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No Bathroom, No Bride

On The Times of India's View\Counterview page today, there is an interesting issue up for discussion.

India's rural development and water and sanitation minister, Jairam Ramesh, has proposed a "no bathroom, no bride" rule. According to the most recent census, 53% of all Indian households have no toilet. This generally means there is also no septic tank, septic field, or sewage system to hook one up to, either. In rural areas, up to two-thirds of the population uses ever-diminishing open spaces to relieve themselves. For women, it means relief only when it's dark out.

By tying bathrooms to marriages (most of them arranged marriages), the minister is attempting to get the nation's young men involved in changing longstanding practices.

I have no idea if he'll get his way. When you're grumbling about problems with the home you share with your spouse or what you have to go through to get married in the US, UK, Canada, or Australia, you might want to thank your lucky stars doing without a toilet or being forced to add one isn't on the list.


The minister, I am sure, is doing his best and it is probably the best plan under the circumstances. It baffles me though, that we have to go to such lengths just to get women around the world what they ought to already have - equality.

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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