Some time back, while surveying the low income areas of Madhya Pradesh to start a sanitation project, an woman member of NGO stopped by one of the houses to drink water. However, she was taken aback to see the women of house looking horrified as she drank an entire glass of water. When she asked the reason for their surprise, she was told that, no matter how thirsty they were, women in that area could never take the risk of drinking a full glass of water at one go during the day. Surprisingly, it was not the quality of the water that compelled women to drink less of it, but their 'imprisonment by daylight'. With no toilets inside the house or in the village, women and girls must go to the nearby fields to relieve themselves. But modesty forbids them to do so during the daytime when they are in full view of men. They have no choice but to limit themselves to a few sips of water all day, so that they can wait until dark before needing to use the fields. Although sometimes a newlywed woman leaves her husband's home and returns only after a toilet is built, largely the women folk of India remained "Imprisoned by Daylight".
In the shadow of its new suburbs, torrid growth and 300-million-plus-strong middle class, India is struggling with a sanitation emergency. From the stream in village to the nation’s holiest river, the Ganges, 75 percent of the country’s surface water is contaminated by human and agricultural waste and industrial effluent. Everyone in Indian cities is at risk of consuming human feces, if they’re not already, the Ministry of Urban Development concluded. A report by the WHO and the UNICEF says that India has a shocking number of 58% of all people who defecate in the open. China and Indonesia share the second place with just 5% of their population not having toilets. Pakistan and Ethiopia are third with 4.5% such people.