India – A Shitty Country, Literally

India - A Shitty CountryImage Source: WHO, 2010

Mera Bharat Mahan. Incredible India. Shining India.

Wow, nice sounding feel-good words, na?

Folks, as we were desultorily roaming across the gullies and byways of the Internet a few hours back, we stumbled upon a Bloomberg story about a most disturbing crisis that’s very open but yet not acknowledged by most Indians.

Nearly 85 years after Mahatma Gandhi wrote in a moment of despair that ‘Sanitation is more important than political independence,’ India’s claim to fame is not its legions of software programmers, dozens of call centers, piles of nuclear bombs or its silly Chandrayan lunar expedition but its peerless status as the Shit-hole of the Planet, in the literal sense.

The Bloomberg story we read earlier tonight talks about a sanitation emergency in India – the problem of open defecation and the problems it brings in its wake.

Chew on these Indian Shitistics

These are some of the most stinking shitistics we’ve seen on India in a long time:

* Indians leave about 100,000 tons of shit in the open every day, in the fields, on the river banks and in the middle of the biggest cities
* About 665 million Indians shit in public or engage in open defecation (to use a euphemism), that’s half the world’s 1.2 billion who let go in public
* Each gram of feces contains millions of harmful bacteria and viruses and a thousand parasite cysts
* Over 37% of the total human excreta generated in urban India is unsafely disposed, according to the National Urban Sanitation Policy document prepared by India’s Ministry of Urban Development
* According to the 11th Five-Year plan document, of the 200 million dwelling units across India, only 40 million dwelling units have a toilet inside the house. Only 61% households in urban areas and 17% households in rural areas have access to improved sanitation
* 12.04 million urban households do not have access to latrines and defecate in the open
* India’s poor sanitation extracts a heavy toll. UNICEF has found that every day 1,000 Indian children, younger than five-years die of diarrhea and other diseases caused by poor sanitation
* Sadly, 50% of Indian schools do not provide separate toilets for boys and girls leading to high dropouts by girls
* The Government of India acknowledges that lack of covered toilets nearby imposes a severe hardship on women and girls and yet does little
* According to the Government of India’s shitistics, 10 million cases of diarrhoea, more than 7.2 lakh typhoid cases and 1.5 lakh viral hepatitis cases occur every year mostly due to unclean water supply and poor sanitation
* Poor design of toilets in Maharashtra have led to their use for grain storage
* The ultimate indignity of having to do it in the open

Dystopian Shitty Nightmare

The above shitistics reveal the dystopian nightmare that hundreds of millions of poor Indians live in and still we have all these clowns spending millions of dollars advertising a chimera called Incredible India on New York City buses, in the New Yorker and on CNBC.

India’s 11th Five-Year Plan document (2007-2012) blames open defecation primarily on the traditional behavioral pattern and lack of awareness of the people about the associated health hazards.

But we think abject poverty in the rural hinterlands and urban slums is a more significant factor in open defecation and ultimately poor sanitation. Of course, poor allocation of resources and corruption also play a role as they do in most public policies or lack of public policies in India.

Given the sanitation crisis in India, it’s futile to tell an Indian – ‘Don’t talk shit, because most likely feces has already entered into the mouths of most Indians due to poor sanitation.

Here’s an excerpt from the must-read Bloomberg story:

In the shadow of its new suburbs, torrid growth and 300-million-plus-strong middle class, India is struggling with a sanitation emergency. From the stream in Devi’s village to the nation’s holiest river, the Ganges, 75 percent of the country’s surface water is contaminated by human and agricultural waste and industrial effluent. Everyone in Indian cities is at risk of consuming human feces, if they’re not already, the Ministry of Urban Development concluded in September.

Did we hear anyone say Mera Bharat Mahan?

Related Stories:
Bloomberg Story: India Failing to Control Open Defecation Blunts Nation’s Growth
Incredible Shit-Hole – India Takes On the World

19 Responses to "India – A Shitty Country, Literally"

  1. joeantony   March 5, 2009 at 7:48 am

    disgusting…. the average indian’s age is 25.. means more sex and more population and more shit on the roads… I think just like they do for dogs… they need to perform mandatory vasectomy for men in india.. they just keep breeding without any idea Responds:

    Better sanitation, improvements in literacy, public health and public transportation, 1-child per family rule – without attention to these basic issues, it seems highly unlikely that things will change for the next million years in India.

    Could probably get worse as the population explodes over the next few decades.

  2. Amy G. Dala   March 5, 2009 at 8:07 am

    What a feel-good story to read in the morning! This buoys up my spirit.. The sweet after-taste/smell will linger in my mouth and nose for the entire day. Responds:

    We’re glad that we could buoy up your spirit for the many challenges ahead today. 🙂

  3. chaitu1987   March 5, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Did you know that a recent study reported that about 82% of the country’s population live on less than Rs 3000 (approx) per month and 42% live on less than Rs 1500 per month.
    And of course it is an open secret that India’s property and riches lie in the secret vaults of the Swiss bank. Responds:

    Yes, much of India lives constantly on the precipice of disaster.

    And a few build billion dollar houses not far from the Mumbai slums of several hundred thousand who have no toilets.

  4. IAmAnIdiot   March 5, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    You wrote: * Poor design of toilets in Maharashtra have led to their use for grain storage*
    We write: Anyways we gonna crash each other at movie shitty on ‘Yavarum Nalam’ Fist day first show….let me show you how well your favorite amazing America’s Movie Shitty’s amazing Toilet is designed and how shitty it is! Why don’t you write a review on how toilets in America are designed? ….ennnnda…India is cheap crappy shit for you…still u r also shitty Indian in your own words… Responds:

    Movie City is managed by Anil Ambani.

  5. IAmAnIdiot   March 5, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    [Deleted] Responds:

    Please write some sense, at least once in a while.

  6. singgakutty   March 6, 2009 at 2:36 am

    went to india last month.. from tiruchi airport to nagapattinam, 3hours driving and i saw not less than 10 annoying scene i.e. people shit along the road..

    i stayed there for 3 weeks, everything was fine except shit on the road, shit at the beach, shit everywhere..

    by the way, i m from malaysia.. and we don’t shit on the road.. Responds:

    Consider yourself lucky…you saw ‘only 10 annoying scenes.’ 🙂

    Absolutely zero attention to basic sanitation and the monkeys are jumping about Chandrayan lunar expeditions and nuclear weapons.

    Although we grew up in Tamil Nadu, we didn’t see much of these ‘annoying scenes’ because we lived in a ‘sanitized’ colony.

  7. Vasan   March 9, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    We are all human beings and we all respect something very closely to our heart…when you critize it can you be more concern of people around you?

    Please dont make hastry comments about a country which is not your’s…if it is your own country then you have lots of work to do than posting it here. Responds:

    1. Any mistakes in the Shitistics above?

    2. You write above: Please dont make hastry comments about a country which is not your’s…

    Hasty? It’s been what 62 years since Independence.

    Kiddo, we’re actually late.

  8. Vasan   March 9, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    If you can artichect the solution with your geeky skills of american incredibles…what are you waiting for? You know the problem. You have the solution. Who stops you? Are you busy in posting your blog??!! Responds:

    We’ve already said in one of the earlier comments/posts that we do (and have done) what we can.

  9. Vasan   March 9, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    A responsible man wont post such a silly articles! Its easy to point the fingers and pl be aware that all the rest of your fingers are pointing you…

    Whats the use for crying in darkness when you are not able to light the candle…its shows your inefficency,dont ask what your country has done my friend, ask what have you done for your country.

    You deserve to be scolded/beated/killed for your does reflects about your family and your upbringing…May Allah bless you!!! Responds:

    You write above: A responsible man wont post such a silly articles!

    Silly? Kiddo, have you lost your marbles.

    The ‘shitistics‘ in the above post is a national tragedy over which all of us have to hang our heads in shame.

  10. Vasan   March 9, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    joeantony has been [trash talk] India and he is out to comment here??!!! Responds:

    We don’t want to see filth against other commenters again. Comprende?

  11. Vasan   March 9, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    2. You write above: Please dont make hastry comments about a country which is not your’s…

    Hasty? It’s been what 62 years since Independence.

    Kiddo, we’re actually late


    Who says we don’t respect our country. God Bless America. 😉

  12. Vasan   March 9, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    ELSE YOU DIED SOON. Responds:

    You write above: ELSE YOU DIED SOON.

    Some asylum in your area is most certainly missing one inmate.

  13. joeantony   March 11, 2009 at 7:03 am

    Vasan : joeantony has been [trash talk] India and he is out to comment here??!!!

    Dude, I think you got red by comment on mandatory vasectomy… You need to pay a visit to those 10 road shitters who singacutty saw, all of them will have atleast 2-3 kids and the female will have another one ready in her womb.. My comment is not silly, its DANGEROUS to let them breed like this, they dont have any idea on their contribution to aggravate the situation. As a matter of fact they dont breed out of interest on breeding, they are lazy to wear a (freely distributed all over india) condom, may be some are too ignorant still.

  14. joeantony   March 11, 2009 at 7:06 am


    lets salute our nation for being the first in the whole world on shit manufacturing and public availability of shit.

  15. What_if   March 14, 2009 at 8:05 am

    Women in Haryana have found a novel way to solve this sanitation issue.—Haryana-slogan-hits-the-mark/articleshow/4259665.cms

    The statistics quoted are impressive..
    Since 2005, 1.41 million toilets have been built across the agriculture-dependent state that surrounds the national capital on three sides. Out of the 1,417,960 toilets constructed from 2005 to Jan 31 this year under the total sanitation campaign, 947,828 units were built by families above the poverty line and 470,132 by those below the poverty line.

    Still, its a Looooonnnng way to go …before all the 665 millions have an enclosed area… to let it go in privacy…To avoid the ultimate indignity of having to do it in the open. Responds:

    Interesting piece.

    Hope the below campaign (excerpt from the story in your link) spreads to every corner of India:

    Na byahun beti us ghar mein jismein na ho shauchalaya (Won’t get my daughter married into a household which does not have a toilet).

  16. guzz14   March 14, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    @ joeantony- I do not think that India needs your suggestions as in what they are supposed to do to control the population.

    @ joeanthony,singgakutty
    And as far as shitty is concerned those Indians whom you see shitting on the roads are much cleaner than you people coz after shittin they clean it with water and not like u just wipe it off with a piece of paper and move ahead. So its better never point your fingers on India coz you will repent doing that…..

  17. guzz14   March 14, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    [Deleted because of repetition]

  18. STG   April 5, 2010 at 12:04 am

    Why this old post showing on top as recent? Responds:

    Just in case, some of our readers missed this nice piece earlier.

    What better way to start the week than with India’s unique contribution to the great fragrances of the world. 😉

    France has the legendary Chanel No 5, the U.S. has Eternity, the U.K. has London, Italy has Envy AND Incredible India’s peerless contribution to the world’s list of top fragrances is the inescapable stench of Shit across the breadth of the benighted land.

  19. iamsumu   April 5, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Wow a lot of hot air in that article.

    Took me about 15 minutes, but you could’ve filled a zeppelin with that.

    First off I’m not going to deny the premise. Yes crap is a huge problem in India. Does it lead other crappy problems like disease? Yes. What is a health-care issue has been bundled with India’s economic growth to beat it down like a pack mule.
    Any fast growing or large grown nation will have significant health-care problems. The author cleverly ignores the larger issue about environmental pollution that the “developed” nations have plunged this planet into over the last century. If he wants to talk tons of crap, there are worse things than crap. Crap at the least is bio degradable. Plastics are not, mining waste is not, nuclear waste is not (at least in a few thousand years). Or for that matter the pollution in the oceans which destroys marine life. Perhaps India should package its crap and send it over to Pakistan and China, the same way they send their crap to ours.

    BTW could you post a link to the UNICEF line you quoted about a 1000 children dying due to diarrhea? Responds:

    1. You write above: BTW could you post a link to the UNICEF line you quoted about a 1000 children dying due to diarrhea?

    Here’s the UNICEF press release with a short excerpt (vaguely remember seeing a UNICEF report too):

    In India, diarrhoea is a major killer with about 1,000 children below the age of five dying every day due to diarrhoea alone. Handwashing with soap is one of the most inexpensive ways to prevent diarrhoeal disease. Proper handling and safe storage of water reduces incidences of diarrhea by nearly half.

    2. You write: What is a health-care issue has been bundled with India’s economic growth to beat it down like a pack mule.

    Not clear what you mean but it’s the unevenness of economic growth in India that’s led to a lot of crap in India, literally (as per the shitistics in the above post) and figuratively (like the Maoist insurgency that’s now spread to several states and just yesterday led to another attack. This time in the most backward Koraput district of very backward Orissa state).

    3. Agree on the pollution and environmental holocaust caused by the big corporations, both in the ‘developed’ nations and by way of dumping their ‘crap’ in the Third World.

    4. You write: Perhaps India should package its crap and send it over to Pakistan and China, the same way they send their crap to ours.

    As for Pakistan and the land of the Yellow Monkeys, won’t the world be better off if both disappeared off the face of the planet.

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