Date: 18 December 2016
Very few Delhiites are aware that there is a toilet museum in the city. We came to know about this a while ago and decided to start our festive outings with a good cause. They are open on Sundays and last Sunday we headed for this place. We were slightly confused with the location and Google maps came to our rescue. We realised that the toilet museum is part of the huge Sulabh International Complex on Palam Dabri Road, Mahavir Enclave, Dwarka. Interestingly the museum is located inside a sanitary market.
The Sulabh complex here occupies a sprawling area and when we entered the premises the place looked like an ashram – a hermitage. Few people scattered inside were quietly busy with their chores as if completely oblivious to the world outside.
The museum is rich not on account of its size but for its theme and content. It’s a single hall that has models of commodes used all across the world particularly Europe. Mobile toilets as well as some modern toilets including portable toilets, solar toilets and tent toilets were also on display. We found toilet and sewerage related trivia that was hung on the walls very interesting. Ironically the first toilets of the world are found in the Indus Valley civilization.
We were assisted by a very able guide who patiently took us through each and every detail during a guided tour of the Sulabh Toilet Museum. Outside in the open area there were some model toilets (pits lined with stones, wood etc) along with related pricing.
The museum also brought about another very important issue – scavenging. Manual scavenging is still prevalent in some rural areas. This is not a very healthy or honorable vocation. Sulabh international has tried to relocate people from this profession to other respectable employments. This perhaps explains the relevance of the crude but naive statues of Ambedkar, Gandhiji and a manual scavenger inside the Sulabh Complex.
After Badayun sister’s episode the importance of having a toilet at home has been majorly amplified. Sulabh is the fore runner of a movement called Sulabh Sanitation Movement that has built toilets all over the country as well as provided the necessary technological support in remote areas.
The overall visit took us about an hour. While it wasn’t a very big museum it served a way bigger purpose. We realized that the toilets that we take for granted at home is actually a privilege in this country.
We strongly recommend a visit to The Sulabh International Toilet Museum in Delhi for your child’s sake and for yourself.