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

Manual ScavengingSubscribe to Manual Scavenging

Manual Scavenging: Women Face Double Discrimination as Caste and Gender Inequalities Converge

Of the 1.2 million manual scavengers in India, about 95% to 98% of them are women. Despite their overwhelming numbers, there is hardly any research or a governmental report shedding light on these women. In addition to caste-based solutions, a gender-sensitive approach is required to put an end to this abhorrent practice.

Numbing Machines

What forms does manual scavenging take after its legal abolition? Analysing the recent deaths in Bengaluru’s sewage treatment plants and underground drainage systems, the understandings of manual scavenging as an “archaic” practice and opposed to the “rule of law” are rejected. The contractualisation of sewer maintenance instrumentalises “untouchable” bodies, making the calibration of caste power coincidental with the calibration of urban sewerage. Urban manual scavenging is shown to be an emergent application of caste power that resolves ecological impasses in contemporary sewerage. The objectification of caste power in urban infrastructures nevertheless opens up new locations for politicising normative caste embodiment.

Clean India, Unclean Indians Beyond the Bhim Yatra

The Safai Karamchari Andolan traversed 500 districts of the country with the message "stop killing us." The participants, manual scavengers who clean dry latrines, sewers and septic tanks, are forced to carry on this dehumanising work despite laws against it. Will the Swachh Bharat campaign succeed in addressing the issues connected with manual scavenging?

Scavenging for the State

A study of sewage workers and toilet cleaners employed with the Pune Municipal Corporation shows how solid waste management is narrowly focused on dry latrine cleaning. One needs to urgently reform solid waste management system and improve the working conditions of people who are employed in cleaning our cities.

Manual Scavenging Must End

Manual scavenging is a caste-based occupation wherein certain sub-castes of Dalits are condemned to manually clean, carry, dispose or handle human excreta from dry latrines and sewers. Though it has been constitutionally banned for more than 20 years now, it is still widely prevalent in the country...
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