UP bride runs away for lack of proper toilet

May 11, 2012, 11:17 IST | Agencies

Lack of a proper toilet is least of reasons a young woman revolts, but not in Uttar Pradesh's countryside where half the population is forced to defecate out in the open.

For Priyanka, a Class 12 student in Maharajganj district, 365 km from here, lack of a toilet was a big challenge.

So much so that she refused to stay in the house of her in-laws and ran away on the third night after her 'gauna' - the traditional formal induction of a bride married in childhood.
The chirpy girl said she ran away from Vishunpur Khurd April 13, demanding that they build a toilet to get the 'bahu' back.
While she says that the toilet is still under construction, she found it shameful to go out in the open at her in-laws' place every morning.
"Sir, I felt very embarrassed as many villagers were there in the open. So one day I ran away," the runaway bride said.
Married to Amarjeet, a student, in 2007, she said she wants to live honourably and would like the toilet to be made before she decides to go back to her hubby.
Unless that happens, "I will stay put in my father's house".
Her father, a driver, who lives in Kanchanpur Kuiya, says he supports the will of her daughter and does not mind keeping her home till a proper toilet comes up at his damaad's' house.
Ram Jeevat, father-in-law of Priyanka, admitted that he was initially taken aback at the demand of his daughter-in-law and was furious that she had disappeared.
Jeevan said that a little later he understood the trauma the 'bahu' must be going through as his own daughters - 17-year-old Sangeeta and 12-year-old Pana - shared their similar ordeals with him.
"What to do, Sir, I am an unemployed man. How do I construct a proper toilet?"
Priyanka's desire for a toilet seems to have been heard. Sanitation NGO Sulabh International has decided to reward her Rs.2 lakh besides getting an ultra modern toilet with a bathroom constructed at her new home, at their cost.
Hailing her as a "revolutionary of a different kind", Sulabh Founder Bindeshwar Pathak said the girl's flight was an "act of inspiration for others to follow".
Priyanka said she had heard of the reward but she was yet to get the money.
"I am awaiting both (toilet and money). I would only return to my husband when I get a proper toilet there," she insisted.
Uttar Pradesh has been rocked by an alleged 'toilet scam' of Rs 2,900 crore, with money meant to build toilets in villages allegedly siphoned off in 2007-12.
Instead of 7.8 million toilets that were to come up, only a few thousands have been constructed.
The Akhilesh Yadav government has ordered a probe into the matter and a physical verification of the toilets has been ordered.

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