Bride sets condition: toilet first, match later

Toilet - Ek Prem Katha echo in Murshidabad girl's sanitation rider

  • Published 29.08.18
The wedding card bearing the picture of a toilet

Burwan (Murshidabad): A real-life tale seemingly inspired by Toilet - Ek Prem Katha played out in Murshidabad's Burwan when a prospective bride insisted on a toilet at her would-be husband's home before the match was finalised.

That wasn't all for Shamshal Begum. The 23-year-old, a prominent face in the local administration's drive against open defecation, got Tousef Reja Ahmed's family to use the picture of a toilet on invitation cards for the August 30 wedding.

"We have invited only those who have toilets at home," said Shamshal, referring to the 500-odd cards.

A higher secondary pass-out, Shamshal couldn't continue further studies after her father died of heart attack a few years ago.

Tousef, 27, confessed being initially astonished when Shamshal asked him whether his family had a proper toilet at home.

Tousef Reja Ahmed

"I was initially surprised at the unusual conditions but agreed to all. I told her we have a toilet and will not prevent her from creating awareness against open defecation and using a picture of a toilet on the wedding card," said Tousef, a matriculate.

The cellphone shop owner at Burwan's Pathanpara said the episode reminded him of Toilet-Ek Prem Katha, the 2017 blockbuster starring Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar. In the movie, Bhumi's character leaves Akshay's home and returns to her parents' place as his home has no toilet. Akshay's character then embarks on a mission to win back his love by getting a lavatory built and encouraging others in the village to do the same.

Shamshal's mother Charnihara Biwi said when she got married 30 years ago, there was no concept of home toilets. "I initially wondered whether the groom's family would accept my daughter's conditions. But they did and even appreciated her."

Shamshal Begum

Shamshal drew praise from officials. "She could be the face of our mission in the future. The idea is very unique and we appreciate it," said Shyamal Kanti Shikari, the joint block development officer.

Murshidabad is yet to be declared Open Defecation-Free (ODF) and has set a goal of 12.7-lakh toilets under the Mission Nirmal Bangla project.

"We have completed constructing the toilets. We expect the district to be declared Nirmal soon," Murshidabad collector P. Ulaganathan said.

Pictures by Chayan Majumdar