Flushing out a stain: How 2 women in Bihar are smashing stigma on building toilets

In June 2017, when newly-wed Anu­radha reached her in-laws’ home in Gajipur village in Bihar’s Nawada district, she was shocked to learn that while the family owned a car, they had not built a toilet in their house. Both her father and her husband, Kundan Kumar, a BTech employed in Delhi, had not revealed this fact to her before the wedding.

Forced to defecate in the open, the feisty young woman protested, fought with her husband and shifted to her parent’s home until a toilet was built. But her demand faced opposition from the entire village. The aversion to toilets was rooted in the superstition that building a toilet at home would bring misfortune. So much so that the entire village did not have a single toilet. Even the facility at the government primary school had been sealed by villagers with brick and sand.

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