In India, where rapes and all other kind of assualts against women takes the centre place every day, in every newspaper, on every television news channel, in any and every debate, in every thought, and in most of the houses as well, maybe builing of proper toilet facilities can ensure some safety for them.
Claiming to make nearly 80 lakh toilets so far, with a promise of making the count to reach in millions, our Prime Minister’s vision of making India entirely ‘open decefecation free’ seems to work in progress. But, if one comes to terms with reality, the plight of several women remains unattended, unheard and uncovered by media and the local governing authorities. It’s not that the government is not doing it’s best, as they have made commendable efforts to attain the goals of this noble mission.As we know, there have been always struggles as we go through a transition, be it a change in oneself or the entire nation. Some of these challenges that have been there are, acceptability issues on the part of local residences, newly-built toilets are not maintained and thus, have literally turned into garbage bins with unbearable toxic smell, confusion regarding the construction incentives and the programme is yet to gain momentum in Delhi due to lack of awareness amoung people, as per the reports of Mail Online in 2015. Infact, the infamous Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has clearly failed to take off in several villages of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Interestingly, the Punjab government claims to have constructed around 33 lakh toilets under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan for 7.92 lakh families at a cost of Rs 937 crore. However, a reality check done by Mail Today revealed that most of the toilets were constructed on papers as no money has been provided to the households.
What is worse is that, the rate of crime against women, in rural areas (specifially) has been persistant and growing
In the evening gloom of their dirt courtyard, Raj Beti and her six daughters are growing desperate. They last answered nature’s call 13 hours ago, but it’s dark enough to venture into the fields. As not only the fear of wild snakes and boars is haunting them, the nasty vultures are ready to lay their hands on the little girls and rip off their souls with fear and shame. “We don’t know who’s watching, who’s waiting for us” says the oldest daughter of Raj Beti as she prepares the meal for the night for only the male members of the family. Women are expected to hold on to their bladder and bowels,as with no toilets in their own house, they have go out in the stark night with no signs of safety and light. For those who dared, incidences of Gang-rapes, widespread obscene mms and verbal assaults were their only rewards.
The situation has been somewhat same in those houses, where the toilets were constructed. In Maya Devi’s home,a dweller living in Katra village, has a bowl of the government-built latrine, which was cracked and the cubicle’s door was blown off. But poor aesthetics are not the main problem. “The pit is full,” said Maya Devi. “We don’t know how to empty it so we’ve started using the fields again.”
In katra, the necessary awareness and sensitivity had spread, after dreadful incidences of gang-rapes. Is there a need for crime to take place each time, to bring a change? That can be the worst opportunity cost, of building a health and well-sanitized area. There is a desperate need to educate the people with simple yet effective tools,one-sided promises won’t work at all.
Now each time as the day fades away and the night dances with its gloomy shades, it sulks the head of Raj Beti who dutifully carries her youngest daughter to herself, and the rest five following to her steps, in the open-dead field, where they spread out soon, pulling down their baggy shalwars. They’re frightened, uncomfortable and trying to hurry up the proccess as a tractor shudders past about 20 metres away, driven by men, most of them drunk.
As they wash and walk back to the village, other women and girls appear in twos, all with the same faces of sadness and guilt, as if excretion was a crime of their body and a disgrace to their families.
In 2019, the aim is to construct nearly 12 million toilets in the rural areas with a projected cost of nearly 1.96 crores, as the mission claims. Till then, many fathers who have lost their daughters, who died for no reasons but for ‘ being unaware’ and ‘ being a female’ , the present scenerios is ‘intolerable’ and they wish to see it nowhere around in any houses around them.
But untill the manifestation becomes a widespread reality, there shall be no food, no water and ofcourse no safety for women after the daylight till the newdawn in the villages.
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