Rohan S. Katepallewar
The practice of open defecation in India has been a riddle to date and numerous efforts are being made to decode the reasons behind it. Studies spearheaded by Diane Coffey, Dean Spears, and their team, point out the deeply rooted caste-based norms in Indian society as a basic reason for non-acceptance of toilets in the day-to-day life of the rural population. The SQUAT survey indicates that in most parts of India, the idea of purity/impurity associated with toilet maintenance obstructs people from selecting affordable twin pit toilets. However, while implementing Swach Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM) in rural parts of Chhattisgarh, the authors of this paper observed that caste-based inhibitions are not very significant among local communities. Instead, there are other social conditioning processes which obstruct people from selecting the twin pit-based toilet design. Accordingly, a dedicated strategy is employed to convince people about the benefits of twin pit-based toilets. As a result, it is found that the rural population rapidly accepts the low-cost toilet design. This paper presents the findings of the detailed survey conducted in rural Raipur; it brings out several processes which condition people towards ‘septic tank’-based toilets and finally, it summarizes the approach adopted by the authors to promote twin pit toilet design. This paper is the outcome of factors observed and analysed by both the authors during the implementation of SBM in the villages of Chhattisgarh state.