Tribal woman risks marriage for sake of toilet, gets award

Tribal woman risks marriage for sake of toilet, gets award

A tribal woman from Madhya Pradesh's Betul district, who ran away from her husband's house barely two days after her marriage over lack of sanitary facilities, has become a brand ambassador for a cleanliness drive.

Anita Narre's insistence on having a toilet at her in-law's place not only compelled her husband to take up the issue with the panchayat at his native in Jheetudhana in Betul district but also made Sulabh International adopt Anita's village for its "Total Cleanliness Drive".

"We have decided to award Rs five lakh to Anita for taking a bold initiative and risking her marriage for the sake of a toilet," Sulabh's Chairman Dr Bindeshwar Pathak said.

"This will definitely motivate other Indian girls, specially in villages, to ensure that when their parents marry them they must see that there is a toilet at their in-laws place," said Pathak who will soon publish a book on toilets in 24 languages.

He would provide five copies each of the book to all the panchayats of the country.

When 23-year-old Anita got married to Shivram Narre on May 13, 2011, she got the shock of her life when there was no toilet at her in-law's place.

As there were hardly any lavatories in the village villagers would go in open fields to relieve themselves.

Anita returned to her parent's house in semi-urban Chincholi barely two days after staying at her in-law's place.

When Shivram went to his in-laws place, Anita flatly refused to go back with him as there was no toilet in his house.

"I told him categorically that unless he constructs a toilet in his house, I will not go back with him," Anita said.

Disappointed Shivram returned to his village and raised the matter with the local panchayat following which it decided to help him in constructing the toilet at his residence.

Once that happened, Anita, who had put her marriage at stake for the sake of a toilet returned happily with him.

Today, Anita is not only the cynosure of all in her village but also become an icon in the eyes of the district administration.

Betul Collector Chandrashekhar Borkar said the administration has decided to name her as the brand ambassador for the Total Sanitation Campaign aimed at constructing proper toilets and maintaining hygiene in the villages and towns.