News Item: One in two adults in India defecates publicly.

It’s only one in ten in China, by the way.  The study was silent on Americans. I should also mention that the story never mentioned whether this number represents regularly or just once in a while.

The story was  really mostly about a politician who was running on a platform of installing toilets in homes in India, and was motivated by the rape and murder of some women who were victimized when they went into a field to relieve themselves before bed, as they had no indoor facilities. I’m guessing no outhouse either. This is, apparently, a very common  problem there.

I’ve known people for many years who’ve traveled extensively in India and never  heard any of this before. Much of that may be due to simple economics, as it surely is much more likely to be a problem of the poor than the rich, and one of the things that all my acquaintances have in common is that, like virtually all Americans, they are rich. There is probably some cultural issue as well, since outhouses  apparently don’t figure in it either.

One blanches at the possible implication for the sacred status of the Ganges. Bathing in its waters is a pious act, I’m led  to believe. How many Indians may be taking personal advantage of its magical cleansing powers, not to mention its added provision of privacy? Bathing may be a public health problem. Of course, that may be as much my cynical western perspective speaking as anything, and I  really know nothing about it–but, still, I’m just  saying.

But, assuming the story is accurate for a moment, let me just observe its credibility.  And, as world population continues to bloom, it grows ever more credible,whether the image of it being an Indian phenomenon is accurate or not.

What I’d  most like to point out here, though, is the extension of what this says about the future as population continues to grow and climate change continues to instill itself more and more into our consciousness.  There will be greater and greater pressure for one culture to accommodate another as mixing grows more inevitable.  Public health issues will become more starkly outlined. The split between rich and poor more pronounced.  Common prejudices will be emphasized–even magnified.

I have long predicted that the 21st century will be remembered chiefly as one fraught with  genocide. Fortunately, it seems very unlikely that I will see that much of it.

George Drake
gwdrake@intheserviceofgaia.com
P.O. Box 7987

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One Response to News Item: One in two adults in India defecates publicly.

  1. Hank Raymond says:

    Nice news article George! About the Ganges… I’ve heard that the water is quite polluted above the point where everyone bathes. One might wonder if there is a detectable difference between upstream and downstream of the bathing place. Or do they bathe everywhere in the Ganges. I guess I was thinking it was a particular place where everyone bathes, but it’s probably everywhere. Hmmm…. sounds like someone should write a grant request to study this.

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