Mohan wakes up every morning before the roosters start crowing and goes to the spot where they meet daily. He starts flashing lights as a sign of calling everyone and after everyone’s attendance is marked, they start walking. They need to hurry up and get done with this before dawn.
Before the day breaks completely, people across Jaipur and other parts of India start with their daily missions. They carry lotas and continue to perform the ritual of defecating openly. This is the time when they talk about lives but never question their routine or reality. Defecating in open does not only mean polluting the environment, but is one of the easiest ways of getting infected.
According to Swachhta Status Report in 2015, more than half of the population i.e., 52.1 % of the country still defecates in open. However since 2014, the BJP government has managed to create 3, 37,679 individual toilets and 1, 28,946 community or public toilets. Rajasthan itself has witnessed establishment of 86,895 individual toilets and 3558 public toilets. Out of this, our pink city, Jaipur, still stands at 29th position among the other states in terms of cleanliness. It scares to visualize the condition prior to these developments.
Even though, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan aims to end the health and sanitation problems by 2nd October 2019, there’s another significant issue that needs to be addressed on an urgent basis. Jaipur has numerous ‘open toilets’ situated on the main roads which serve as a platform for men (as for a women to defecate in front of everyone isn’t morally correct as per the society norms). There are all sorts of disposals near these areas which add to the smell of toilets.
The problem lies within people as well. Despite public buildings and few public toilets, people tend to urinate openly. It’s like when you know Ram Rahim is a rapist but your religious beliefs are too strong to let you use your conscience. Even though people are aware of the availability of certain number of washrooms, they prefer to avoid using one. This includes literate community as well. There are specific members of our society (most being men) that do not hesitate in performing the sin despite their knowledge and awareness. The society has been taking the issue very lightly and hasn’t been realizing the vicious circle of uncleanliness surroundings and crimes this menace has generated. It has been there since ages. Now is the hour to take actions as we cannot afford another Sushila or Sushma to fear getting raped or photographed without clothes on, early in the morning.
We surely need education, rigid rules and self-consciousness. Furthermore, rather than blaming people and being a pessimist, individuals should stop others performing such deeds as its high time the city needs change.
Let’s not confuse ourselves; every one of us has to raise voice against it so that the battle can be won.