Tag Archives: sanitation

Swachchh Bharat – Beyond Charity and Symbolism to Legal Rights and Duties: Sujith Koonan

Guest post by SUJITH KOONAN

Sanitation and cleanliness seems to have become buzzwords. Celebrities and political leaders have started talking about sanitation. The call for Swachchh Bharat by the Prime Minister of India was welcomed by many taking brooms in their hands. Several institutions have uploaded prestigiously the photographs of its employees carrying brooms. All of a sudden, the sanitation consciousness seems to have increased in the country. Indeed, it is a good sign that we have started thinking and talking about the ‘unmentionables’ – shit and dirt.

Many of these actions and responses are symbolic and rhetoric in nature. While it may be acceptable to begin with symbolism, the seriousness needs to be demonstrated through concrete long term plans and actions. One can hope that the government will take such steps. One way to show that the ongoing sanitation talk is serious, and the state is sincere about it, is to recognise the legal aspects of sanitation. There are mainly three issues where the government has been a failure in fulfilling its constitutional and legal duties and these are supposed to be at the forefront of the Swachchh Bharat Mission (SBM). Continue reading Swachchh Bharat – Beyond Charity and Symbolism to Legal Rights and Duties: Sujith Koonan

How Modi Views Untouchability: Dissecting the ‘Toilets First, Temples Later’ Debate

Narendra Modi, would not have imagined that his exhortation that ‘toilets first, temples later’ at a Delhi conclave would not only generate a debate within the saffron fraternity but would also bring back focus on the pathetic situation of sanitation in his home state itself. And the ensuing discussion would also transcend to his controversial ideas about untouchability – the social-religious practice based on the logic of purity and pollution which has marginalised, terrorised and relegated a section of Indian society to a life marked by humiliation and indignity. Continue reading How Modi Views Untouchability: Dissecting the ‘Toilets First, Temples Later’ Debate