Silencing Caste, Sanitising Oppression – Understanding Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

The Hindu notions of purity and pollution, inextricably linked with the caste system and the practice of untouchability, underlie the unsanitary practices in Indian society. These beliefs perpetuate the oppression of the “polluted castes,” who are forced to undertake manual scavenging, unclog manholes and clean other people’s filth. The availability of cheap Dalit labour to do these dehumanising jobs can be cited as one of the reasons why development of toilet facilities and a modern garbage and sewage management system have been neglected so far. As long as the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan attempts to delink the relationship between caste and sanitation, its lofty goal of cleaning India will remain unachievable.

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4 thoughts on “Silencing Caste, Sanitising Oppression – Understanding Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”

  1. The ‘swachch’ Bharat is a divertion tactic to camouflage the existing caste system in the country. While the upper castes and VIPs increase TRPs of tv channels by pompous attires and broom-sticks in their hands for a couple of minutes or hours, the real brunt of the work is borne by the same old castes which have been suffering for years. Will the government plan in such a way that the upper castes should work exclusively in the cleaning and purification programme? Swachch Abhiyaan is not all that pure!


  2. The article is very well written and I agree with the analysis. But I would like some concrete suggestions on how to solve the problem – “Delinking the relationship between caste and sanitation” is a goal. How do you reach that goal?


  3. If the politician really want a swachh Bharat, they should increase the salary of all those who are involved in cleaning the dirt of others. If they don’t they are exploiting the workers and their family involved in this job.


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