Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Beginning of the End

Manual scavenging persists, but community and political mobilisation of workers has initiated change.

Only those who are in denial are surprised by the continued existence in India of casteism and inhuman practices associated with stigmatisation, despite institutions of the state decreeing their abolition. But progress has been made in fits and starts, and agency – in the form of community and political mobilisation – has played a role in their slow removal. The horrific practice of manual scavenging – the worst form of untouchability and casteism under which certain communities are forced to carry human waste, and clean dry latrines and sewers – is one where the agency of community and political mobilisation has begun to have an impact.

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An EPW editorial

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