New Delhi When you want to change the world, understand that you have chosen the difficult path. Such a difficult path was chosen by Bandeshwar Pathak, the founder of Silbha International. Yesterday, after the Independence Day program at Solabh International Head Office in Delhi, he suddenly fell ill and was admitted to AIIMS, Delhi. where he died during treatment. He was 80 years old. In this article we will try to know how the concept of Silbha toilet came and how it got recognition in the world and also what kind of problems Bandeshwar Pathak faced during this time.
Concept of accessible toilet
In fact, after completing his studies, while Bandeshwar Pathak was working in the Bhangi Mukti Cell, it was considered that some such technique should be implemented to eradicate the practice of manual scavenging. will be made at low cost. Bandeshwar Pathak set out to develop safe and affordable toilet technology and built the two-pit flush toilet. The technology was very affordable and seemed to solve a big problem. It was tried as an experiment in the cities of Arah and Patna in Bihar and a campaign was launched to eradicate the problem of open defecation and manual scavenging. Bandeshwar Pathak founded Solabh International in 1970. This organization works in the fields of environment, sanitation and education, including human rights.
Inspired by childhood events
Bandeshwar Pathak grew up in a house with nine rooms but not a single toilet. Had to go out of the house to defecate. The women of the house could not go out to defecate during the day. Due to which they faced many diseases. He also had a childhood incident that inspired him to work in this field. Bandeshwar Pathak himself has told that in his childhood a lady used to come to his house to give him bamboo soup, dagra and sieve. When she came back, Grandmother would sprinkle water on the ground. Bandeshwar Pathak is shocked to see that so many people come to the house, grandmother does not do this for anyone, but why does she do this when they come. People used to say that a woman is untouchable, so after she leaves, water is sprinkled to purify the place. After that, Bandeshwar Pathak would sometimes touch the woman and see if there was any change in her body and complexion. But one day his grandmother saw him touching a woman. Then cow dung was fed to the Bandeshwar Pathak to purify it. This incident shook him from the inside.
Worked in Bhangi Liberation Cell.
After graduation in 1968, he worked as a teacher for a few days and then joined the Bihar Gandhi Centenary Celebrations Committee as an activist. Here he started working in Bhangi Mukti Cell. It was not easy for a high caste boy to work like this in the toilet. But Bandeshwar Pathak did not back down from his intention. During his work, he understood and learned about the problem of manual scavengers. He pioneered the abolition of open defecation and manual scavenging. Silbha Toilets built toilets across the country. Its toilets are considered to be low cost and environment friendly.
What troubles came?
In fact, when you work outside the box, it’s natural to have problems. The biggest problem with Bandeshwar Pathak in the early days of the work came from his own family. Bandeshwar Pathak’s father was very angry with this act. Other people in the house also got angry. Bandeshwar Pathak’s father-in-law became so angry that he said plainly – ‘I don’t even want to see your face. You have ruined my daughter’s life. People ask what does the son-in-law do? What should I tell them now?’ On this, Bandeshwar Pathak said that I have to fulfill Gandhiji’s dream. And he continued in his mission. As a result, Silbha International established its identity not only in the country but also abroad.
How did the picture change?
Dr. Bandeshwar Pathak has done a lot of research regarding the construction of low-cost toilets in the country. He first created a disposable composting toilet in 1968 that could be made inexpensively from materials found around the home. Later this technique was greatly appreciated. It is considered as one of the best technologies in the world. Silbha International built toilets and bathrooms across the country. You will find accessible toilets at railway stations, metro stations and other public places. Solabh Shuchalya has 8500 toilets and bathrooms across the country. Here one has to pay 5 rupees for toilet and 10 rupees for bathing. It is also kept free for community use in many places. Solabh International was a big part of PM Modi’s cleanliness drive. As part of the drive to eliminate open defecation, low-cost toilets were constructed on a large scale.
Silbha International has established its identity by completing several projects in the country as well as abroad. In 2011, the organization planned a special type of toilet for use by the US military in Afghanistan. Earlier, Solabh International had built toilets in several projects in Kabul. The U.S. Army itself contacted Silb International and offered to manufacture a special type of toilet.
The toilet museum was praised, received many awards
The toilet museum founded by Bandeshwar Pathak has been counted among the 10 unique museums in the world by Time magazine. Bandeshwar Pathak has been awarded several national and international awards. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1999. In the year 2003, his name was also included in the list of 500 social workers of the world. He was honored with many awards including the Energy Globe.