'Untouchable' exhibition traces steps towards emancipation

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New Delhi, Oct 1 (UNI) In the first-ever exhibition to 'celebrate' the emancipation of untouchables in the country, NGO Sulabh International today organised a photo-show that marks their journey from the depths of humiliation to the hallowed portals of United Nations.

Calling for initiating a culture of toilets accross the country, which we presently lack, 'Sulabh' founder Bindeshwari Pathak speaking on the occasion, said the exhibition paints the canvas of how anyone can bring about change in society - however small a way.

''Tomorrow on Gandhi Jayanti we will take a 'freedom from filth' vow at Rajghat to obliterate scavenging from the country and by end of the year a beginning would be made by finishing the scourge from Alwar totally.'' The photographs, spanning over five years (2003-08) when the 'movement' to liberate scavengers began from Alwar in Rajasthan, depicts how the women were liberated from their daily chore of carrying human excreta on their heads to getting trained in a skill and begin life afresh and then reach the United Nations to celebrate their emancipation, he told the media.

Expressing his gratitude to the United Nations for recognising 'Sulabh' as one of 50 best business models (in the world) serving the poor, for its its low-cost, safe sanitation system, Mr Pathak said the entire effort revolves round Gandhiji's avowed objective and dream for a 'Azad Bharat aur Swaksh Bharat' (Independent India and Clean India).

''Sulabh is also working with former US President Bill Clinton's 'Clinton Global Initiative' to improve sanitation facilities in Haiti, Madagascar, Dominic Republic, Angola and Ethiopia.'' Quoting President Pratibha Patil, whom he met along with the 36 women after returning from the United Nations, the Sulabh patriarch said untouchability was a blot on the nation and it must be removed and through our NGO's 'mission sanitation' we were taking tiny steps to bring about small changes wherever possible.

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