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Old 07-25-2017, 01:56 AM
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Default Indian excreta attitudes...

Hello All,

I was reminded of Jeffyjeep's visit to India (see: http://www.oldrocketforum.com/showt...ight=Back+India ) by two interesting YouTube videos that I came across today. Both involve the common attitudes toward public urination and defecation in India, which are tied up with their notions of caste; they are:

“Ugly Indian” www.youtube.com/watch?v=tf1VA5jqmRo

“The surprising truth of open defecation in India” www.youtube.com/watch?v=V35Vw29tay0
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Old 07-25-2017, 07:01 AM
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Man, is that ever a $hitty post.........

Last edited by Joe Wooten : 07-26-2017 at 06:58 AM.
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Old 07-25-2017, 09:53 AM
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Just heard a bit on the radio about an upcoming Indian romance movie that tries to make indoor bathroom use more acceptable.

Changing ingrained habits based on superstitious fears and "folk wisdom" can take decades.
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Old 07-25-2017, 06:42 PM
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I don't get it...

I mean, being from a rural background, I'm quite familiar with the concept of answering "nature's call" out in the open...

It was common practice in most areas to have a "privy" or outhouse even up until about the 1940's or 50's... no great technology is needed, just build a portable wooden shed on runners, dig a hole about four feet deep, take a dump in it til it's full, then dig another hole a few feet away and cover the old one over with the dirt removed once you move the shed over the new hole. No "digging it out" or other handling of the crap... it rots down naturally under the ground... most of it's rotted by the time you cover it up. The same area CAN be used again over time, you just have to "rotate" where you put the thing and give everything time to break down and the soil to settle (a few years) before moving over that spot again.

Now, in built up areas (cities) the problems of disposal of human waste is much more difficult-- it was common practice in even the most cosmopolitan European and US cities, even during the 18th and early 19th centuries, to simply dump one's "chamber pot" out an open window into the street or gutter below. That's one reason why so many "well to do" people had "country estates" in which to live during summertime, when the warmth made the cities stifling and the stench unbearable, compared to winter. At any rate, even the ancient Romans (and some other civilizations) had working public sewers that provided places to relieve oneself and dispose of the household's bodily waste without having to "dump it in the street"...

If her numbers are true, then it seems to me to be much more of a cultural problem than any real lack of technology or capability... it's perfectly acceptable to squat just anywhere and let fly, so why go to any more difficulty than that... Just very backward to me...

Later! OL J R
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Old 07-25-2017, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luke strawwalker
It was common practice in most areas to have a "privy" or outhouse even up until about the 1940's or 50's...
I had relatives in the 60's and 70's in central Kentucky that lived out in the country. Indoor plumbing was often limited. One great aunt had a plumbed kitchen, but would go next door to her daughter's house to bathe. And there was a good old fashioned privy out back that old Billy Doug recalls using a few times

In fact, the street I grew up adjoined an old farm house that had a privy in back. It was no longer in service, but it was next to the garden so it was used as a shed for storing garden tools.


Quote:
...no great technology is needed, just build a portable wooden shed on runners, dig a hole about four feet deep, take a dump in it til it's full, then dig another hole a few feet away and cover the old one over with the dirt removed once you move the shed over the new hole.
For the effort they were putting into digging their extra large holes (in the video) , they weren't that far from digging a septic tank hole. Assuming the soil conditions are sufficient, that's a hole that only needs to be dug once (in theory).

Doug

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Old 07-25-2017, 10:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luke strawwalker
If her numbers are true, then it seems to me to be much more of a cultural problem than any real lack of technology or capability... it's perfectly acceptable to squat just anywhere and let fly, so why go to any more difficulty than that... Just very backward to me...
Achieving cultural change is difficult, and, most importantly, requires a good education system, and I'm afraid that's lacking in many places in India (but surely improving).

Today's technology is helping a lot - the internet is nearly ubiquitous now - so changing behavior is more do-able there now than in the past. I was there for a few weeks about 9 years ago on business. I was at a hotel in Mysore (near BFE) but we had internet access One day, standing in the lobby watching American broadcasts on the TV, I had the realization that the recent improvements in wireless communications of the previous ~15 years had brought knowledge and culture to many corners of the planet that had been largely disconnected from the rest of the world. The rest of the world is catching up with us Westerners
...
One thing in the videos which is dead on is how the sewer systems work in India. There are troughs cast in concrete under the sidewalks, which double as the covers for the troughs. And these troughs stink. Altho that may be due to lack of rain runoff keeping them flushed as much as being due to sanitary sewage in them. But it was quite a surprise to me to see how things were done there

Doug

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Old 07-26-2017, 12:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luke strawwalker
I don't get it...

I mean, being from a rural background, I'm quite familiar with the concept of answering "nature's call" out in the open...

It was common practice in most areas to have a "privy" or outhouse even up until about the 1940's or 50's... no great technology is needed, just build a portable wooden shed on runners, dig a hole about four feet deep, take a dump in it til it's full, then dig another hole a few feet away and cover the old one over with the dirt removed once you move the shed over the new hole. No "digging it out" or other handling of the crap... it rots down naturally under the ground... most of it's rotted by the time you cover it up. The same area CAN be used again over time, you just have to "rotate" where you put the thing and give everything time to break down and the soil to settle (a few years) before moving over that spot again.

Now, in built up areas (cities) the problems of disposal of human waste is much more difficult-- it was common practice in even the most cosmopolitan European and US cities, even during the 18th and early 19th centuries, to simply dump one's "chamber pot" out an open window into the street or gutter below. That's one reason why so many "well to do" people had "country estates" in which to live during summertime, when the warmth made the cities stifling and the stench unbearable, compared to winter. At any rate, even the ancient Romans (and some other civilizations) had working public sewers that provided places to relieve oneself and dispose of the household's bodily waste without having to "dump it in the street"...

If her numbers are true, then it seems to me to be much more of a cultural problem than any real lack of technology or capability... it's perfectly acceptable to squat just anywhere and let fly, so why go to any more difficulty than that... Just very backward to me...

Later! OL J R
That point (digging out the pits after a time) didn't make sense to me, either. I know people here in Alaska who use such facilities (outhouses are quite common here), and they practice what could be called "Crap(per) Rotation," as you mentioned above. They don't dig out the "full" pits at all, but just dig new ones--the old ones do "microbiologically self-clean" themselves, even though our soil temperature is lower than the soil temperatures down south. Since it works here, it must work more quickly in locations with warmer soil, which increases the microbial activity. (Septic systems also work here, although in many cases they must be periodically "fed" with flour or other things that increase the microbes' activity--and their production of heat.) Also:

I thank you all very much for your replies! This self-made predicament (which is just one of several from which Indians suffer) reminds me of a lyric in DEVO's song "Love Without Anger," on their "New Traditionalists" album:

** "Why believe in things that make it tough on you?" ** Now:

While I don't think that taking that notion to its limit is a good idea (being honest and doing what is right often 'makes it tough on you'), when the 'things' in question cause harm to everyone without helping anyone (neither the people who do them, nor anyone else), then they're just stupid, self-harming habits that should be abandoned. Their belief that touching body wastes makes them permanently "impure and polluted" means that every one of us here is, by Hindu standards, an untouchable (they call untouchables--who are considered so low as to not belong to any caste--"dalits" today; this word means "broken" [which certainly describes what others do to them if they dare to 'corrupt' members of castes]), but:

Washing with soap and water quickly fixes that problem, but to them (not all of them, of course), this doesn't remove the "impurity." It saddens me that so many members of an ancient society that can send spacecraft to the Moon and Mars are benighted--rather than enlightened (which, ironically, is a goal of a devout Hindu)--concerning the benefits of basic hygiene.
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Old 07-26-2017, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luke strawwalker
I don't get it...

I mean, being from a rural background, I'm quite familiar with the concept of answering "nature's call" out in the open...

It was common practice in most areas to have a "privy" or outhouse even up until about the 1940's or 50's... no great technology is needed, just build a portable wooden shed on runners, dig a hole about four feet deep, take a dump in it til it's full, then dig another hole a few feet away and cover the old one over with the dirt removed once you move the shed over the new hole. No "digging it out" or other handling of the crap... it rots down naturally under the ground... most of it's rotted by the time you cover it up. The same area CAN be used again over time, you just have to "rotate" where you put the thing and give everything time to break down and the soil to settle (a few years) before moving over that spot again.

Now, in built up areas (cities) the problems of disposal of human waste is much more difficult-- it was common practice in even the most cosmopolitan European and US cities, even during the 18th and early 19th centuries, to simply dump one's "chamber pot" out an open window into the street or gutter below. That's one reason why so many "well to do" people had "country estates" in which to live during summertime, when the warmth made the cities stifling and the stench unbearable, compared to winter. At any rate, even the ancient Romans (and some other civilizations) had working public sewers that provided places to relieve oneself and dispose of the household's bodily waste without having to "dump it in the street"...

If her numbers are true, then it seems to me to be much more of a cultural problem than any real lack of technology or capability... it's perfectly acceptable to squat just anywhere and let fly, so why go to any more difficulty than that... Just very backward to me...

Later! OL J R


My maternal granddad believed indoor toilets were unsanitary and refused to put one in his house for decades. They had a 3 holer outhouse about 40 yards from the house tht everyone used. Finally in 1970 when Granny got really sick and could no longer make the trek to it, he relented and he got all the grandsons and the two uncles still living at home and we dug a cesspool laid in the piping and put in a flusher.
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Old 07-26-2017, 10:11 AM
stefanj stefanj is offline
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Heard a great podcast -- and episode of "Stuff You Should Know" -- about the introduction of outhouses.

They weren't a "thing" in many places until a deliberate program, early in the 20th century, to fight parasitic worms that lived in human waste.

Rather than being a backward thing, a properly built and serviced outhouse was a major advance.

I've used 'em plenty of times, staying at various wilderness cabins.

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Old 07-26-2017, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Wooten
My maternal granddad believed indoor toilets were unsanitary and refused to put one in his house for decades. They had a 3 holer outhouse about 40 yards from the house tht everyone used. Finally in 1970 when Granny got really sick and could no longer make the trek to it, he relented and he got all the grandsons and the two uncles still living at home and we dug a cesspool laid in the piping and put in a flusher.
In fairness to him, had I not grown up with indoor toilets, and then later I had heard about them, I too would likely have considered them unsanitary, just based on the concept. (Bill Gates has--through his and his wife's foundation, I think--worked to install thousands of indoor toilets in India, but the common reaction to them--by people who have never seen or used them--is: "Why should I have a room in my house that contains filth, when I can go out into the bushes far from my house to excrete it instead?") Also:

I have read that in Indonesia, many people (mostly men) use indoor toilets, but in a different way than is intended. Americans who have lived and worked there chuckle knowingly at the mention of "footprints on the toilet seat." The "Indonesian way" is to *stand up* on the seat to urinate down into the bowl. (Hopefully they ^don't^ do that for ridding themselves of solid waste [or its 'occasionally liquefied' form]--those splashes would not be pleasant to be hit by, and I couldn't blame janitors who quit after finding them on the floor...)
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