Swachchakar Dignity

A blog to give you first hand reports on the conditions of Swachchkar community, their issues and concerns. A campaign for complete abolition of scavenging practices and brigning forth the growing voices of change with in the community.

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Learning through working. Working at the grassroots made me realise the big difference between those who claim to represent communities as well as the communities themselves. Common man is crushed between the ambitions of various individuals to lead and dominate. The dominant and high numbered communities will always dominate our discourse and the most marginalised are losing in this entire discourse. That is the reason why Mushahar remain at the marginalised and the issue of manual scavenging still not on our top agenda and to eliminate that the community has to decide its own organisations..

I am devoted to freedom of ideas and expression. I personally feel that we in the subcontinent want to dominate and control our discourse and each one of is a ultra nationalist in terms of their caste and community. Nationalism is not just national and political but it is equally in term of religion and caste. I feel each kind of nationalism is a dominant discourse which deny the dissenter a right to speak.

At the end, we all want to listen the truth suitable to us.. we have become expertised in the art of speaking truth of convenience. As long as that remain hall mark of our society and we speak to already converts, this society will remain stagnant, it will always try to control our ideas and choices. We need to oppose any such perception, ideas that want to control our mind and victimise us.

To understand India further, I feel, it is good to do foot walk, ( Padyatras) to various parts of the country. I have so far done it thrice covering nearly 1500-2000 kilometers. It is always interesting to see how people are coping their issues and what is the reason of their exploitation.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Brahmin Seek Dalit Job ?

Dear friends,

From the above it looks great that brahmins are now also 'debrahmanising' themselves and opting for a job which was meant for 'scavengers', however, there are several twists in these tales being calcuatedly spread by the upper caste Indian media to explain to the world community as if caste does not matter in India and that 'poverty' does not have any caste.

The Safai Karmcharis have protested against this in the past also when the upper castes tried to enter in their jobs. In Bengal also when the CPM is recruiting its cader for the municipality jobs.

Let me inform you about this 'greatness' of the upper caste Hindus.

If you go and ask a list of scavengers in Delhi Municipal corporations, you will find many upper caste names in the official list of the sweepers, who you may not find sweeping or cleaning in the street. I would call them absentee safai karmcharis. The thing is that the upper caste are enjoying their jobs without working in it. In municipal corporations you are not suppose to clean toilets and involved in carrying of nightsoil. That is totally private work and no brahmin will ever do that work. Not only brahmins, no other community will ever do that work. The Municipal corporations relatively pay you better. Once you are employed in corporations, you can do the same. The upper castes here have sublet their job to the scavengers. It means that officially, an upper caste is serving in the municpality and taking salary say Rs 10,000/- after two to three years of service if is a confirmed job. He sublet that job to a scavenger and pay him Rs 3,000/- to clean the streat. You can understand how great is the 'Hindu way of thinking'. And for the last few days when the question of Dalits assertion is coming, we are being reminded by the media that Dalits do not need reservation or anything which need to be done for their welfare. That upper castes are also poor and we should all remove poerty.

But the fact is that India's problem is not really poverty.. it is caste. Even a poor brahmin can enter any where not a rich Dalit.In Howrah ( west Bengal), the same argument is given by the Bengalies that there are no caste system here and even the Bengalies are being appointed in the municipal corporation as sweeper. Our friends in Bengal have complained how the caste Hindus were appointed in the name of sweeper and soon promoted to the position of superviser. Basically, superviser's job is just overlook the cleaning process in the street. It is a clever manipulation by the upper castes. The sweeper community says that when we were cleaning the toilets and carrying the nightsoil, nobody came for our rescue, nobody ever wanted that job but since municipalities officially are not in manual scavenging, the upper castes are making an attempt to hit at our employement. This has a lot to do with the employement of the scavenger community. I mean, if a scavenger family open a shop, tea shop or a small Dhaba ( hotel), none of the upper caste would buy product from his shop, so he has no option except to get back to his 'profession'. Therefore, application by the upper castes to the Safai Karmacharis job need to be rejected unless this entire issue is settled. Unless the Safai Karmcharis, the valmikis, the scavengers are completely rehabilitated. Otherwise, this is another upper caste ploy to hoodwink the international community that' caste' does not matter in India.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat

CNN-IBN, Amar Ujala and Deccan Herald June, 2006

Lucknow, June 1: It could be fire in the belly or simply the necessity to survive, but a quiet social revolution has begun unfolding in several cities of Uttar Pradesh, where brahmins and upper caste Hindus are applying for posts of sanitary workers, known as "safai karamcharis." The posts of sanitary workers, on an ad hoc basis, were recently advertised in several towns and cities and, for the first time, the applicants include members of the brahmin community in large numbers.

"There are vaishyas and kayasthas too who have applied for the post of safai karamchari but the number of brahmin applicants is sizeable," says an Agra Nagar Nigam official.Udit Sharma and Suraj Misra, both young graduates, are among the applicants for the post of safai karamchari in Agra. "We have been looking for jobs for the past two years but we have failed to get one so far. We need to earn our living, and so we thought we might as well work as safai karamcharis here," says Udit Sharma.

Suraj Misra's mother, Savitri Misra, has already warned her son that if he goes ahead with the job, he would be shown the door and, the family would have to face social ostracism. But Suraj is not perturbed. "I am not bothered about society and relatives because no one came forward to help us when my sister's engagement broke off due to paucity of funds. I need a job and any job will do. Once I start earning, everything else will fall into place," he says.

The chief development officer at Sitapur, Tahir Iqbal, admits that the upper caste candidates who have applied for the jobs of safai karamcharis appear determined to get the job. "There is a long list of Misra, Shukla, Tripathi and Tiwari candidates who have applied for these posts and they are eagerly waiting to get selected," he said. One of the candidates who spoke on condition of anonymity said: "It is better to become a scavenger than to become a criminal. If I do not get this job, I may have to take to crime to fend for my family, which is dependent on me for a square meal." In Kanpur, the number of educated upper caste applicants for the safai karamchari posts is around 38 per cent of the total number of applications, "There are some applicants who are postgraduates while others in this category are graduates," says Dr \nJ.P. Gupta, senior health officer. In Lucknow too, there are upper caste applicants for the job that was till now considered to be reserved for Dalits. "One such applicant told this correspondent: "If I get this job, it will fetch me around Rs 2,200 every month and this will help me pay for the education of my younger brother who is a second-year medical student. Besides, my work as a safai karamchari will finish by noon and no one will hopefully know what I am doing."


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