The television ads on Swachh Bharat Mission featuring Bollywood actress Vidya Balan seem to be bearing fruits at least in Rajasthan.
About 22 women of Mahila Sadan, run by the social justice and empowerment department, asked their would-be husbands before agreeing to marry them on Thursday whether they had functional toilets at their home. Surprisingly, all had toilets barring four.
Sadan assistant director Shraddha Gautam said the four who did not have toilets, however, got them built before marriage. And all of them had to submit photographs of the toilets as a proof, she said.
Gautam said this year the Mahila Sadan had got the maximum knots tied in 10 years. She said soon after Balika Sadan girls attain 18 years, they are sent to the Mahila Sadan .
On Thursday, all the 22 women, aged between 18 and 42 years, chose their life partners in a swayamvar-like manner (choosing partners on their own). Gautam said of the 500 applications received, 75 were shortlisted and then their backgrounds were checked by the social justice and empowerment department officers through home visits and talks with the neighbours. She said only those with a clean record were allowed to interact with the Mahila Sadan women. However, this wasn’t just a formality. Many women, who rejected some men after an interaction, were allowed to interact with others and choose their life partners, Gautam said.
Eight out of 22 women had speech and hearing disabilities. Two of them chose their life partners with similar disabilities, while the rest chose normal partners. Gautam dismissed that there would be a communication problem between some partners and said a regular interaction would help them develop a language which both would eventually understand.
The newlywed were gifted television sets , coolers, beds, mattresses, sewing machines, utensils and other household items along with some cash by some social activists and organisations.
Social justice and empowerment minister Arun Chaturvedi was scheduled to attend the marriage ceremony but a meeting with Gujjar leaders kept him away.