Lack of basic facilities like access to toilets is against the fundamental rights of the citizens

India Water Portal
Saturday, November 22, 2014 - 10:30

The failure to heed to one’s conscience results in the sense of shame, because one feels one’s personal worth has been lessened. The present situation in country where there are more than many examples where act of people are groups can severely traumatize people and victimize people. Such person’s personal dignity is severely hurt that shame prohibits one from even speaking about it. Less harmful events to our personal dignity are day today affairs that often give rise to painful sense of shame, denial, rejection, degradation and insults. One of such less harmful events is the daily event of open defecation where people feel so much degraded by the act that they in turn hide the truth, show aggression.

I live in Muttukadu in the outskirts of Chennai. On the surface the place looks beautiful with lots of trees, the backwater and the sea with nice beach. When one goes for a walk or a jog in the morning the sight of people defecating on the beach, in vacant land, on the road sides and in the banks of the canal is common sighting. Men seem to ignore and continue with what they do while women in shame stand up and turn their faces to the other direction. This act is both intimidating to the passerby and to the person in act. A while ago a man hit me for questioning him defecating close to my compound. Such act of aggression and intimidation is as a result of feeling of shame.

According to the Article 21 of the Indian Constitution one has to live a life of dignity and liberty. Both the passerby and the person open defecating should live with dignity. The passerby should not be in a position to witness such an act of shame and also the defecator engage in an act of open defecation. The same act of denial could be seen in all levels where villages and towns in India are being declared open defecation free, while just a small walk even on the main streets one could see fresh human feces on pavements.

Shouldn’t the system of law pave the way for dignity to the citizens and bring about a law that would mandate everyone to have access to latrine and ensure dignity of all is ensured. 

Kannan Pasupathiraj

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