Sulabh Founder Bindeshwar Pathak passes away at 80 due to cardiac arrest

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Bindeshwar Pathak, a visionary social activist and the founder of Sulabh International, breathed his last on Tuesday at a Delhi hospital following a cardiac arrest. The 80-year-old had reportedly experienced discomfort on the morning of Independence Day.

Sulabh International promptly reached out to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for medical assistance, according to the organization’s statement.

Pathak’s life was dedicated to championing causes such as human rights, environmental cleanliness, alternative energy sources, and waste management through educational efforts, all under the umbrella of Sulabh International.

President Droupadi Murmu expressed her heartfelt condolences to Bindeshwar Pathak’s family and the Sulabh International community through a Twitter post.

Murmu conveyed in Hindi, “The news of Mr. Bindeshwar Pathak’s passing, the visionary behind Sulabh International, is deeply saddening. Shri Pathak revolutionized the field of sanitation. He was honored with prestigious awards, including the Padma Bhushan. My thoughts are with his family and the Sulabh International community.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also mourned Pathak’s demise, recognizing it as a “significant loss” for the nation. He commended Pathak for his tireless efforts in “advancing society and empowering the marginalized.”


Bindeshwar Pathak established the Sulabh International Social Service Organization in 1970 in Bihar.

His relentless work aimed at transforming perceptions of unsanitary toilet practices in urban slums, rural areas, and cities. Pathak’s innovative toilet solutions have had a positive impact on the lives and health of millions of individuals.

Furthermore, he undertook the monumental task of eradicating the practice of manual human waste cleaning from bucket latrines. Through his pioneering sanitation approach, over 1,749 towns transitioned from dry latrines to two-pit pour flush latrines, and more than 160,835 toilets were constructed.

Pathak received the esteemed Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian honor in India.

His achievements also include being recognized on the Global 500 Roll of Honour in 2003 and receiving the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize in 2009. Noteworthy accolades encompass the Energy Globe Award, the Dubai International Award for Best Practices, and the Legend of the Planet award from the French Senate in Paris.

In 2020, a comprehensive book titled ‘Namaste, Bindeshwar Pathak!’ was published, chronicling his remarkable journey as a social innovator.

His impact extended beyond borders: in 2016, New York City declared April 14 as Bindeshwar Pathak Day, a testament to his global influence.

Bindeshwar Pathak’s legacy is one of transformative change, underscoring his commitment to creating a cleaner, healthier, and more dignified world for all.

Madhupriya Dhanwate