By Juan L. Mercado
Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen posed a simple question in his new book, “An Uncertain Glory.” Where do more than 600 million Indians defecate? asked this Cambridge and Harvard professor. “Half of all Indians have no toilet.” That triggered an international uproar.
By Conrado de Quiros
It brought to mind again something I saw in Bangladesh in the mid-1990s. We were in a village that was struggling to crawl up to the 20th century, never mind the 21st. The village prided itself with an elementary school that drew kids from neighboring villages. Most of the living quarters there were just small huts made of thatch and mud and stone, except for the principal’s which stood on hollow blocks. Useful, one of our guides said with a laugh, for when he beat up his wife. Apparently, wife-beating was fairly common there. The hollow blocks helped mute the sounds of violence and keening, which allowed the principal to keep up his high standing in the neighborhood.