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On International Women’s Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Pays Homage To Late Kunwar Bai, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s Mascot

PM Modi said that Kunwar Bai lives on in the hearts and minds of all those who are passionate towards fulfilling Bapu’s dream of a clean India

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Highlights
  • Kunwar Bai’s contribution towards a Swachh Bharat is unforgettable: PM Modi
  • Chhattisgarh’s late Kunwar Bai sold her goats to build a toilet at her home
  • She then became the face of Chhattisgarh’s open defecation free movement

New Delhi: On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to pay homage to late Kunwar Bai, the resident of Chhattisgarh, who became the face of state’s open defecation free (ODF) movement. PM Modi in his tweet said he is deeply inspired by Kunwar Bai’s noble gesture to sell off her only assets and sole source of livelihood, 8-10 goats, to raise money to build toilets at home. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s mascot, who passed away at the age of 106 on February 23, 2018, became an inspiration for India in 2016, when the country got to know how she sold her goats to construct toilets at home.

Sharing a video from past, when PM Modi felicitated Kunwar Bai by touching her feet and addressing her as “Ma Kunwar Bai Yadav”, he said, “I will always cherish the time when I had the opportunity to seek Kunwar Bai’s blessings during one of my visits to Chhattisgarh. Her contribution towards a Swachh Bharat can never be forgotten.”

Though Kunwar Bai is no longer with us, but lives on in the hearts and minds of all those who are passionate towards fulfilling Bapu’s dream of a clean India, PM Modi further added.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh also agreed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi that late Kunwar Bai shall live forever in our hearts.

Prime Minister Modi also acknowledged the contribution of women in the history of mankind and urged others to share and write about women who inspire them. “Through their exemplary deeds, several women have left an indelible mark in the history of humankind. They continue to inspire generations. I urge you to write about some women who inspire you,” he added.

Kunwar Bai was nearly 102 when the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched in 2014. But age did not deter her to embrace change. Having defecated in the open all her life, she first heard about toilets from government officials who visited village to spread awareness. After listening to them Kunwar Bai sold off her goats to raise money to build two toilets at her house in Kotabharri village located in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh. Subsequently she, along with her daughter, started showing these toilets to other villagers and educating them about its benefits and importance. Because of Kunwar Bai’s efforts, her village Kotabharri and Dhamtari became the first open defecation free district in the state in 2016.

The prime minister met Kunwar Bai in 2016 when he visited Chhattisgarh to launch the ambitious Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Rurban (rural-urban) Mission at Kurrubhat village in Chattisgarh’s naxal-hit Rajandgaon district. PM Modi also felicitated Kunwar Bai for not just stopping open defecation with building toilet at her home but taking a step further to raise awareness among the villagers about the importance of adopting safe sanitation practices.

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