New Delhi, India – Rajni was only 10 when her mother told her that she would spend her life picking up human excrement from dry latrines. They belong to the Valmiki caste, regarded as the lowest among the Dalits – formerly India’s untouchables.
“She said that we are born to do this. First, we clean the waste of others and then we get to eat,” Rajni recalls her mother saying.
Now 21, Rajni remembers how sick she felt for most of her childhood; the stink emanating from the excrement; and the flies that followed her when she carried the waste in a basket fetched from the households in her village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
“The worst days were when it rained. The waste would drip onto your neck and shoulders,” she told Al Jazeera. “You wanted to keep throwing up.”
Rajni was married as a teenager and continued to be a manual scavenger in her husband’s village until 2012 when Sulabh International, a non- profit organisation, replaced the dry latrines in her village with flush toilets.But unlike Rajni, thousands of others are still forced to clean the human waste across India despite parliament passing a stringent law against manual scavenging last year.
But unlike Rajni, thousands of others are still forced to clean the human waste across India despite parliament passing a stringent law against manual scavenging last year…read it at Al Jazeera.