Tag Archives: Safai Karmchari Aandolan

‘Swacch Bharat Abhiyan invisibilises the linkage of Caste and Sanitation and glamourises broom among Scavenging Communities’ – Bezwada Wilson

In Conversation with Bezwada Wilson, National Convener of Safai Karmachari Andolan

The 125 day Bhim Yatra which started from Dibrugarh and traveresed 30 states and 500 districts to reach Delhi is now over.  As everybody knows it culminated in a big rally coupled with people’s hearing where families of those victims who died while cleaning sewers and septic tanks shared their plight at the hands of state as well as civil society. The call of this Bhim Yatra raised by Safai Karmacharis – ‘Stop Killing Us’ – would could keep reverberating for quite some time. (https://kafila.org/2016/04/14/bhim-yatra-so-that-there-are-no-more-killings/)

Here follows an interview with Bezwada Wilson, National Convener of Safai Karmachari Andolan

 How do you see the impact of  ‘Bhim Yatra’ ?

As far as those people who are still condemned to do scavenging is concerned, the 125 day Bhim Yatra has made two significant impacts :

– It has made people aware that a new act (2013 act) has come into existence for elimination of manual scavenging and they should make use of it for their liberation.

– Second significant impact is that people are realising that we should not do this work, we should leave this work altogether. Babasaheb’s teachings that depressed classes should leave all such professions which are stigmatised and which further help stigmatise them has reached broader cross sections of people engaged in cleaning and scavenging. The slogan ‘ Leave the Broom, Take the Pen’ is slowly reverberating across people especially the younger ones. Continue reading ‘Swacch Bharat Abhiyan invisibilises the linkage of Caste and Sanitation and glamourises broom among Scavenging Communities’ – Bezwada Wilson

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Too Many Erasures

The Hindu Social Order is based upon a division of labour which reserves for the Hindus clean and respectable jobs and assigns to the untouchables dirty and mean jobs and thereby clothes the Hindus with dignity and heaps ignominy upon the untouchables.

(The Revolt of the Untouchables, Excerpted from Essays on Untouchables and Untouchability : Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Writings and Speeches, Vol 5 (Mumbai : Govt of Maharashtra, 1989, 256-58)

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The inauguration of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, (Clean India Campaign) with much fanfare, with ministers, bureaucrats and others holding Jhadoos evoked an interesting reaction from a ragpicker Sanjay who lives in Mehrauli with his parents. “These are the same people from whose houses we pick up garbage every day. This is part of our life. We don’t really understand why they are making it such a big deal,” Continue reading Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Too Many Erasures