Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I-day, tatti, & Mamata didi

This is classic…. So there’s a long online article about a writer’s view that on this Independence Day India should do something about its distinct lack of toilets in the country
http://zeenews.india.com/blog/29/blog857.html

*The writer starts out rather innocently:
“Every morning Mamata didi (I call her didi), who washes dishes at my place, picks up a canister of water and heads to a nearby meadow to attend nature’s call. No, no, I am not reciting any story but, this is a stark truth that she told me a few days back. Out of oddity, I further asked her as to why does she defecate in the open? To which she giggled and humbly replied that she does not have a toilet at her house. It was eccentric for me as she has been dwelling and working in India’s capital for over fifteen years now, but still does not have a toilet in her house.”

*From this she goes on to speak of some startling facts:
“A report by the WHO and the UNICEF that showed India in a poor light says that India has a shocking number of 58% of all people who defecate in the open. China and Indonesia share the second place with just 5% of their population not having toilets. Pakistan and Ethiopia are third with 4.5% such people.”

*And then spends the balance of the next page talking about the social and health impacts:
“…when this waste flows down to rivers and lakes during the time of rains, the urban India receives the same contaminated water. Now, this contaminated water spreads various water borne diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera”

*She tries to then end this piece on a positive note:
“Sikkim has become the first ‘Nirmal Rajya’, i.e.100 percent open defecation-free state in the country with Kerala and Himachal Pradesh following the same footsteps.”

*And concludes with the patriotic:
“So, this Independence Day, let us be free from the shackles of our ‘old and burdened’ habits and make India a heaven where every child and adult is ‘healthy’."

…after all this I cracked up when I read the first comment to this impassioned article. I was expecting someone to write about how the writer was correct in putting a spotlight on this important issue or better yet some well thought-out rant against the government, instead I got this from a reader named Jason in Punjab

“how about letting Mamata didi use your toilet?”

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