Monday, 30 November 2009

India’s Greatest Shame

The December issue of IRC’s excellent Source Bulletin draws our attention yet again to India’s Greatest Shame with its article The Worst Job in the World − here’s a quote:

About 1.3 million Indians are still trapped in the degrading and dangerous job of manual scavenging of human excreta sixteen long years after the country passed a law to make the health threatening job illegal. Even in modern India, manual scavengers are still working to clean what Wilson Bezwada of Safai Karmachari Andolan calls “shit from the pit” of people who then discriminate and look down on the scavengers.

Watch the video The Worst Job in the World − also well worth watching is The Scavengers − India.

It’s all just a Total Disgrace. India, especially the Government of India and all the State Governments, should be truly ashamed of this unbelievably awful practice of manual scavenging. Just read this (also from Source Bulletin #58):

Without any protective clothing such as boots, masks or gloves, manual scavengers, clean toilets and clogged sewer lines. They collect the faecal matter into baskets lined with leaves, an activity which leaves many sick. About 80 per cent of these workers are women, the majority of them are Dalits. They are paid a paltry 900 rupees (15 Euro) a month and can afford only cheap drugs to treat their illnesses. [INR 900 = EUR 12.88 = USD 19.320 = GBP 11.70 − today’s rates from Oanda]

Safai Karmachari Andolan has a three-year programme to eradicate manual scavenging by the end of 2010, called Action 2010. We should all do what we can to support this, and this “we” includes all Indians, the Government of India and all State Governments.