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Controversy arises as Jadavpur University opens gender-neutral toilet, BJP and TMC clash over statement

  • Jadavpur University sparks controversy with the opening of a gender-neutral toilet, igniting a clash between BJP and TMC over differing viewpoints on cultural readiness and security concerns
  • TMC criticizes BJP, accusing them of a conservative mentality and highlighting the need for gender-neutral facilities in understanding the necessity of toilets
  • The initiative showcases the ongoing societal debate on inclusivity and the importance of evolving mindsets to meet the changing needs of a diverse population

02 Jun 2023

Jadavpur University in West Bengal has converted a toilet in the Department of International Relations into a gender-neutral facility, allowing it to be used by individuals of all genders. This move, aimed at inclusivity, has become a subject of controversy following remarks made by Dr. Sukant Majumdar, the state president of the Bengal BJP.

Dr. Sukant Majumdar expressed his belief that the Indian mindset is not yet prepared to embrace gender-neutral toilets, citing cultural factors. In response, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh labeled his comments as regressive.

Dr. Eamon Kalyan Lahiri, Chairman of the International Relations Department, emphasized that a toilet is a basic necessity for everyone. Gender-neutral facilities play a crucial role in cases where men's or women's restrooms may be inaccessible during emergencies.

Shivdooti Mandal, a member of the transgender community, expressed gratitude for the new toilet, stating that it provides mental and physical safety as well as affirmation of identity.

However, this seemingly straightforward initiative has turned into a complex issue, highlighting the continued gender-based judgment of restrooms. As India aspires to become a developed nation by 2044, a change in mindset is necessary.

Notably, despite the Indian government's efforts to promote sanitation and hygiene through initiatives like the Swachh Bharat Mission, which has resulted in the construction of over 9.5 crore toilets since October 2014, gender-neutral facilities have not been widely implemented.

Dr. Sukant Majumdar, acknowledging the advanced nature of Jadavpur University, expressed concerns over security in gender-neutral restrooms. He questioned the accountability in cases of harassment or assault, raising valid points about potential complications.

The TMC seized the opportunity to criticize the BJP, labeling their stance as conservative. Kunal Ghosh, a spokesperson for the Trinamool Congress, took a dig at the BJP, sarcastically suggesting that they prioritize cow worship while using fields and grasslands as toilets, implying a lack of understanding regarding the necessity of gender-neutral facilities.

The clash between the BJP and TMC over gender-neutral toilets highlights the broader societal debate on inclusivity and the need to evolve cultural perceptions. As the discourse continues, it remains crucial to find a balance between providing necessary facilities for all individuals while addressing concerns about safety and accountability.


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