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Humiliating practice

The article “Throwing off the yoke of manual scavenging” (Oct. 27) has rightly exposed a social paradox — the anger of those engaged in the humiliating profession and the fact that they have no option but to carry on with it. The government should introduce mechanical scavenging throughout the country and rehabilitate the manual scavengers. The educated and the enlightened remaining mute spectators to this inhuman practice is a crime.

A. Clement,

Chennai

Passing a radical law is one thing. Implementing it sincerely — to alter the deeply embedded social relations — is something the political class is not yet ready for. We talk of class relations in an abstract and academic manner but manual scavengers have been carrying on with their work for generations, notwithstanding modernisation.

In most places, septic tank cleaning is done manually and no serious attempt has been made to make technological improvements because the work is done by the lowest strata of society at the lowest cost. Technological institutes should take up the task of developing appropriate technology in this field.

P.K. Misra,

Mysore

The forceful article draws our attention to the most shameful practice. Decades ago, eminent Malayalam author Thagazhi Sivasangara Pillai wrote an emotionally surcharged novel Thottiyude Makan (son of a manual scavenger), narrating the tale of successive generations attempting in vain to get out of their shackles.

Basically, we do not respect manual labour. Sweeping and scavenging are graded the lowest, and those engaged in it are treated the worst. The Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front, an upcoming forum in the State against all forms of humiliation against Dalits, has extended support to the national yatra referred to in the article.

S.V. Venugopalan,

Chennai

We claim India is shining but practices such as manual scavenging continue to exist. In his popular novel The Untouchable, Mulk Raj Anand depicted the social violence in the lives of scavengers. In addition to untouchability, the job imposes on the scavenger an everlasting numbness.

Raja Sekhar Patteti,

Guntur

Nothing could be more abhorrent and inhuman than manual scavenging. Is there no light at the end of the tunnel for those engaged in the profession for ages? Is it possible to provide them an alternative source of livelihood? The vicious cycle has to end.

Anupama Yadav,

Ghaziabad

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