Examining Peace in the Film 'Toilet: Ek Prem Katha'


Who here has seen Shree Naraya's 'Toilet' film? This romantic comedy genre film unexpectedly departs from social criticism of sanitation issues in India. It tells the story of married couple, but conflicts soon arose because there was no toilet in her husband's house so the news became famous and covered on Indian TV stations.

At first glance, we will feel that this film is very funny, sounds foreign, and makes no sense. How can there is no toilet in the house? Even though the toilet is something we use every day. Then, where should each family member defecate?

It is told in the film that because there are no toilets in every house, even in the village, women need to go far from their homes or to the fields every morning to be able to relieve themselves quietly without being seen by men. Although sometimes there are still perverted men who take the opportunity to peek at women who are defecating. In contrast to men who freely can defecate wherever and whenever.

In India, the toilet is considered a dirty thing that should not be in the house because this is contrary to culture, and is even considered to intersect with the values of the religion adhered to. With a toilet in the house, it was assumed that the occupants of the house did not respect the god who was in the house. This caused conflict because it was the wife who insisted that a toilet be made but was hindered by culture and religion.

The confusion and ignorance of Indian citizens regarding good sanitation have an impact on many things, one of which is the level of sexual harassment of women, health, and gender equality. Looking at data from the World Health Organization, it is estimated that 597 million people in India defecate in the open because they do not have toilets and 300 million of them are women, of course, this data shows a high number because women are a vulnerable group to sexual harassment.

Criticism of the issues raised in this film makes us aware of how basic rights that we consider ordinary and commonplace become taboo and rare in some places. Does it mean that the equality of things to get our basic rights as human beings has not been fully achieved by everyone in this world?

The toilet film is an example of a form of cultural violence that causes conflict in society. So, there needs to be peace in resolving the conflict. Returning to the redefinition of peace, perspective plays an important role in viewing peace. Because peace is not only limited to resolving conflicts and wars but resolving situations where there are humans who do not get equal rights to access their basic rights. Thus, what is certain about peace is a condition without violence and social injustice in society.

How about you? There are social conflicts around you that make you think about peace again? Let's share in the comments column!

Image Source: Viacom18 Studios

Author by: Yulinar Cahyani