I remember my father saying me one thing since childhood — whatever you do, do with full dedication and you’ll reach to the top in that. I understood this only at the tender age of 30; when I met Ishwarbhai Patel for a brief moment.
Popularly known as The Toilet God, he was an innovative toilet designer and committed Gandhian. He lived his life just for the upliftment of the most downtrodden community in the society involved in scavenging. Many books can be written on him to list his work and service to society, especially in the public sanitation and cleanliness.
After completing education, he developed an interest in the upliftment of scavengers and launched a campaign against the untouchability and fought for the entry of untouchables into temples.
In his early days, he spent many nights in front of public toilets to study and understand the sanitation practices to find out effective solutions, where humans would not be needed to handle the night soil. If he had charged a royalty for his toilet designs, he would have made a lot of money, but he submitted all his designs to the sanitary-ware manufacturers, and they’re still used today.
He’s the only man I know who has received the popular Padma Shri award for cleanliness and sanitation; in India. And as per father, he did his work with full dedication and reached to the top — in both sense, career, and life.
He left us in 2010 but made his gold from garbage.