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Gandhiji's toilet to be displayed

A replica of the 'mobile toilet' used by father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi will soon be displayed at the Sabarmati Ashram here along with his other belongings, for public viewing.

india Updated: Sep 14, 2008 18:42 IST

A replica of the 'mobile toilet' used by father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi will soon be displayed at the Sabarmati Ashram here along with his other belongings, for public viewing.

The Ashram will also be displaying replica of a system designed by Gandhiji for washing utensils using minimum amount of water. These models will be open for public viewing in a couple of weeks, ashram sources said.

"Before coming to India, Gandhiji was based in South Africa and London, where they had proper toilets. But, when he came to India, he saw people answering to nature's call out in the open. He felt it was an unhygienic system," trustee of the Sabarmati Ashram, Amrut Modi said.

"Gandhiji felt that there should be proper toilet for people in the Ashram. He designed a mobile lavatory, four feet in length and breadth with a pit one feet deep. He then made a wooden frame around the hole and used tin sheets to cover the area," Modi said.

"After being used to its maximum capacity the pit was covered with mud and the entire structure was shifted to a different location. The human excreta was allowed to decompose and was later used as manure in the fields." he said.

According to Modi, similar toilet blocks were used whenever there was a huge gathering of people in the ashram or during any public meeting in any part of the country.

"The 'moblie toilet' designed by Gandhiji were operational till 1955, after which permanent toilets were built in the Sabarmati ashram premises. Since the old structures had started disintegrating, the then ashram authorities decided to get rid of it," Modi said.

According to him, they have got a model of the 'mobile toilet' made after studying the original design through available literature and interaction with other Gandhians.

About the utensil washing system designed by Gandhiji, Modi said,"The dirty vessels from the ashram kitchen were washed in the river and they used lot of water and energy. So Gandhiji designed a system which used less water and did not put strain on the person cleaning the vessels."