ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

C S Sharada PrasadSubscribe to C S Sharada Prasad

‘When You Start Doing This Work, It Is Hard to Eat Dal’

In 2013, manual scavenging, or the cleaning of “dry” latrines with unprotected hands, was abolished in India. Yet, millions of dry latrines are still manually serviced by Dalit labour. The Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharat Mission has put little effort into the health and dignity of sanitation workers relative to its efforts on subsidising and encouraging latrine-building. A few days spent with the Valmiki community in Lucknow are recounted.

‘It Has to Be Done Only at Night’

India’s National Urban Sanitation Policy and its flagship programme, the Swachh Bharat Mission, strongly recommend mechanical technologies for safe faecal sludge management. But, how do septic tank cleaners live and work, and why are their practices not “safe”? An evening spent in observation of their work and in conversation with cleaners and truck drivers in Bengaluru is recounted.

The Tyranny of Travel

India’s longest train journey reveals not just the apathy of the authorities but also the routine degradation of rail infrastructure and services. The author recounts a journey of over 3 days and 4,238 km in the sleeper class from Assam to Tamil Nadu.
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