Thursday, June 02, 2005
Come Join the Potty 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
Toilets, toilets and more toiletsWhat everyday object is an endless source of humor, revulsion, giggles, curiosity, embarrassment and relief? No, not the telephone - the toilet! If you're looking for fascinating potty research and development, look outside the continental U.S. - Asia seems to be the toilet tech hotspot.

New Delhi, India's new Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, founded by Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, is a museum dedicated to the past, present and future of this ubiquitous hygienic appliance. A fascinating read: Dr. Pathak's History of Toilets manuscript, presented at the annual International Symposium on Public Toilets held in Hong Kong on May 25-27, 1995 (the 2006 World Toilet Expo will be held in Bangkok, and previous colloquia have traditionally been held in Asian nations). Here is the introduction:
Unlike body functions like dance, drama and songs, defecation is considered very lowly. As a result very few scholars documented precisely the toilet habits of our predecessors. The Nobel Prize winner for Medicine (1913) Charles Richet attributes this silence to the disgust that arises from noxiousness and lack of usefulness of human waste. Others point out that as sex organs are the same or nearer to the organs of defecation, those who dared to write on toilet habits were dubbed either as erotic or as vulgar and, thus, despised in academic and social circles.

It was true for example of Urdu poets in India, English poets in Britain and French poets in France. However, as the need to defecate is irrepressible, so were some writers who despite social as well as academic stigma wrote on the subject and gave us at least an idea in regard to toilet habits of human beings. Based on this rudimentary information, one can say that development in civilisation and sanitation have been co-terminus. The more developed was the society, the more sanitised it became and vice versa.

Toilet is part of history of human hygiene which is a critical chapter in the history of human civilisation and which cannot be isolated to be accorded unimportant position in history. Toilet is a critical link between order and disorder and between good and bad environment. [read full article]