. Sunderarajan (2012)[4] Presents statistics that only a small percentage of huge population have toilet provisions. The remaining eases themselves in open place. He also refers that most of the households have telephone connections that includes mobile phones too, but they do not have toilets because they either cannot afford or cannot maintain it as it needs proper drainage system. This is because that even the modern means of communication system is at much affordable cost and within range and serviceable and maintainable but not the installation of toilets and ditch and drainage systems.

It is not only a degrade for the human community on psychological and sociological grounds; women especially have the insecurity of being abducted and molested by human animals who force sex on them. Many get raped and few even murdered. All these happen just because they need to go out for their daily personal routines. Ashwaq Masoodi (2015)[5] notes, that the female flock take the risks of not only putting down low their dignity but also own safety. Jayati Ramakrishnan(2015)[6] also points out, though some of the cities have installed public toilets, they are not used because of the poor or no maintenance of the same. The villagers as discussed earlier use the fields nearby to discharge their stools. So need to mind that this is not a problem of only rural citizens but also the urban unprivileged and deprived ones.

Crime rates increase day by day on women and significant ratio falls when women flock to lonely or to the outskirts not only at un-times but also at day hours. Reinforcing the same, Amarnath Tewary (2013)[7] puts forth that in Bihar the number of rape cases denotes that the crisis happen when women go out to remote places or at un-times for their urinals or to defecate. Research studies say that Bihar is the poorest of Indian state with no access to toilets and results high in rape cases for the same reason. Avantika Bhuyan (2014)[8] analyzes that crimes on females go in par with the absence of lavatories. They have to combat with two different villains. One being the nature- the darkness, long distance, no water, rain and cold, deadly insects disturbed sleeps and the other being men who are a threat of physical and in particular sexual harassment.

Shannti Dinnoo(2014)[9] refers to the fact of the WHO’s report that half a million Indian citizens keep continuing to excrete at open places, behind the bushes or wall coverings, water resources and stagnating places, and drains. This is the plight of our country at international stature.

Shalu Sharma (2015)[10] denotes that the tourists will be shocked at the manner Indian public toilets are maintained. This would surely reflect the reputation of our country as well as the incoming of foreign money. It leaves a bad connotation among foreign minds.

It is very open to see that people use train toilets even when trains are halted in the railway stations. This is because the toilets at railways stations are not cared and no proper maintenance is rendered. The same is even with the bus stops and market places. Sandeep Tanniru (2014)[11] Also emphasis that inadequacy of public toilets and poor maintenance at railway station, bus stops and market places makes the public to litter and defecate in public space making it stinky and infectious.

Michael Lloyd (2015)[12] sites a reference where the public toilet infrastructure need to be updated and that the local authorities did not respond even after making complaints. This is a very common act of the government representatives and each-one of us would have experienced alike. The officials are uncaring masters who show deaf ears to the cries and pleas of the needy-ones. They are least bothered and self-centered either to be at leisure wiling away the time or demanding monitory benefits from the petitioner. Vandana Asthana (2014)[13]reveals the truth that India holds the highest rank in open-air defecation world wide.

Julie Mccarthy (2014)[14] gives evidence of two young girls being daringly attacked. They were raped and hanged on a tree. This she correlates with the reason of lack of home toilets. All this happen because they need privacy and proper facility to perform their daily routines. But their safety is questioned.

Sometimes accompanied by another to be a security and moral support for fear of darkness, evil spirits, and attack by animals or even the bad guys. They get pierced by stones and thorns and grave cuts as they go bare footed. It is much more sober when people fall sick or ill-health, and for the kids and old people and physically disabled and mentally abnormal souls. Violence against the women flock is much. The feminine genders are attacked irrespective of their age. They become the victims of the perverted antisocial elements. Many are raped and even murdered. All their risks and sacrifices reveal that they really are in thirst for safety by all means and hygienic toilets with proper discharge drains.

They suffer of self-esteem, pride and prestige and dignity and self respect and morality and shame. They also suffer as they have to walk a long distance. With disturbed sleeps early in morning or late at nights and even at mid nights their plight is miserable. How one could even imagine of going just for defecation during rain and at times of flood? They do it and is it not life hard for them? Is it because they are in poverty? Is it their fault of being poor? Will you and I do the same as we are living in comfort zone and at a safer side of providing at-least the basic sanitary facilities? How hard is life for them? They sometimes stamp on the filth filled over there, may be bitten by deadly insects and snakes, be robbed of even the meagre things that they have left with them, need to find a place at-least little clean where they can ease with little tolerance. The bad odor and health hazard is another major factor. They also find it difficult to find a spot exclusively for their gender. Another major challenge is not to be seen by opposite gender. It’s an embarrassing situation when relatives come in and all together have to sit for the same next to another. Even the relatives hesitate to visit.


* Speedy installation of toilets more than the speed of publicity and promotions.

* If you provide the necessary infrastructure people are ready to use it without even promotions and ambassadors.


It’s very much understood that there is no need for promotions for people to go for proper toilets because they are already aware of it, only thing they need is the provision. Since they do not want to pollute the places only, they go far beyond their residential places but within their reach. And they are not to be blamed for their act. If it’s a rural area they go in to the bushes and vacant lands and fields. But when it comes to urban, they have been pushed with no choice of utilizing the living area. Instead of condemning them it’s better to build provision for them.

They know not to spoil the environment; they know the inevitability of clean toilets, but left with no options. They are from birth motivated and no one needs to inform, instruct, educate, induce, enlighten or persuade them. You give them and they will use it. They either have to carry water or use even leaves and stones to clean them up. Leaving their works or kids or older members uncared till they return is one another haphazard. They are poor enough to supply for themselves. So it is the duty of the government to supply the same. Even in educational institutions like schools and colleges owned by the government themselves are there is inadequate toilet system and that very few existing are in a tearful pathetic condition hardly to be used and in fact it is dangerous to be used. The same is the plight of almost all the government institutions and organizations.

If the government cannot maintain their own premises how can the poor common man maintain? And how can the government demand the same when it fails to perform and justify its duties and existence?

This major demand falls on government because that is what the government is meant for. More over they have the man power, the policies, the provisions, the departments and department heads, sanctioning authorities, funds, officials and ministers too. The tax is also been collected for the same. Where does the revenue go? The drainage system which runs out of the house is purely owned and belongs to the government and no common citizen is supposed to meddle with it. If such a big industry could not do anything about it how could a common man do it and what right is he got to do? It’s not the matter of poor or rich, educated or uneducated, it’s a matter of urgency. If one is in urgency he cannot do anything. All he need is the provision for clean toilets nearby his reach. That is a toilet should be for every half a kilometer. And nothing else could be more effective than installation of sanitary toilets with sufficient infrastructure. As of now, India is stinking. It’s better the world calls our country ‘land of toilet house’ than as shit India. Thus it is concluded that how much ever of media promotions are made has no influence and impact on its audience in changing their behavior of using residential or public toilets unless a serious initiative measure is made to erect and implant the same as is where a war time activity speed. When this earnest mission is accomplished then only would India be clean at least in one of its major aspects.

 Works Cited

[1] R Parimita, et al, “Socio-cultural and behavioural factors constraining latrine adoption in rural coastal Odisha: an exploratory qualitative study”, BMC Public Health 1-19(2015) Retrieved from http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/15/880 on 26.10.15.

[2] Jun Shin Jung, Kam Ning Hui, Li Kun Man, Sophie Tan Su Fei, “Toilet Cleanliness In Rgs: Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary)”, Retrieved from http://www.toilet.org.sg/articles/RGS.pdf on 26.10.15

[3] Soutik Biswas,” Is India’s lack of toilets a cultural problem?”, BBC news, 16 march 2012, Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-17377895 on 26.10.15.

[4] P. Sunderarajan, “Half of India’s homes have cell phones, but not toilets” The Hindu March 14, 2012, retrieved from http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/half-of-indias-homes-have-cellphones-but-not-toilets/article2992061.ece on 26.10.15

[5] M Ashwaq, “Lack of Toilets More Than Just a Sanitation Problem”, Livemint Jun 23 2014, Retrieved from http://www.livemint.com/Politics/hbWuOVF83Q2hRmBd07digN/Lack-of-toilets-more-than-just-a-sanitation-problem.html on 26.10.15

[6] R Jayati,” Building Restrooms for Women in Rural India: A Step in the Right Direction” International Women Initiative, September 13, 2015, Retrieved from http://www.internationalwomensinitiative.org/news/2015/9/5/building-restrooms-for-women-in-rural-india-a-step-in-the-right-direction on 26.10.15.

[7] Amarnath Tewary,” India Bihar rapes ’caused by lack of toilets’”, BBC news, 9 may 2013, retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-22460871 on 26.10.15.

[8] Avantika Bhuyan, “Women face physical and sexual violence due to lack of toilets: Ranjana Kumari”, Interview with director, centre for social research, Business Standard, June 7, 2014, Retrieved from http://www.business-standard.com/article/beyond-business/women-face-physical-and-sexual-violence-due-to-lack-of-toilets-ranjana-kumari-114060700616_1.html on 26.10.15.

[9] Shannti Dinnoo, “Why do millions of Indians defecate in the open?”, BBC news, 17 June 2014, Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-27775327 on 26.10.15.

[10] S, Shalu “how to use the Indian squat toilet”, WWW.SHALUSHARMA.COM, 3 November 2015, Retrieved from http://www.shalusharma.com/how-to-use-the-indian-squat-toilet/ on 26.10.15.

Euphemism, manual scavenging, open-discharge toilets

[11] Tanniru Sandeep, “Public toilets in Hyderabad: an audit”, Hyderabad Urban Lab, July 7, 2014, Retrieved from http://hydlab.in/blog/interns/public-toilets-in-hyderabad-an-audit/ on 26.10.15.

[12] Michael Lloyd, “Run down unhealthy public toilets”, Fixmystreet, 16 June 2015, Retrieved from https://www.fixmystreet.com/report/648670 on 26.10.15.

[13] A. Vandana “clean India” by 2019: laudable but ambitious” George Town Journal of International Affairs,4November 2014, Retrieved from http://journal.georgetown.edu/clean-india-by-2019-laudable-but-ambitious/ on 26.10.15.

[14] M.ulie, “How a lack of toilets puts India’s women at risk of assault”, National public Radio, 09 June 2014, Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2014/06/09/319529037/indias-rape-uproar-ignites-demand-to-end-open-defecation on 26.10.15.

[15] Habib Beary,“Bangalore’s ‘night soil’ collectors”, BBC news, 2 September, 2002, Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/2231011.stm on 26.10.15.

[16] Rajesh Joshi,”India toilet cleaner’s stage protest over conditions”, BBC news, 1 November 2010, Retrived from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-11667355 on 26.10.15.

Drop your message here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s