Toilet charity renames Indian village after Trump

Aid group Sulabh International, which says it has built 1.5 million toilets across India, has set up "Trump Village" signs around Marora, hoping the gesture will raise awareness of a major social problem in the country.
Aid group Sulabh International, which says it has built 1.5 million toilets across India, has set up "Trump Village" signs around Marora, hoping the gesture will raise awareness of a major social problem in the country.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MARORA (India) • A toilet charity has renamed an Indian village after US President Donald Trump as part of a promotional push to raise cash and support for better sanitation.

Sulabh International, which says it has built 1.5 million toilets across India, has set up "Trump Village" signs around the small community in the northern state of Haryana, each bearing Mr Trump's portrait.

Neither the White House nor the Trump family's commercial empire has given permission for the rebranding of the village, better known locally as Marora, the charity said. It was organised as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to Washington for his first meeting with Mr Trump.

Sulabh International founder Bindeshwar Pathak said he hoped the gesture would win enough publicity and good will to raise awareness of a major social problem.

"Such a step might spur rich people, companies and other donors to donate money," he said. "Once basic infrastructure is built, the popularity of this village will grow and it will act as a motivational factor."

The change is purely symbolic - the name Marora will continue to appear on maps and signs.

Locals have said they are prepared to embrace the new title - Trump Sulabh Village in its full form - and any good things it brings with it. "All our problems such as electricity and water will be addressed by renaming," said resident Mohammed Joharuddin.

Village head Shaukat Ali said he is grateful for the charity's work. "A toilet is being constructed, a road is being built and a community hall will also be built," he said.

Fewer than a third of India's 1.3 billion people have access to sanitation.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2017, with the headline 'Toilet charity renames Indian village after Trump'. Print Edition | Subscribe