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Khushi Vats, Pune

Bindeshwar Pathak, activist and founder of ‘Sulabh International passed away at a hospital in New Delhi on August 15. He died from cardiac arrest, according to a close aide. 

Pathak, who was 80 at the time of his death, is a pioneer of sanitation in the country. His organization, the Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, has constructed around 1.3 million household toilets and 54 million public toilets using inexpensive and two-pit quality materials. Pathak’s organization led an extensive movement against the manual cleaning of human excreta and waste. Irrespective of the judiciary passing laws against the age-old practice of manual scavenging, it continues in the country.

Pathak was also the brand ambassador of the Swachh Rail Mission of the Indian Railways. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian honor, and many other national and international awards.

Pathak established the Sulabh social service organization in the 1970s. He wanted to combine technology and humanitarian causes. They also work for environmental causes like energy conservation and waste management. The projects under the sanitation movement started by Pathak prevent the emission of greenhouse gases while ensuring cleanliness. 

Pathak was hoisting the Indian flag on the morning of Independence Day at a campus of Sulabh on Palam-Dabri Road when he had a cardiac arrest. He was rushed to AIIMS Delhi, where he was declared dead at around 2 p.m. A post by the Sulabh International Social Service Organisation on Twitter, said, “Founder of Sulabh Sanitation, Social Reform, and Human Rights Activist, Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, is no more. He died due to a cardiac arrest at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences.”

“The passing away of Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak Ji is a profound loss for our nation. He was a visionary who worked extensively for societal progress and empowered the downtrodden. Bindeshwar Ji made it his mission to build a cleaner India. He provided monumental support to the Swachh Bharat Mission. During our various conversations, his passion towards Swachhata was always visible,” tweeted PM Modi.