Lack of toilet drives wife away

Lack of toilet drives wife away

Hygiene frenzy

Absence of toilet in his house almost deprived a man of marital bliss.
Priyanka, a Dalit girl who returned to her husband’s home after her “gauna” (a ritual when the bride returns to in-laws place few years after marriage) was shocked at the absence of a toilet there.

After bearing the onus of open defecation for three days, she decided to return to her parents’ house after the beleaguered in-laws expressed their inability to get a toilet constructed for lack of funds.

A native of Maharajganj district in the state, around 300 km from here, Priyanka was married to Amarjeet Kumar five years back. She came to live with her in-laws on April 13.

Despite repeated pleas from her husband and in-laws to reconsider her decision, a defiant Priyanka declined to relent. “I found it very humiliating to go out in the open to respond to nature’s call. I will return only after a toilet is constructed,” she said.

However, Sulabh, an NGO that promotes sanitation and use of toilets has come to the rescue. Applauding Priyanka’s decision, Bindeshwari Pathak of Sulabh said: “By revolting against non-availability of toilet, she has done a revolutionary act in India where more than 660 million people still defecate in the open, leading to serious diseases. Such girls must be encouraged.”

The organisation has decided to give Rs 2 lakh to the girl, apart from constructing an “ultra-modern” toilet at her in-laws place to facilitate the estranged couple’s reunion.

“We salute her bold stand on cleanliness and hygiene,”  Pathak said, adding that the award would inspire others to follow suit. “Construction of the toilet will start in the next few days and it will be completed within a fortnight,” he added. Over two crore houses in Uttar Pradesh have no toilets, suggests data from the 2011 census.

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