A feisty woman in Maharashtra who sold her gold ‘mangalsutra’ – the wedding chain and pendant – to raise money to construct a toilet in her remote village home has earned kudos from people, and a felicitation by Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde.
Sangita Awhale, from Saikkhed village in Washim district of Vidarbha, recently set off a social revolution by insisting on women`s dignity and a toilet for the womenfolk in her humble dwelling.
Her husband Narayan ignored her demand, pleading resource constraints, and even her in-laws did not support her, she told on Thursday.
The womenfolk in her home were compelled to go to nearby fields to answer nature`s calls, dodging stares from men.
“Toilet is a basic requirement for any family, not ornaments. I decided to sell my gold ‘mangalsutra’ to finance the construction of a toilet in my home,” she said in the minister’s office on Thursday afternoon.
Her feat earned admiration from not only her family but the villagers, and as the news spread through local media, from people across Maharashtra. For, ‘mangalsutra’ is not a mere chain and a pendant, but dearest to a married Maharashtrian woman as it symbolises her wedlock.
“We want to construct maximum number of toilets in the state and shall ensure that women don’t face any embarrassment on this count,” Munde said, lauding Awhale’s unique initiative.
As a token of appreciation for taking forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Munde presented Awhale with a brand new ‘mangalsutra’, which she asked her husband Narayan to tie it round his wife’s neck amidst cheers and claps.
Awhale expressed hope that now more men in villages would heed to their womenfolk’s demands for toilets to ensure they meet a basic necessity as well as dignity.