SHACKLING EMOTIONS : Dilemma of a Lifetime.
Clean ambience, hygenic enviornment, decent lifestyle; in broad sense a healthy approach is what every human desires. Even the fundamental rights formulated under the constitution guarantees right to life and liberty. But with the humans designated with the most degraded job of “MANUEL SCAVENGING”, one can easily envisage their pitiable condition. The shameful legacy of centuries which involves the innocent lives into a vicious circle of never ending humiliation, withering hopes and a constant fear of parents for their children to continue with the same menial job.
The hated vocation of collecting human excreta from individual or community dry latrines with bare hands or with the help of brooms or tin plates. The dry latrines are still in use in large number in many parts of our country. According to a report there are around 96 lakhs dry latrines in use at present
In 1976 Section 7a was introduced into the protection of of Civil Rights Act, 1955 regarding imprisonment for compelling any person to scavenge on the grounds of untouchability.In 1993 Parliament passed the Employment of Manuel Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition Act) under which voluntary employment of manuel scavenging was considered offensive. Even after this many restriction posed by these laws, the estimated accounts of 28,613 dry latrines in Gujarat and 32,999 in the gram panchayats in the states creates a vulnerable situation for people engaged in manuel removal of night soil. These people toil under the most inhuman conditions. .Narayanamma, an employee of Anantpur municipality, Andhra Pradesh has spent 19 years scavenging, cleaning 400 seats of dry toilets a day without even the minimal protection of gloves. She pleaded: “Three generations of my family have done this work. I don’t want my children to do it”.
Many steps have been taken to work for these people and numerous NGO’S are working for the cause. Such an NGO working in Alwar district of Rajasthan, known as Nai Disha is working for the emancipation of women. It is making them self dependent by training them in various skills like sewing, making candles, beautician course etc.Also it has enabled more than 200 scavengers to earn a minimum of Rs.2000 per month and has lifted them from their plight.
The need of the hour is to develop a sense of responsibility for the upliftment of these people, who in any way are the real sufferers, citing an example of how “Humanity suffers in the hands of Humanity”.