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, July 12, 2010

Do Constitutional provision mean anything ?

Manual scavenging continues despite law V Raghunathan, 28 February 2010, 08:45 PM IST. Times of India, Delhi

I have frequently maintained that ours is a country that confuses words for action. Consider this. Not only did we allow the practice of "manual scavenging" to flourish for decades after Independence, it was to be as late as 1993 before our parliamentarians would wake up to pass the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Dry Latrine Construction (Prohibition) Act. It was to be another four years before the Act was notified in the Gazette of India.

Three states, namely, Kerala, Nagaland and Pondicherry refused to adopt the Act on the ground that dry latrines, and hence manual scavenging, had already been abolished in their states. And yet, according to the records of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Kerala still has 1,339 dry toilets, Nagaland 1,800 and Pondicherry 476, while the country as a whole still employs some 1.3 million 'manual scavengers' – mostly employed by the Government (read the Defence, Railways and Public Sector organizations), municipalities and private homes! So whatever happened to the prohibition seventeen years after it was enacted? Incidentally, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are yet to adopt the Act – at least they have no pretense that they care.

'Manual scavenging' as we all know, represents the most inhuman of all professions conceivable, which involves either removal of human excreta using brooms, tin plates, baskets or buckets carried on the head or entering sewage pits for cleaning without any protection whatsoever.

Needless to say, virtually all such task is carried out by dalits, employed on subcontract, often on wages as little as Rs 1000 per month, in flagrant violation of minimum wages. And when they are not carrying night soil on their heads, they are left to enter sewage pits, almost completely naked save a minimal loin-cloth, a rope tied around his waist with the loose end in the hands of a municipal official, with his breath-holding capacity his only protection. Body suits and oxygen masks are not for him, and if he asphyxiates to death from time to time, you may (and then again, may not) see a two-centimeter news ITEM tucked away in the local editions of newspapers. National TV networks haven’t been known to pick up their cause yet.

That six decades after Independence and a decade into the twenty-first century, the Government of India should still have 'scavengers' and 'bhangis' in its official lexicon and employ is the smaller tragedy. The bigger tragedies are our acceptance of the fact that it is all right for a section of the society to live a wretched existence of ultimate degradation so that the rest of us could live better; that as a society we should consider our task accomplished with the passing of an Act rather than its implementation; our pseudo argument that the dalits currently manning this degrading task need that employment and the indifference of this scourge of our society by an otherwise more activist Supreme Court and the visual media.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

這麼用心的經營你的文章, 當然值得我們留連拜訪的!............................................................

12:11 PM  

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