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News: A pioneer of public toilets in the country, Bindeshwar Pathak came to be known as the 'Toilet Man of India' long before the Swachch Bharat Mission made toilets a part of public discourse. He passed away recently.
Who was Bindeshwar Pathak?
• Bindeshwar Pathak was a renowned Indian sociologist and social entrepreneur who revolutionised sanitation in India by building public toilets and promoting human rights.
• He was the founder of Sulabh International, an organisation that has installed more than 1.3 million toilets in households and 10,000 public toilets in India.
• Pathak was a visionary leader who used technology for social upliftment and environmental protection. He designed biogas plants that could convert human waste into energy and fertiliser.
• He also campaigned for the abolition of manual scavenging as a practice and a profession. He provided education, training, and alternative livelihoods for the former scavengers and their families.
What inspired him to take up the cause of sanitation?
• He was inspired to take up the cause of sanitation after witnessing the plight of manual scavengers, who had to remove human waste from dry toilets with no water or flush.
• He lived with scavenger families as part of his PhD research and vowed to eradicate the practice by building public toilets and toilets in homes.
• He founded Sulabh International in 1970 and developed a low-cost twin pit, pour-flush toilet system that was easy to maintain and eco-friendly.
• He was a true humanitarian who dedicated his life to the cause of sanitation and social justice.