Rhys Blakely in The Times of London:
Courtship can be an intricate business in India, but the mothers of the northern state of Haryana have a simple message for men who call on their daughters: “No toilet, no bride.”
The slogan – often lengthened in Hindi to “If you don't have a proper lavatory in your house, don't even think about marrying my daughter” – has been plastered across villages in the region as part of a drive to boost the number of pukka facilities. In a country where more households have TV sets than lavatories, it is one of the most successful efforts to combat the chronic shortage of proper plumbing.
That is probably partly because of the country's skewed sex ratio, with 8 per cent more men than women, leading to a “bride shortage”. Woman generally have also become more vocal in their resentment at having to relieve themselves outside, giving brides more leverage in premarital bargaining.
In India it is estimated that more than 660 million people still defaecate in the open – a big cause of a host of diseases, from diarrhoea to polio. It is women, activists say, who suffer the most.
More here. [Thanks to Ruchira Paul.]