Detour

FLUSHING OUT HISTORY Bare-bottomed squatters beside railway lines are many tourists' first—and sometimes lasting—impression of India. Even Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul, revolted upon visiting his ancestral homeland, once raged that "Indians defecate everywhere ... they never look for cover." It is therefore a bit surprising to find in New Delhi the world's only museum dedicated to the history of the toilet. But then this is a small museum with a big mission, as the sign opposite the entrance reading OPEN DEFECATION—SOCIAL CURSE can attest.

Those who raise an eyebrow at the idea of a potted history of the...

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