Thursday 14 December 2017

Toilet humour? Indian village adopts Trump name in charity's sanitation drive

A photograph of US President Donald Trump is displayed at the entrance of Trump Sulabh Village in Maroda, India (Tsering Topgyal/AP)
A photograph of US President Donald Trump is displayed at the entrance of Trump Sulabh Village in Maroda, India (Tsering Topgyal/AP)

A toilet charity is leading an effort to rename a tiny north Indian village after President Donald Trump, saying the gesture is meant to honour relations with the US and draw support for better sanitation in India.

The new name, Trump Sulabh Village, is not official and so will not appear on maps.

The charity's name is Sulabh International, after the Hindi word for "accessible", which is meant to describe the simple pit toilets it builds for free across a country that has too few.

Many of the 400 villagers said they had no idea who Mr Trump is.

But they are delighted that their village elders agreed to the promotional gimmick because it also means they will receive free toilets in each of the village's 60 or so mud-built houses.

None of the funding for the new toilets is coming from Mr Trump or the US.

"I don't understand why they couldn't name it after our own prime minister," said construction worker Sajid Hussain.

Still, he is happy about the toilet-building initiative and hopes it is followed with funding for education, electricity and other improvements.

For an inauguration attended by the media, organisers coached villagers to shout "Zindabad!", which means "Long live!", each time they shouted Mr Trump's name.

The ceremony was staged just before Prime Minister Narendra Modi heads to Washington for talks with Mr Trump.

The charity's founder, Bindeshwar Pathak, acknowledged that naming the village after Mr Trump was a stunt aimed at garnering more attention - and hopefully funding - for their efforts to improve sanitation across India.

"Trump is the president of the leading nation in the world, so that's why I chose him," he said.

The fact that there are few toilets in the dusty village of Maroda, about 70km (44 miles) north of New Delhi, is not unusual.

More than 60% of the country's 1.3 billion people still go to the toilet in the open, and dysentery kills hundreds of millions of children every year.

AP

Press Association

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