Kunwar Bai, mascot of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, dies at 106

Kunwar Bai had sold off eight to ten of her goats to raise money to build toilets at her house, in her village in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh.

Kunwar Bai, mascot of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, dies at 106

Dharmatri: Kunwar Bai, who became the mascot of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, passed away at the age of 106 on Friday.

Inspired by the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, she had sold off eight to ten of her goats, her only assets, to raise Rs 22,000 to build toilets at her house, in her village of Kotabharri, in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh expressed grief over demise. "My heart is deeply saddened on the demise of Kunwar Bai, who lit the lamp of cleanliness in Chhattisgarh and received honour of 'cleanliness messenger' from Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji. It is only the end of the body of mother Kunwar Bai, she will always be immortalised with her good deeds," he tweeted.

Kunwar Bai was chosen as the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan mascot in 2016. She was felicitated in the national capital on September 17, 2016, to mark `Swachhta Diwas`.

In February 2016, PM Modi, while on a tour to Chhattisgarh to launch the  Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban (rural-urban) Mission, had felicitated Kunwar Bai from Kotabharri village of Dhamtari and had then touched her feet to seek blessings.

"An elderly woman of 104 years who stays in a remote village, does not watch TV or read papers, but the message of building toilets under clean India mission somehow reached her. She sold off her goats to build toilet at home and also encouraged others from the village to build," PM Modi had said. 

Kunwar Bai worked tirelessly to spread awareness about using toilets amongst her fellow villagers and as a result of her efforts, the district of Dhamtari became the first to be declared open defecation free in 2016.

(With Agency inputs)

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