Pehle Sauchalaya Phir Devalaya: A dialectical study of the sacred and profane
Had Shakespeare been alive he would have rephrased his one-liner ‘what’s in the name’ to ‘what’s in the toilet’. Afterall, after hearing so much of brouhaha over toilet of late, he would have gone into a spin.
Temple and toilet both begin with letter ‘T’ but the homogeneity stops here. Beyond that, they don’t look eye to eye. In reality, both are antithetical to each other – both can’t peacefully (and respectfully) co-exist; though, there are of course two gentlemen – Mr. Jairam Ramesh and Mr. Narendra Modi – who are leaving no stone unturned to help the two stay together. After all, both toilet and temple satisfy the two most fundamental urges of humans – defecation and salvation, strictly in the given order because the first is indisputably more emergent in nature; one can hope to think of salvation only when the bowels are less nagging. That’s why Mr. Modi concluded – first Sauchalaya (toilets) then Devalayas (temples). No wonder, he’d regard Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak as the highest priest of the sauchalaya.
Nevertheless, toilet is the first step to salvation.
“The flush toilet…” Thomas Lynch had said, “more than any single invention, has ‘civilized’ us in a way that religion and law could never accomplish.”
Karl Marx, of course, would have voted the urge for defecation as the foremost urge of humans because it is the only urge that is common to both the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Moreover, he dismissed temples in as much as he took religion to be the opium of masses; hence he considered salvation nothing more than a wild goose chase. Thus, in his orientation he stood closer to Mr. Jairam Ramesh who considered the toilets to be of more important piece of human architecture than temples. Maybe because he agreed with Bauvard, who once said: “Spending one’s last moments prostrated before the toilet is the supreme act of repentance. It allows one to relieve a heavy inner burden.”
But, there are forces who are at daggers drawn to keep the temple and toilets at arm’s length; after all both of them lie at the extreme ends of sacredness and profanity. But, no worries; all the believers in the dialectical process of evolution of history would agree that the day is not far away when the two antithetical entities of devalaya and sauchalaya would bring forth a synthesis where the two would co-exist in harmony in each Indian house and would help India achieve the tag of a ‘no open defecation zone’
Krishna kumar @ThoughtPourri