Pradeep Pattanayak

Today, World Toilet Day is being celebrated across the globe. The observance of the day itself bears testimony to the importance of toilet. But, have you ever thought what would be the condition of passengers travelling on a train with no toilet facility? 

In fact, there used to be a time when trains were devoid of toilet facility. Behind the introduction of toilet facility, there is an interesting story. 

The first passenger train rolled on the tracks in 1853. It chugged between Bori Bundar (Mumbai) and Thane on April 16, 1853, covering a distance of 34 kilometers. For about 56 years, the trains then used to run without toilet facility. 

Then an incident occurred which caused the beginning of toilet facility in trains.

Also Read: Lack of Toilet in Sundargarh Schools exposes Govt's 'apathy' for Students 

A passenger named Okhil Chandra Sen was about to travel on a train. While on the platform, he felt the sudden urge to go to toilet which led to him missing his train. He then wrote a letter to Sahibganj Divisional office in West Bengal, requesting them to set up toilets on trains. 

The letter, though having grammatical mistakes, is a proud possession of Indian Railways and is on display at the Rail Museum in New Delhi. 

Here is the exact verse of what was written in the letter:
Dear Sir, 

I am arrive by passenger train Ahmedpur station and my belly is too much swelling with jackfruit. I am therefore went to privy. Just I doing the nuisance the guard making whistle blow for train to go off and I am running with lotah in one hand & dhoti in the next. When I am fall over & expose all my shocking to man & female women on platform. I am got leaved Ahmedpur station.
This too much bad, if passenger go to make dung that the dam guard not wait train minutes for him. I am therefore pray your honour to make big fine for public sake otherwise I am making big report to papers.
Your’s faithfully servant
Okhil Ch. Sen

After receiving the letter, the Railway authorities were left with no other options but to set up toilets on trains running more than 50 miles.