Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sulabh Foundation celebrates Republic Day in grand style

Gosh! Its been nearly four months since I  last updated my blog, that's suicidal. Am back in the beautiful land of India and home to the Dr Bindershwar Pathak and his sanitation movement that has and continues to make headlines in India and countries afar. I will be here for three weeks and be sure that I will be constantly updating you on what's going.

Today is Republic Day in India and I had the immense pleasure of taking part in the celebrations that were organised by Sulabh and they involved the hoisting of the flag, the taking of an oath of allegiance by students of Sulabh Public School, speeches from the Founder and yours truly as well as a very exciting cultural programme that included a Vandemataram dance, by students of Sulabh literacy mission, a patriotic song - We are children of India, a presentation by the New Princesses of Alwar and Tonk (former human scavengers), a Chandalika short play and a street play. In a nutshell, my morning was very well spent. 

Dr Pathak taking part in the hoisting of the Indian flag

Students of Sulabh Public School salute in respect after the flag was hoisted whilst singing to the National Anthem

Students of Sulabh Public School taking the oath that calls for one to love their country, take each other as brothers and sisters and for patriotism

Cultural dance

Cultural dance

Cultural dance

Cultural dance
Students of Sulabh Public School dramatise a play entitled Chandalika with lessons on untouchability and witchcraft

Allow me to quote from a book entitled India Express by Daniel Lak, 'Now that Ghandi is long gone, it falls on a remarkable organisation called Sulabh International to agitate for reform. In Sanskrit, a local language in India, Sulabh, is the word for 'easy'. The name of the organisation and the thinking behind it, are the work of its founder, Dr Bindershwar Pathak. Pathak is an upright, handsome man in this sixties who looks far younger. Its that easy, he repeats, many times during our conversation. His goal is nothing less than safe, hygienic sanitation for all of India's billion plus population and liberation for the remaining 250,000 sweepers."
The New Princesses of Alwar and Tonk. These beautiful ladies used to be human scavengers who had to carry human waste on their heads but thanks to the creative and dedicated work of Dr Pathak through the designing of a simple flush toilet, they no longer needed to do so.

No play is complete with the exquisite sounds that are produced by Indian musical instruments

After the magnificent job that was done for students of the public school and the literacy mission, it was fair that Dr Pathak gave a group picture and started the first verses of the National Anthem signalling the end of the programme

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