“Indians defecate everywhere. They defecate mostly besides the railway tracks. But they also defecate on the beaches; they defecate on the hills; they defecate on the river banks; they defecate on the streets; they never look for cover.”
An Area of Darkness, 1964
Around 600 million people in India do not have access to toilets and are forced to relieve themselves in the open. In a decade from 2001 to 2011, percentage rural areas with no latrines have come down from 78.1% to 69.2% though, but still for every Indian to have an individual toilet at home, we have a very long way to go. Sustainable Development Goal 6 of the UNDP is extremely clear in presenting the utopia of a hygienic and completely sanitized world, as it quotes,
“Ensuring universal access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030 requires we invest in adequate infrastructure, provide sanitation facilities, and encourage hygiene at every level.”
But research evidence is that people defecate in the open in India because they don’t seem fine with changing their centuries-old manners. (Poverty is not the concern. Open defecation is widespread in
Haryana and Punjab also, where the well-off farmers even now relieve in the open.) The government and the administration deem that villagers don’t build/use toilets because they are excessively underprivileged. If it were so, the 2011 census wouldn’t have reported a higher share of households with TVs than toilets.