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Public Urination

09 October, 2003

By Ali Jafri


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Water is a necessity for all the living beings. Nature has blessed all the creatures with a mechanism to discharge the waste out of their body to feel relax. One of the methods used by humans is called Urination, a process of disposing urine from the urinary bladder. This process of urination is usually under self control. When we loose this control over urination, it is called urinary incontinence. Normally it happens with children of under age, while elders have the capacity and maturity to control it till they reach in an isolated place to escape embarassement and at the sametime feel releived with a discharge.

 From an evolution process to industrial revolution, humans have successfully tranformed into a civilized society. In majority of countries, humans usually urinate in a toilet. Public toilets are often separate for men and women. Those for men often have also urinals. These may have partitions between them to avoid men being able to see the penises of other men. In contrast, the subcontinent has a peculiar culture which accepts public urniation. Men are seen urinating openly in public places without a fear of any embarrasment. There are no hard and fast rules on how to take a pee, you can simply unzip your pants or your "Shalwar" to aim it at anyplace you feel comfortable. Normally, men like to aim at the walls on the road side. These walls don't have to be in any isloated places, you are free to do it right in the middle of a bazaar, and if you don't happen to find any wall, you can use a main hole passage to fill it up. Amuzingly, you get to see lot of walls in the city with warning labels written on them, "No Urination Please."

Waiting to reach toilets may require patience and tolerance, but that is not a part of our culture whose foundation is based emotionalism and which lacks rationale. We are so fond of crticizing the whole western world for obscenity and vulgarity, but find no room in any column of the media to crticize our own obscene culture of public urination. Interesting, you do find lot of religious extremists while taking out the procession in their daily routine of some crticism, they also, in the heat of the moment, make sure to destroy public property which may include public toilets.

Western-civ, which on one hand has introduced much civilized manners of adequates, has also given humans comfort through innovative architects of toilets and bathrooms. Accessories of flush, sinks, showers, bath tubs and tabs have been one of the various innovations and luxuries of using toilets introduced by the western world, but we on the other hand are only busy in criticizing their culture and never appreciate their innovations which has led towards a more better and logical civic sense.

One wonders, when a person who works eight hours a day and has no access to any toilets in a near surrounding, then where should he/she go to discharge of what he has been drinking all day. He has a genuine need to take out the waste material out of his body, but that doesn't mean that he should do it right outside his shop, office or a building. He should realize that if he is drinking eight to ten glasses of water or other soda drinks in a day, he may feel the pressure to relieve it too. Now, the only question remains whether he has the awareness to realize that if he's discharging publicly, it may be too embarassing for him and others as well to watch him. Unfortunately, this question remains a mystery in our culture. Apparently, majority of us are least interested to reach the state of realization that public urination has seroius health consequences because of hyegienic reasons. At the sametime our religion Islam, which calls cleanliness as half of our faith, has also considered public urination illegal and encourage it in isolation and with cleanliness.

The practice of public urination only exhibits one's habbit of doing things in hurry. It appears, as a nation we are in hurry to discharge our waste where-ever we feel like to do so. Perhaps we are never in hurry to consider even for a second that this higly obscene act may be too embarassing for others to watch. If we had been aware of it, then we would have rather hurried to start building up toilets to save us from this embarrasment. To build a toilet in the shop or inside office doesn't require us to apply for a grant from IMF or world bank.  If we can rise a full structured building, a small, yet a clean toilet could be more than a wishful thinking for it.

Such a thought of avoiding public urination only depends if we ever consider it as an element of embarrassment. If we don't then we don't have the right to crticize other cultures for spreading obscenity and vulgarity in public. May be for a change we should allow public kissing of opposite sex in our culture, which is a much more scenic view than seeing somene urinating in front of you. 

 End.

Reader Comments:

After 25 years- no change

Only memories of Pakistan 27 years since I left (have never returned), especially Karachi are, open gutters, people urinating in public places forming huge highly noxious pools of waste matter, tired and beaten donkeys, carcasses of dead animals punctuating dilapidated garbage strewn streets, raw sewage bubbling out of open man-holes, horribly raucous polluting rickshaws, insane beggars, mad deafeningly loud vendors, corrupt police, buildings collapsing, insane drivers licenced to kill, naturally grotesque road accidents, pedestrians aimlessly jay-walking. There was a big advert on the road to the Karachi airport then (I wonder if its still there) which read, Pakistan love it or leave it; I left.

Gulshan Afridi, United Kingdom - 03 December, 2003

Education is a key, while most the curriculum of the education system talks of cleanliness and religion, there is no mention of its relation to culture and environment, since the sanitation system in india and pakistan comes from the west, the idea of using toilets is alien to most of the peapole in india and pakistan, and again there are no facilities provided by the public or private sector, so what can what expect from people who are travelling?

Arshad Haroon, Pakistan - 26 April, 2004

Public urination is natural

Why is it that we can drink in public, but to discharge thjis same liquid is so contriversial? Men and women should feel free to urinate when and where they desire.Please let me hear tour comments by E-Mail. Thanks. Leon


leon, United Kingdom - 29 December, 2004

quite common in west as well

Specially in public gatherings, worse is that you can see men and women doing it at the same place shamelessly, drunk youngsters are the worse in this aspect.

Roy, Hungary - 06 January, 2006

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