Bloomberg Businessweek


Meera Devi was an early adopter. In 2007 the mother of three took out a loan to pay for … not an iPhone or a PC, but a squat latrine, the first in the village of Kachhpura, located just across the river from the Taj Mahal.

A privy is a luxury most Westerners take for granted but one the majority of Devi’s neighbors—and approximately 100 million Indians—do without. Instead they brave the elements, snakes, scorpions, and sometimes stick-wielding farmers to relieve themselves in fields and forests and on riverbanks.

The majority of residents in the hamlet of 585 households used to relieve themselves in this field along the banks of

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