Gharacha Dagina - Toilets as the jewels of the household, a film promoting two-pit toilets in rural India

How should your village be? Like a sparkling mirror! How should ones life be? Like fresh healthy productive seeds!

Using analogies that resonate with the rural mind, this Marathi film by  the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (Government of Maharashtra) makes a convincing argument for toilet construction and use.The film's content has been guided by Mr. Dhumal, chief secretary of the water supply and sanitation department, Mr. Sanjiv Kumar, Director of the Water Supply and Sanitation Department, and Dr Mapuskar, Secretary of the Appasaheb Patwardhan Safai wa Paryavaran Tantraniketan (APSPT).

The film uses a narrative story line to promote sanitation. The story of a group of students who band together to rescue a friend from the shame of belonging to a village that scored low in the Sant Gadgebaba competition for sanitation forms the narrative thread.

The story begins, as all village movements do, at a Gram Sabha. This meeting has been called expressly to discuss the issue of sanitation, with Dr.Mapuskar and Mr Jadhav of the APSPT as the chief guest.

The film explains the process through with exposed faeces spread to our water and food and cause diseases. It also explains that the superstructure is not important when it comes to toilet construction. A 'toilet' is the combination of a pan, trap, and soakpits. The rest of it is superfluous.

The use of water saving techniques like a pan with a steep slope is explained, as is the fallacy of using germicidial solutions in  a pit latrine. Construction of a two pit latrine is explained in detail, through a demonstration. This explains marking, excavation etc upto finishing. In a family of four, it takes about 4-5 years to fill a single pit. Once filled, the second pit is to be used. In a year or two, the matter in the first pit decomposes to form a rich compost, which can either be sold or  used in the fields.

The disadvantages of a septic tank toilet are also explained. Trench toilets are promoted as an option for economically distressed families. The distance to be maintained from water sources  and methods for construction in varying soils is also explained. Most people consider only ceramics for sanitary ware. The pros and cons of various materials possible such as ceramics, plastics and ferrocement are listed.

This film efficiently combines inspiration with technical guidance through the use of a simple narrative. It is an excellent tool for use in village meetings and promotional campaigns.

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