The Chemical and Process Engineering Department was recently visited by Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak who is the founder of Sulabh Internationals Social Service Organisation. Dr Pathak and his team, including Dr. N. B. Mazumdar, came to discuss their support and potential collaborative work with NVH Global and the University of Surrey to clean up the river Ganga.
Dr. Pathak is widely recognized in India for dedicating his life to building a nationwide sanitation movement spanning over four decades, which has made a critical difference in the lives of millions of severely disadvantaged poor. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, in the last 46 years, he has worked tirelessly for the human rights of the manual scavengers, who clean dry latrines, come from the lowest stratum of India’s caste based system and are mostly women. His actions aimed at rehabilitating manual scavengers, resorting their dignity by providing alternative employment through skill development presents an inspiring example of promoting peace, tolerance and empowerment by non-violent means.
Dr. Pathak continues to advocate against a social system that is not inclusive and severely discriminates the poor and underprivileged. He runs a nationwide sanitation campaign In India highlighting the plight of manual scavengers as well as women and children who go out to defecate. The two-pit eco-friendly flush toilet that he invented has been installed in over 1.5 million households in India alone. The Government of India has built another 54 million toilets based on his design. 1974, he introduced the concept of public toilets in India. It has been recognized by the UN-Habitat/ UNDP as a Global Best Practice.
Dr. Pathak’s unique social entrepreneurship has strengthened not only the global sanitation movement, but also generated mass consciousness for human rights, freedom and empowerment of the downtrodden people, making a significant contribution in promoting social reconciliation and community development in India.
Dr Pathak is a Padma Bhushan recipient by the Indian government and is the winner of Stockholm Water Prize. He has been awarded with several prestigious awards and has been appointed as Brand Ambassador of Swachh Rail Mission by Indian Railways on November 2, 2016. He has been featured by The Economist amongst the world’s 50 global diversity figures.