This week’s odd news pits the First World against the Third and reminds us that there are places where Microsoft is a brand of toilet paper.
The clean-mad Indian Prime Minister is sending out a squad of teched-out auditors to check on toilet usage.
Now, before you jump to the conclusion that the Indian government is wasting millions on some silly socialist job creation scheme, the audit is in response to a 2011 report that revealed 2 out of 3 Indians don’t use a toilet — about 600 MILLION people. It seems that this leads to – well not to put too fine a point on it – shitting in the street.
The Prime Minister has taken a firm stance against shitting in the street and has given out nearly a half a million government-issue toilets.
“Our model has helped in putting an end to large scale open defecation in many areas,” bragged the PM while noting that the previous government did not agree and sanctioned the shitting-in-the-street model.
Now, he quite sensibly wants to know if the government-issue toilets are being used properly.
Because this is India, the auditors are armed with the latest in wireless tablet technology that will allow findings to be uploaded instantly to the web.
Government sanitation inspectors are going door-to-door, hovering over a typical Indian family, waiting to see what they will do when they need to take a dump. Then, when the happy event finally occurs, sending a digital report (and photo?) to indicate whether this particular family uses an indoor toilet or whether they prefer al fresco shitting.
Please wash your hands before returning to your iPad.
This isn’t the first time the Indian government has tried to nose in on the average citizen’s toilet behavior. Last November, they held the first ever International Toilet Festival in New Dehli to push their pro-toilet agenda.
The purpose of this festival was to highlight the importance of the toilet. This year’s slogan: “Toilet for All by 2019” (might be catchier in Urdu).
During this festival, widows – presumably those who had lost their husbands to hygiene-related diseases – marched with toilet bowls in protest. I think they were protesting against shitting in the streets, but it was possible that the women were protesting the shape of the government-issued toilets on the grounds that they were designed for men only.
The festival also included the world’s largest toilet (unisex?) and a parade of nearly 1000 students from six countries wearing toilet bowls on their heads as trendy hats.
This is in fact typical student behavior. American students commonly wear toilet bowls on their heads after a heavy night of partying, the toilets are just connected into the floor at the time.
Unfortunately, the government’s pro-sewer plan has dramatically lagged behind the toilet initiative. “Sewers aren’t sexy,” complained one official. “Toilets are.”
So, if you’d like to help, donate your spare toilets to a rural Indian family. They could use them as chairs.
I’m Jae and this message is “occupied”.