The Curse of Open Defecation

The Curse of Open Defecation

When you look for an apartment or paying guest room for yourself, following questions are mostly in our checklist

“Is washroom attached? “

“Do I have to share it with the fellow flat mate or roommate “.

Most of us reject the room/apartment if washroom isn’t attached or if we have to share it with someone else.

Now imagine this

You are sharing your toilet with 40 to 50 people at a time.

Imagine you are doing it in front of opposite gender in open.

To the top of it, the place where you defecate is located a kilometer away from your house.

Fecal contamination causes death of 200,000 children every year.

Sound horrible? Yes because it is horrible.

Such is the story of Jai Hind camp, a slum near the posh area of Vasant Kunj.

I assure you the people living there are made up of same DNA as yours.

I was there for baseline survey when I got chance to Interact with the community leader Fatima.

Quiet recently FORCE has constructed Community Toilet Complex over there with intervention of DUSIB. Fatima   was thankful for that but due to non provision of electricity, the toilet isn’t working yet.

Fatima is working hard to get BSES agree to provide electricity to the toilet complex in her area.

Meanwhile she revealed some heart melting details to me, like

“How their legs are full of insect bites” , “How common are there the diseases like diarrhea, intestinal worm infections, etc.”

She further added that women go for toileting under cover of darkness.

Teary eyed Fatima goes saying “open defecation is a curse”.

Being a community leader she is strong woman though, and is positive that Toilet complex soon would be working.

Toilets must be demand-driven, and the demand can come from women like Fatima. 

Open Defecation Free or Free Open Defecation?

Open Defecation Free or Free Open Defecation?

How many of you went to watch the movie”Toilet-Ek Prem Katha”? May be most of you have watched already,since the movie has already Collected above 100 Crore INR at Box Office. It must be worth a watch. I suppose it is posing threat to new releases. That is that. But how many of you read about Twinkle Khanna’s tweet the other day?

Neither movie nor its profit/threats concerned me. It was the picture shared by Twinkle Khanna which was actually of a concern.

Twinkle Khanna shared her Selfie pointing towards a man openly and freely defecating on the beach, captioning the picture as “Good morning and I guess here is the first Scene of Toilet Ek Prem Katha part 2”.

According to the follow up tweets from the actress it was further implied that the place has ODF certification and she further said “The public toilet is a 7-8 minute Walk from this particular spot…”

You might just laugh it off, or you might just roast Twinkle Khanna for her Sardonicism. But it is the sad truth thrown in our faces.

“One billion people worldwide still practice “open defecation.” India alone has an estimated 600 million people defecating openly, according to a study by the United Nations.India leads the world in open defecation,contaminating drinking water sources.(As per leading newspaper)

Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the “Clean India” campaign, which aims to end open defecation by October 2, 2019 and promises to install 75 million toilets across the country.

We at FORCE have been working regarding sanitation problem since last 10 Years and we have the on ground experience regarding the sanitation problems faced by people dwelling in slums. Sometimes it is not the lack of facilities that man is compelled to defecate openly but sometimes it is just the Habit; there is no shame or guilt in people when they defecate openly, because it is Normal for them(Main Madaan Ho k Aaya hoo).

I don’t know what were the actual reasons which compelled that person to choose the beach for the byproducts of his digestion. The beach is something we imagine as our holiday destination, where we look at vast ocean and realize how tiny we are and yet so powerful, and where we go to seek peace of mind and feel Close To nature(by watching something pleasant to eyes, not something sore).Beach offers something for every taste, but that does not mean we should exploit it with our degradable or non-degradable waste.

India is a developing country, we, as citizens are equally responsible for the development of the country .Development of a nation is not the concern of government only; it should be concern for all of us. Rather than roasting Twinkle Khanna or Government, we should take right steps to ensure that India is open defecation free by 2019.

Abba Matloob

Abba Matloob

In this great and big world, we see so little .How many of us actually know about a small town somewhere harboring people like you and me (without using Google). We live in uncertainty until things unfold, and sometimes we happen to discover new places, new faces and an environment which might be completely different than how we a used to think about them or not think about them at all.

Abba Matloob, another man among million other men, who has lived his life, working, making a family in Saharanpur. It may be a new place to many of us, at least to me it was. And Abba Matloob was stranger was to me until I had to document his work for one of our case studies.To begin with , He had volunteered in various WASH activities conducted by FORCE at Saharanpur, and I was told how efficient he has proved to be mobilizing his resources and timely wisdom.

I was more than eager to meet him, and discover how passionate and energetic someone can be to devote his life at this age to social work. Then i learned , he is no more.Old Age spares no one. I wanted to know so many things from him.But he wasn't present anymore to answer my queries.But the trace of his work, was visible, good work indeed  is immortal and ageless.

Abba MatloobFamously known as Abba Matloob in his locality, this man earned this name with his dedicated social work and his effective leadership. Born in 1948, Abba Matloob migrated to Saharanpur from Ambestapeer, UP.So he lived his last days in Sahranpur,and that is where we went to interview his son and know more about this old man.

We reached his small house; we were welcomed by his youngest son Marghoob Ahmad, with an open heart. He began talking about him with a shaky voice.It was obvious he is holding up his emotions,and might break into tears any time.

Marghoob Ahmad told us that With little or no education, Abba Matloob had worked in brick kiln for many years till his health deteriorated. But this never controlled his passion to work for the community. He was actively participating in plethora of social work activities. Be it creating awareness of pulse polio, or helping poor with ration card or helping widows to get their pensions. He talked about his father with pride and told us that Abba Matlooob was even recognized for his social work In 7 countries such as Malaysia, Sudan, and Nigeria ! i wasn't surprised now why FORCE identified a leader in him.

What I could collect from the people who lived and worked with Abba Matloob is he was a dedicated Indian and exemplary leader. He knew how to use power appropriately, and work within established opportunities. Driven by the passion of helping his community to improve their Hygiene habits and quality of life, Abba matloob had eagerly cooperated with FORCE and ITC Limited in making people aware of Solid Waste Management. He knew how to mobilize the community, how to make them listen.He had helped FORCE  to arrange street plays and meetings to create awareness about cleanliness and one would often hear him say “Cleanliness is half the faith of Muslim “.

With a thought of carrying Honorable Prime minister’s vision of Swach Bharat Abhiyaan forward, he had joined the FORCE’S vision and mission and got involved in problem solving, decision making and planning. In our dictionary we call such a person “Powerful stakeholder”. Being a president of Mohalla committee, he had many resources and contacts which FORCE utilized for the solid waste management cause in Saharanpur. Be it a contact of someone from Municipal Corporation, or some local politician or a common waste picker. He had a power to make people listen and make them follow a path towards development.

Abba Matloob SaharanpurSurvived by his wife and 8 children, Abba matloob died on February 8 -2017 but had left an impression in everyone’s life. He continues to be source of inspiration not only to his community people but also the local leaders. Abba Matloob didn’t need any “How to be a Good Leader” Self –help book to be quality leader. As Rashid Ansari, a community leader in his own right praised Abba Matloob quoted him saying “he had built such a rapport that I would have to report to him if community needed something. He would help me with elections and he would make me help him with community social work “.

Abba Matloob's story unfolded words of wisdom ,and i learnt life long lesson from an old man with white beard and black cap on his head, about whom Google will show “no result found”.

Let’s Have A Blue Christmas

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Did you know that the red and white clothes of Santa Claus are not really of his choice. They are the colors of Coca-Cola.

It is popularly believed that in the 1920’s an artist for Coca-Cola drew Santa Claus in the colors red and white and today we all think of Santa as a jolly old man in red and white.

That was then.

Today Santa Claus needs to change his wardrobe to blue and green.

Our planet is heading for a water crisis and soon children would be hanging drawing of filled water bottles and rain under their Christmas trees.


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Did you know that Santa’s home is near the North Pole?

And did you know that the North Pole has a massive ozone hole right above it that is causing the ice there to melt?

Santa’s home and factories are being destroyed and it is because of our selfish lifestyle.

Christmas is a holiday that embodies selflessness, togetherness and feeling of oneness as a species.

This Christmas let’s paint Santa blue. This Christmas let’s all gift ourselves a WATER SECURE future.

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This Christmas let’s have a BLUE CHRISTMAS.

Does the Environment really need your protection?

Jyoti Sharma, President FORCE posted this in Environment Protection, Jal Rakshak on December 2nd, 2010

Dear Jal Rakshaks

‘Environmental Protection’ is the new buzz word – in policy, text books, corporate manuals, CSR agendas, political manifestos, NGO Objectives……. Anywhere and everywhere….the slogan is – ‘ PROTECT  THE ENVIRONMENT’.

And yet…the ‘Environment’ continues to get a raw deal everywhere–  villages spring up in forests, animals disappear; mining holes appear in ancient mountain ranges, mountains become bare; streams dry up, rivers turn into nullahs; wells give water of all colours & smog envelops us all….

Why this dichotomy ??

Today, as I was interacting with a bright young set of media & communication management students, I found the answer to this apparent contradiction.

It’s all a matter of semantics – our choice of words.

The words ‘Protect the Environment’ – cue off in our brain, the thought “The Environment is under threat of destruction. We must do all we can to protect it – Because We are strong and the environment is weak. We are fair minded strongmen, with a heart of gold – that’s why – even though, WE HAVE CONQUERED IT, We must take good care of the environment.”

…And therein lies our BIG BIG mistake. The environment (read: nature) is NOT weak. It does NOT need to be protected by us. On the contrary WE NEED TO BE PROTECTED from the dangerously quiet wrath of nature.

As a Mother, Nature is infinitely caring, patient, giving….

As an opponent, it is a master strategist, delusion creating, many headed medussa; a ‘meethi chhuri’ and a cold butcher. It will let you poison it, and then feed you back the same poison through its air & water- multiplied manifold. It will let you cage it – only to hit back from a tunnel you never knew existed….

Beware ! We have made ourselves opponents of Nature !

We think of ourselves, not as Nature’s children, but as its Conquerors…. with a  clear mandate –  whip it to extract most out of it and feed it just enough to keep it productive. Torture it, if you wish, just make sure you keep it alive – as a symbol of your ultimate victory.

Wake up – snap out of this delusion ! Look around, see the patterns and recognise how we are, slowly but surely, losing our battle for survival.

Nature does not need your condescending protection.

Jal Rakshaks, let’s try & give mankind a chance to survive. As a start, let’s change the buzz word – from ‘Protect the Environment’ to


In our own interest, let’s learn, and teach all, to respect & care for Nature – our Mother. She loves us, perhaps more than we love ourselves. Let’s try not to snatch away, from the rivers, forests, animals, mountains, air and water; their right to live with freedom, health and dignity.

Let’s Protect ourselves – re-learn to live in harmony with Nature – the Mother – She will protect us.

Jyoti Sharma


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