28 Feb Indian brides herald a toilet revolution
PovertyMatters Blog, Guardian.co.uk
If you don’t have a toilet at home, you might not get a bride in India. In a silent revolution of sorts, Indian women across the country, especially in rural and semi-urban areas, have a single condition before they agree to a match – the groom must have a toilet in his home.
The “No Toilet, No Bride” campaign, initiated by the government, is co-opting young women to bring in much-needed social change. Across the country, more people have access to mobile phones than to toilets.
Ranjana Kumari, director of Centre for Social Research, one of the NGOs involved in the campaign, says it has succeeded in certain areas. “Lack of basic hygiene at present is very much a marginalised farmer’s practice,” she says. “There are affluent communities with land and concrete houses who are now building toilets.”
For the campaign to sustain itself in the long run, villages need to be have the appropriate resources. “The campaign cannot work properly unless there is a proper drainage system or a soak pit is created,” says Kumari. “And it is difficult to create such networks in villages. You need to have technology to back it. When you want to do these things, the whole plan has to be transferred comprehensively to the villages.”