23rd International Conference on The Future of Asia

Monday, June and Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Bindeshwar Pathak

Bindeshwar Pathak

Founder, Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, India

Sociologist, social activist, and Founder of Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement, Dr. Pathak believes the toilet is a tool for social change. He has received a great deal of national and international recognition for his work, including the Stockholm Water Prize in 2009, and he is considered a pioneer for social reform.


Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak founded Sulabh International in 1970 to spearhead a movement for restoration of human rights and dignity to the former untouchables and for providing safe and hygienic human waste disposal system for millions of Indians who defecated in the open. In both these areas, his struggle and achievements over the years have been outstanding emancipation and rehabilitation of thousands of scavengers, and his invention of Sulabh pour-flush, on-site compost toilet (recognized by the UNDP and WHO as one of the best global technologies for disposal of human waste) and construction of 1.5 million household toilets as well as 8,500 pay-and-use toilet complexes being used daily by 20 million people.


Like James Watt, who gave the concept of Steam Engine and Alexander Fleming who invented Penicillin and others, Dr. Pathak also invented, innovated and developed the technology of two pit flush ecological compost toilet and named it as Sulabh Shauchalaya. The two-pit pour-flush Sulabh toilet technology has over the years been approved and recommended for use by the national and international agencies. Sulabh technology has been featured by the BBC Horizons as one of the five unique inventions of the world. UNDP, UNICEF, UN-HABITAT, UNCHS, Government of India, China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, South Africa, etc. all have adopted this technology. Sulabh has also trained engineers, administrators, planners, and architects from 15 African countries. Though the manual scavenging still continues in some parts of the country and millions of Indians still lack basic sanitation, Dr. Pathak has shown the way to overcome the problem, and the ongoing Clean India Mission of the Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is a decisive historic step in that direction.

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