Manual scavenging remains a reality despite ban

Lucknow: It is the 121st birth anniversary of the father of India’s Constitution Dr BR Ambedkar who fought against untouchability and manual scavenging. CNN-IBN shows how in the heart of Lucknow, practices like manual scavenging and untouchability still exist, raising questions over the government’s claims to have successfully enforced the ban in six months.

In 1984, an alcoholic husband and her children going hungry forced Vimla to sell her jewellery, gather Rs 2,000 and ‘buy’ the right to manually clean toilets from another worker. Now, close to two decades after manual scavenging was banned, she continues clean toilets in over 40 homes and makes just Rs 4,000 per month.

“Nothing has changed in my life. People came and went, kept saying I will get a job, but I never got one. I don’t have an option, but to do this,” Vimla said.

One of the homes that Vimla cleans is that of Farzana’s. Farzana runs a tea stall, but her house has a dry toilet.

“If Vimla does not come for 15 days, there are worms in the house, there is a threat of illness also,” Farzana said.

In the narrow streets of Lucknow, there are hundreds of dry toilets and there are at least 80 known cases of people like Vimla who do this for a living.

In Lucknow’s Ayaganj, Wazirabad, Sadadganj, Bilospura and Turiaganj, there are hundreds of such dry toilets. The latest census reveals that across India there are nearly 8 lakh homes that rely on human beings to clean their dry toilets and another 5 lakh rely on animals.

Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik said, “There is lack of information. Also, we have a law that bans employment of manual scavengers and construction of dry latrines, but we don’t have a single prosecution.

The Centre is now thinking of bringing in a new law to fight this shame, but perhaps what is sorely lacking is political will.


WARNING To India: Dont Tempt Us

By: Faisal Awan
The writer is a member of editorial team of

With too many Bollywood characters punctuating tiers of Lok Saba it seems like Bollywood action movie theme and mind set has inculcated in the hierarchy of the Indian Army to hilarious limits as well. The precedence of such mindset was exhibited by none other than its Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, when he claimed “Indian army is ready to battle Pakistan and China at the same time”. This statement was further bolstered by Lt-General A S Lamba that “India within 48 hours of the start of assault can enter Pakistan”. The Indian Think Tanks and Indian Army are missing the cue that thrusting a war on Pakistan and entering Pakistan is by no means a Hindi Bollywood version of Adolf Hitler taking over Austria and Czechoslovakia or a Bollywood Remix version of “The Guns of Navarone”.

Indian government and army needs to understand that their unyielding greed for bloodshed and hegemony will back fire just like it did in September 1965, when General Joyanto Nath Chaudhri confidently and boastfully told his officers that he would like to have his evening drink at Lahore Gymkhana. What history witnessed then in the next 2-3 weeks was none other than a consummate squashing of their army chief’s wishful dream.

The drunken leadership of the Indian Army is trampling the tolerance of Pakistani people and is coquetting with fire. Indian government and its army’s multifaceted exploitation of Pakistan’s desire to peace must not be considered its weakness. The warmongers are forgetting that nothing is too big to cross for the resolute, tenacious and unyielding nation which the world calls The Pakistanis. But if these buffoons are under the impression that they will enter Pakistan in 48 hours, ironically giving themselves 24 hours more than General Joyanto Nath Chaudhri, then this will be the last mistake they will be making. The fate of General Joyanto Nath Chaudhri and his yes men should not be forgotten. If we can teach a lesson in 1965, then make no mistake about it that we are now a Nuclear Power and our enemies will be hung in the streets of their own country by Pakistani Army Jawans without any concession of their ranks in Indian Army.

The Indian authorities should strive to refrain themselves from such assertions which has historically caused nothing but utter embarrassment and disgrace to its country. The Pakistan army, Pakistani youth and the Pakistani nation has the resilience and audacity to slap a response to any aggression towards ideological and geographical boundaries of its Pak Sarzameen.