The curse of untouchability....
An Employee of Our Times
A woman i saw
Sorry,A working women i saw
Not very different from all
Middle-aged and illiterate
Yet the only provider for the family
With wages low and discriminatory
Timings prescribed as compulsory
Bindings without negotiations
With a job- warranty for eternity
Within a repressive culture that forces her to
Follow a practice banned by law
(of which by the way she has no clue)
Moulded to fit in and
Conditioned not to question
Forbidden not to think
Barred from opting out
Excluded from progression
Controlled to check empowerment
Chained to docility for a lifetime
Doing the job of "MANUAL SCAVENGING"
Last year, around the same time I had the glimpse at reality....I saw the plight of dalit women in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Being born and bought up entirely in an urban environment the only places where I came across the word manual scavenging or untouchabilty was in books. I never could truly understand their predicament until the day I interacted with women from the particular community.
The inherent gender bias in the system seems to be at work here as well. Women do most of the work of manual scavenging , household work, raising children but men of the community spend time playing drums during celebrations. In fact for most part of the time men only spend time drinking.
The women involved in this demeaning task of manual scavenging are addicted to betel, drinking as well. Their health and hygiene are disregarded and they usually continue working all through their lives.
Women are considered merely as living things that work and reproduce. Raised with the same mindset women seem to fit in the same stereotype making change a very difficult process.
Even though interventions had very recently put an end to this practice in this village there seems to be a long list of questions about what falls next. Also the caste politics at play prevents children from these communities from accessing education making even "mere existence" a question mark for them?