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Bindeshwar Pathak

Founder, Sulabh International Social Service Organisation

Inspired by one of the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi to abolish scavenging and based on the bedrock of technology, Dr. Pathak founded Sulabh International Social Service Organisation in 1970 and launched a social reform-cum-environmental upgradation movement taking up the challenge of the problem of sanitation related pollution leading to environmental degradation and health hazards caused by the practice of defecation in the open and use of bucket toilets.
Till date Sulabh has constructed and is maintaining nearly 7,500 public toilets. While maintaining the public toilets, run on pay and use basis the surplus income, if any, is used for socially useful activities like running vocational training centers catering to the needs of wards of scavengers, promoting health awareness amongst the slum dwellers.
Dr. Pathak has written several well-received books including Road to Freedom, a sociological classic on the problem of scavenging. Besides, he has been frequently contributing on diverse topics for newspapers and magazines.
Dr. Pathak is the recipient of many awards including Padma Bhushan by the Govt. of India. He was awarded the International Saint Francis Prize for the Environment “Canticle of all Creatures” and Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar. His Holiness Pope John Paul-II gave him audience and appreciated his contribution for the upgradation of the environment and selfless service to the poor. Dr. Pathak was awarded Stockholm Water Prize for the year 2009 by Stockholm International Water Institute in August during the World Water Week.