In our country, women are always seen and showcased as the epitome of humility, shyness and the pride of an entire community. However, when the question of open defecation arises, the status given to women by society suddenly vanishes, and she is reduced to just being any other “person”.
The film ‘Toilet – Ek Prem Katha’ is being portrayed as something along these lines, with the only exception being that the woman takes this set-up as a humiliation and leaves her in-laws’ house. Now, before most of the prospective audiences of the film dismiss it as being too unlike a story, let us tell you the story of a woman who actually did something similar and whose story inspired this movie to be made.
Anita Bai Narre, a resident of Betul district in Madhya Pradesh, after getting married to a person from Chitoli Village of Bhimpur block, was left aghast at the site of a field in place of a toilet for defecation. So perturbed was this lady that she was forced to leave her in-laws’ house just a couple of days after marriage.
This story was published across regional media and eventually became viral. Thereafter, it was a person based in Bhopal and a Mumbai-based director who narrated the entire story of Anita Bai Narre to scriptwriters Garima and Siddhartha. And that is how the story traveled across villages in Madhya Pradesh to be made into a love story based on Narendra Modi’s sanitation campaign.
After the publication of the story, Anita Bai Narre’s courage was praised and she was awarded a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh by Sulabh International’s chief, Bindeshwar Pathak. This award was presented by the then President Pratibha Patil at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.