Bindeshwar Pathak, Who Brought in the Public Toilet Revolution, Dies at 80
The founder of Sulabh International, Padma Bhushan recipient, and social worker Bindeshwar Pathak passed away after a heart attack at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi on Tuesday, not long after being admitted to the facility. He was 80.
Known for his substantial contributions to enhancing sanitation, cleanliness, and social welfare in India, Bindeshwar Pathak was an Indian sociologist and social entrepreneur who lived from 2 April 1943 to 15 August 2023. In India’s Bihar region, he was born in Hajipur. Pathak’s efforts were mostly directed towards tackling problems with sanitation, waste management, and renewable energy sources. To promote human rights, environmental sanitation, alternative energy sources, waste management, and social reforms through education, he formed Sulabh International, a social service organization.
What is Swacch Bharath?
- A national campaign for sanitation and cleanliness was started by the Indian government under the name “Wachh Bharat Abhiyan” (Clean India Campaign). A cleaner and more hygienic India is the aim of the campaign, which was started on October 2, 2014, the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth. The program tries to deal with several problems with sanitation, waste management, and cleanliness all around the nation.
What are the key objectives of Swaach Bharat?
- Open Defecation-Free India: One of the primary objectives of the campaign is to eliminate open defecation and ensure that every household has access to and uses proper toilet facilities.
- Sanitation and Hygiene: The campaign emphasizes the importance of sanitation and hygiene practices to prevent diseases and improve overall public health.
- Waste Management: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan promotes proper waste management practices, including waste segregation, recycling, and proper disposal of solid waste.
- Behavioral Change: The campaign aims to bring about a change in people’s attitudes and behaviours towards cleanliness and sanitation.
- Cleanliness in Public Places: It focuses on improving the cleanliness of public places, including streets, markets, parks, and tourist destinations.
- Rural and Urban Areas: The campaign addresses both rural and urban areas, targeting the improvement of sanitation facilities and hygiene practices in both contexts.
- Awareness and Education: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan involves raising awareness and educating people about the importance of cleanliness and hygiene through various initiatives and campaigns.
Contributions and Achievements:
- Sulabh International’s founder:
- Created the nonprofit organization Sulabh International.
- aimed to advance social reforms, non-traditional energy sources, trash management, and environmental sanitation.
- Elimination of Manual Scavenging:
- Efforts were made to end India’s cruel tradition of manual scavenging.
- promoted the use of clean, modern restroom facilities in favour of manual scavenging.
- Innovative Sanitation Solutions:
- Created biogas in the first instance by attaching toilets to fermentation facilities.
- produced nutrient-rich water for agriculture and sustainable energy (biogas).
- Social Reforms and Education: Along with cleanliness initiatives, social reforms and education were promoted.
- worked to alter societal perceptions of sanitation workers and underprivileged groups.
- Recompense and Prizes:
- a recipient of India’s prestigious civilian honour, the Padma Bhushan.
- The Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration, Academics, and Management was given to them.
- awarded numerous national and international honours in recognition of his services.
- Speaker and author:
- created several publications, including “The Road to Freedom.”
- actively took part in conferences and activities on social advancement, health, and sanitation.
- Legacy and Impact:
- changed attitudes on cleanliness and sanitation in India.
- increased access to human rights and better living conditions for underprivileged communities.
- He is behind a legacy of compassion, ingenuity, and social transformation.
India was profoundly impacted by Bindeshwar Pathak’s work in sanitation, hygiene, and social transformation, and he was recognized for his innovative efforts.