New Delhi: Nearly 43 per cent of India’s rural population still practices open defecation. If India has to fulfill the goals of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, by 2019, then it is important to look after the pockets that are laggards in terms of performance and act now. And that’s exactly what is being done by the filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra who is currently making a movie based on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, titled ‘Mere Pyare Prime Minister’. Moved by the grim reality of India’s poor sanitation and hygiene, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has built over 800 toilets in slums across India over the course of last four years.
Mr Mehra who believes in putting his ideas into action is working with NGO Yuva Unstoppable and is not only making sure that those deprived of this basic right just have access to toilets but he is also looking after the maintenance of the toilets built by him.
Till now, some 600 schools have been covered and separate toilets for girls and boys have been built. In addition around 200 community toilets have also been constructed in parts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Delhi – NCR, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh by the filmmaker and the NGO. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra believes,
Transformation can come through children if they are made agents of the change. Toilet is all about dignity, you can give children education, house, clothes anything and everything, but if they don’t have a toilet then they don’t have dignity.
So, what motivated the filmmaker? He states that Mahatma Gandhi’s model toilets at the Sabarmati Ashram encouraged him and also the dark side of open defecation in India. Speaking to NDTV, Parth Vasavada, Founding Member and Vice President of Yuva Unstoppable added,
In 2013, we went to ask Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra to come on board and join the NGO’s initiative which was basically to include every youth to bring some societal change in India. He told us, just focus on toilet building. And since then the battle to stop open defecation in India began with him. We as youngsters were very inspired with his movie Rang De Basanti and that’s why we wanted him to come on board.
Here’s a look into some of the inspiring work done by the NGO and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. These are perfect examples of how small efforts can make a huge difference.
What’s next? Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has now got a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), to build 20 more toilets in Mumbai. So the mission to build more toilets continues. Afterall like the famous dialogue from Rang De Basanti states, “Koi bhi desh perfect nahin hota … usse behtar banana padta hai.”
No country is perfect … one has to work towards making it better.