Morarji Desai, famous urine drinker
Morarji Desai, famous urine drinker. Wikipedia

A schoolgirl in India was punished by her teachers for bed-wetting by being forced to drink her own urine. The incident has sparked outrage from the public and led to the arrest of the school hostel warden.

The warden reportedly forced the child to drink urine “as a treatment to stop the bad habit [of bed-wetting].”

The girl's parents, who say their 10-year-old daughter has been traumatized by the incident, have themselves been arrested for “unauthorized entry” at the Patha Bhavan school in Santiniketan, West Bengal.

The girl's father, who filed a police complaint in nearby Bolpur, told Indian media: My daughter was ill, she was suffering from fever. She has this bad habit of urinating in bed. When my wife called the warden at night over the phone, she said she mixed salt with urine and forced my daughter to drink it as a punishment. We rushed to the hostel and found our daughter crying. I want to withdraw my daughter from the hostel and the school.”

The educational trust that operates the school has formed a four-member committee to commence an enquiry of the affair.

Child-rights activists are demanding action against the warden and anyone else that may be culpable.

If this is true, then the warden should be suspended, said Shanta Sinha, chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, on Monday.

People who look after children should know how to look after them.”

Patha Bhavan is run by Viswa Bharati University, established by the world-renowned Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore.

While drinking one’s own urine may sound horrific to most people, some believe that it has health benefits.

No less a figure than Morarji Desai, a prominent Indian independence activist and the country’s Prime Minister in the late 1970s, advocated “auto-urine therapy” to heal a number of illnesses. Desai told journalist Khushwant Singh that he began consuming his own urine while in his 40s to cure his hemorrhoids. He reportedly got immediate results and continued the practice for the remainder of his life.

In 1978, Desai made headlines in the United States (and likely horrified a great many Americans) by revealing his peculiar habit to Dan Rather, one of the correspondents of the popular television program “60 Minutes,” suggesting that drinking urine was a viable alternative for millions of Indians who could not otherwise afford mainstream health care.

But Desai may have had the last laugh on all the naysayers -- he lived to be 99 years old (in a country where the average life expectancy is only 64).

Urine therapy goes back centuries to ancient China and India, and other cultures. Vedic texts like Shivambhu Kalpa Vidhi and Damar Tantra speak highly of drinking urine as a healthful activity. The practice has also been found among ancient Romans, Native Americans, ancient Egypt, the Aztecs and Saharan Bedouins.

Even The Book of Proverbs of the Christian Bible states: “Drink waters from thy own cistern, flowing water from thy own well” (which some scholars believe is a testament to the benefits of drinking one’s own urine).