A Crude Reality in India

A Crude Reality in India

India is basically a caste–ridden society. From top to bottom, the caste attitudes and tendencies prevail in all spheres
of life, whether public or private, in India. The most inhuman act of ‘honour killings’ of the inter-caste married couples in most part of the country reflects the intensity of the ‘caste mindedness’ of the people. Though the Constitution of India at its inception, spelt it out vividly that ‘Untouchability’ is abolished and no more permitted, we find its practice vibrant all over the country. Apart from this, the parliament has enacted various special legislations to curtail this greatest social evil. ‘Untouchability’ perpetuates ‘Manual Scavenging’ in the country. ‘Manual
Scavenging” is not a job or occupation one voluntarily chooses for his/her livelihood but it is an imposed occupation upon the people who belonged to the lower strata of the Scheduled Caste Communities in India.

Manual Scavenging:

‘Manual Scavenging’ is a very unique phenomenon in the South Asian countries, where ‘Caste system’ is actively practised. ‘Manual Scavenging’means the picking up of human excreta by another human with his or her hands. It is carried out in private latrines and in community latrines built by Governmental and non-Governmental organizations.1 It also refers to the removal of raw (fresh and untreated) human excreta from buckets or other containers that are used as toilets or from the pits or pit latrines or on the streets wherever open defecation
exists. It also denotes, the labour involved in the removal of raw human excreta using brooms, tin plates, and buckets. This work is usually done without any protective gear by the workers.2 The employment of manual
scavengers to empty “dry latrines” was officially prohibited in India first in 1993 and latest in 2013 by yet another enactment, known as “the Prohibition of the Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013”. This Act has defined the term “manual scavenger” as “a person engaged or employed . . . by an individual or a local
authority or an agency or a contractor, for manually cleaning, carrying, disposing of, or otherwise handling in any manner, human excreta in an insanitary latrine or in an open drain or pit.”

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