If you thought your demands from your brothers on Raksha Bandhan were innovative, well, women from the Jashpur district in North Chhattisgarh just reinvented the idea of a gift on the occasion. Kicking off a month long of “Swachh Bandan Divas” rallies, the women will demand construction of toilets as their “Raksha Bandhan” gift form their brothers on the festival on August 18.
30,000 village residents took part in the rally on the first day of the campaign, which started at dawn and ended at dusk. Thousands of women and girls started the day by joining ‘Anurodh Rallies’ where they appealed to people to gift toilets to their sisters on Raksha Bandhan so that they can live in an environment that is hygienic. Its was heartening to see that young men too joined in apart from Collector Priyanka Shukla, Khadi and Gram Udyog President Krishna Kumar Roy, Jila Panchayat CEO Deepak Soni and other district officials.
Jashpur Collector Dr Priyanka Shukla told TOI “Just to ensure that all men understand how important is presence of toilet in home for women’s safety this initiative was taken up. The very fact that one of the noted leaders of the district Krishna Rai himself has gifted a toilet to a lady, who does not have a biological brother has made this really special.”
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The message about hygiene will be spread through rallies to all the eight development blocks of Jashpur district within span of one month. The date of starting the program was chosen on July 18, exactly a month ahead of Raksha Bandhan festival. The plan is to involve women, young men and neo-literates of Jashpur who will march in rallies under the program. An innovative approach no doubt to link it with one of the most popular festivals in India.
To give you a sense of the magnitude of the problem, here are some facts about the hygiene issues in India:
- Around some 130 million households in India lack toilets.
- 70% of Indians living in villages defecate in the open and women especially get affected by lacking access to toilets. That is where many rapes occur. Remember the rape and murder of two Badaun sisters in 2014 who had left their homes to relieve themselves outside?
- India accounts for nearly 600 million of the 1 billion people in the world who have no toilets.
- 67% of all Hindu households, rural and urban, practice open defecation, compared with 42% of Muslims.
Feature Image Credit: livemint