From the 1.1 billion Indians, 750 million are completely deprived of sanitary facilities. It is a set morning ritual: just before sunrise, at 5 AM in the morning, they relieve themselves in the open air.
3.40 (Title Dr B.(indeswahr) Pathak, founder Sulabh Foundation)
3.39-4.04 Quote Dr Pathak in car:
“More than half a million children die every year because of diarrhea, dehydration, intestinal worms, cholera etc. and nobody is taking notice of it, this has to change in this country. Half a million children die! A lack of sanitation is the root cause of all these diseases”
Picture: scavengers at work
There are hardly any sewer systems. The feces are cleared by the so called “scavengers". These are always outcastes, also known as untouchables, people who are at the utmost bottom of the hierarchic Hindustani caste system.
Picture: scavengers at work
4.54 -5.03 Quote, Hindi Quote Scavenger 1 (4.56 Name title: Shakuntala – untouchable):
“I have to do this work to feed my children. I can’t let them starve. So I am compelled to do this. Even if I think it is horrible.”
5.05 Voice-over: (after quote (woman walking upwards) (Pictures neighborhood outcastes)
The Hindi word for untouchable is pariah. The untouchables live – just as here in Alwar – on the outskirts of the villages and towns, in separate slums where other Indians don’t come. Nowadays the untouchables call themselves Daliths. For two and a half thousand years they are consistently and often with impunity discriminated. They account for almost a fifth of the Indian population.
5.37-5.50 Quote: (5.42 Name title: Prem – untouchable):
“No one ever comes here to sit and talk with us. So we are sitting home alone, in seclusion of the society. No one will ever come here to spend time with us.”
Picture: group of people and sweeping woman
6.09- 6.19 Quote Prem:
“Work is like hell. People hate me because of that work. Sometimes they give me some food, but it is thrown to me from above. Because they won’t touch me.”
6.23-6.34 Quote (Cow on screen, quote Prem):
“Even cows have a better life than I do, because the people pray for the cows. And they take care of them.”
6.35- 6.57 (Quote Pathak)
“In earlier days the scavengers had to wear ring bells to create sound, and if not, they had to create signs to clear the road so that people could keep away from them. They don’t want to see even the shadow of the scavengers”
6.58 Voice-over: (Pathak handing out mints to children)
When Dr Pathak was little, he liked to know what the matter was with the untouchables. That is why he touched a Dalith on purpose one day. His grandmother saw that.
7.12-7.34 (Quote Phatak in slum of Alwar):
“She made a huge cry in the family: `How can he live in the family now because he has touched an untouchable!` For that matter she forced me to swallow cow-dung, cow-urine, sand and Ganges-water to purify myself. I was crying.”
7.43 Voice-over (Picture: meeting Sulabh HQ Delhi)
The matter in question kept haunting Pathak, from the Brahamen caste himself, the highest caste with the Hindus. He decided to dedicate his live to the improvement of the position of the untouchables. In 1973 he founded the Sulabh movement for that.
(Picture + location indication) Music General Pictures.
Title on screen: New Delhi, India
The movement has her headquarters in a suburb of the capital city New Delhi and offers employment to 50 thousand outcastes in whole India by now. She is supported by one simple technical invention. Every Indian knows the Sulabh movement, if only because of the word Sulabh became synonym for “public toilet” meanwhile.
8.47-9.29 (Quote Dr Pathak):
-This is a prototype of a Sulabh toilet. It requires only 1.5 liters to flush per use. You see, from there there’s one drain, it’s divided into two. One leading to this tank, and the other to that one. When the first is in use, just close the other one. And after it is full, switch over to the other one.
-D: You need a sewerage system for it?
-P: No, it’s not required. Because it functions independently of the sewerage system. The treatment is on the site (spot) itself.”
9.31 Voice-over: (picture: toilet in garden, man walks out with water)
It sounds so simple: a WC connected to two covered underground tanks. Hardly water necessary and no sewerage at all. If the first tank is full – this takes approximately 4 years with an average Indian family – it is closed off and the feces fall into the second tank. After two years the content of the first tank is fully composted – on site and in a complete natural way, without adding chemicals.
10.03-10.38 Quotes: (picture: Phatak showing compost):
-This is the manure fertilizer taken out of the pit. As I told you..
-D: Out of human excreta’s?
-Human excreta. Here no smell, no patents, no bacteria. It can safely be handled and used in the field. To raise the productivity of the field on the flowers and the fruits. So this is a technology that can reach each and every house of 2.6 billion people who have no access to safe and hygienic toilets).
Pause in Quote. Just watch (NO Commentary text) slum inhabitants underneath viaduct
11.04-11.38 (Picture: viaduct-slum continue) Quote Pathak:
“Suppose a person living in a in a slum. They can have a toilet only for 10 to 20 dollar. So this is a technology that ends both the problem of open defecation as well as manual cleaning of human excreta, the scavenging. It also reduces the diseases. It improves health. And it improves working man days. If he works more, then certainly he can earn more money. And he can be eliminated from poverty.”
14.44 Voice-over: (Just read when car drives past cow.)
Pathak is not just anybody. In India he is a celebrity. And recently his WCs were recommended for the second time by the United Nations for 2.6 billion slum inhabitants all over the world. Besides he is decorated by the pope and praised by the former VN bosses Boutros Ghali and Kofi Anan. He takes us along to the central station in New Delhi, where one of the many public toilet complexes is situated, which his Sulabh movement has set up.
“Here we have toilets and bathroom. People come here to use the toilet pay 2 rupiahs, roughly 4 eurocents, they go to toilet, take shower and go away. During night hours they can also come here. Also in the night, so they should not go outside for defecation. These kind of facility we have throughout the country. We have more than 6000 complexes, used by roughly 4 million people everyday”
The Sulabh complex near the central station in New Delhi is visited by 4000 people daily.
13.10 -13.12 Subtitle:
-Hey, don’t make it dirty!
Just as with the other public toilet complexes the personnel consists of untouchables. The untouchables, who clear up feces on the street, earn approximately 6 Euros a month. The untouchables, who work here, earn at least 50 Euros a month, so eight times as much. Food and shelter are free. The Sulabh movement offers employment to 50 thousand untouchables in whole India.
13.38- 14.22 Quote, (picture: boy cleaning and showing room):
“My room is over there, sir. This is my bed to sleep in. It's really comfortable. (TC 13.50) This is my god. He fulfills al my wishes. He helps me. Here are my clothes. All my wishes have been fulfilled. Here is the tap. If we wake up in the morning we turn it on. Look, water is just pouring out! Then I wash my face. Here is my comb and mirror, there I comb my hair. And if I want to, I hum with it. At night we leave on the fan, than it becomes nicely fresh. Then we go to sleep tight. No fussing, no problems.”
The jobs are popular among the untouchables. Because in India there are hundreds of thousands Daliths who have to live from cleaning the filthiness off the street.
Street scenes. Cleaning and Scavengers on the job, Phatak with Alwar women:
“G for goat, H for hen, M for monkey.”
14.46 Voice-over (read when teacher’s face is on screen)
With the money, that the Sulabh movement earns with the public toilets and the sale of WCs – the turnover amounts to almost 20 million Euros a year - Phatak has set up schools and training institutes for untouchables and their children. The untouchables, who learn a profession here, are all illiterate and former poop cleaners. During their education they receive five times as much money as they earned when they still collected feces on the street. And therefore the untouchables are craving to be educated.
15.18 Quotes (Phatak and women):
“Were you often offended, when you still cleared feces with your bare hands?”
15.26-15.44 Quote woman 1:
-I walked with the basket on my head. It started raining, the basket overflowed and all poop poured over my body. Everybody started laughing at me. I was ashamed about it. With all difficulty I have delivered the basket and then run away.”
-Yes, yes, yes.
15.44-15.54 Quote woman 2:
-When I stopped working, people came over to my hut. They threatened to drag me along to report me to the police, if I didn’t start cleaning again.”
15.55-16.03 Quote woman 3:
-I walked with my basket in the rain. Everything ran over my body. Everybody was laughing and I had to throw up. (Everybody always kept a distance.) If I got any food, it was thrown to me and money too.”
16.04-17.24 Quote (Phatak telling story)
“I took them to a five star hotel for dinner in Delhi. Everybody was surprised. Here are scavengers, in a five star hotel, where Clinton had food? So I said they should also go there. Now see, this was a symbolic gesture to show that you are on the par with others. You also have right to go to these places. Had I asked international aid-agency or the government to give me fund to take them to this hotel for dinner, they would have said: he is a mad person.
-So you don’t receive government money or money from western NGO’s?
-No, we have never received any money.
-It’s completely self-supporting?
-You don’t want government interference?
-Not at all until I am alive! ‘Till I am alive because if you have your own money, you are independent you can make all the decisions what you want to do, but if you are tight by the decisions of others, the organisations who’s money you take. Then you can’t do the way you want to implement the things. That is the success of Sulabh.”
Dog, pictures house scavenger 1
17.46-18.06 Quote scavenger 1:
It isn’t in my hands. It’s in the hands of god. He decides on my next live, on how I return after my death. On what I become then. If he gives me the same work, it is the will of god. And nothing else. That’s fate. We have to accept that.
18.08-19.28 Quote Phatak in slum:
“The women have to suffer most, because they have to look for the children. And the men they don’t care. So certainly the ladies are depressed about the act of harassment. In our training institute we also teach their husbands also, not to drink too much alcohol. Don’t make violence. So this is a candle in the darkness, the beginning of the beginning. It will take time to change. But it is changing. If they leave this job and then do something else and live a proper live, then society will accept them. But while doing this job, the dirty job, they cannot be accepted by society.
All you try to find out the solution of the problem. Talking about a problem is one thing. But all your talking only adds to the problem. But 90 % of the people in the world take about a problem, not a solution. Anywhere, about the rivers, the forest, this and that, they talk about the problem and if you ask what is the solution? Oh, that I don’t know. The government should do it.
19.29-19.52 Quotes, (little scene, two women talking on the street)
-I have already signed me up for the training a little while ago, I have even turned in a passport photo. I live here in the neighborhood. When do I get the chance? I haven’t heard anything yet. And I don’t have anybody who can put in a good word for me. But everything is already ready. Everything is already ready.
-Just have patience. Next time it’s your turn too.
-I’ve called in there so many times.
By now the solutions of Dr Pathak, the WCs and public toilet complexes, are build in 14 African and in several Asian countries, including China and war-stricken Afghanistan. The Indian scientists and technicians, who are working for the Sulabh movement, haven't been sitting around doing nothing.
20.16-20.49 Quote Pathak:
“This is the backside of a Sulabh public toilet. Human excreta from there, comes to the biogas-digester which is not visible, it is 20 feet deep. Here the human excreta gets converted into biogas, and the biogas is ... through a pipeline for different purposes, so here again there is automatically decomposing of human excreta and that produces biogas. So here again no .. , no electricity is required nothing from outside. It’s automatically.
In the bigger Sulabh toilet complexes the human excreta are fully recycled on site. The only thing that remains is compost, purified water and biogas. Meanwhile the gas is also used to generate electricity. In India there are 122 power stations where this happens. A few months ago Dr Pathak received the Energy Globe Award in the European parliament, for one of the best permanent development project in the world.
“Just listen, one day you will be just as valuable as everybody else.”
T.C. 22.00 THE END - Drives away and street scenes
(Continue last picture until woman walks around the corner)
© 2008 World Report Media Ltd.
Producer: Raymond Hasselerharm
Camera: Frank Moll
Director: Dirk Kagenaar
Production: Frank in het Veld
Edit: Klaas Wijbenga