'Why do human beings have to clean shit?'

Venkatesh S Bijapur October 24, 2018

Bezwada Wilson has spent his life organising safai karamcharis. He tells Aditi Phadnis that every Indian has the responsibility of ending the dehumanising practice of manual scavenging.

When did you start working on the campaign to end manual scavenging?

I was born in Kolar, Karnataka -- home to the Kolar gold fields; the second city in Asia to be fully electrified because of the Sivasamudram hydel power project. Also, a city served by manual scavenging.

I was born in a community of manual scavengers. My parents did that work, as did others around me: They would have to go to dry latrines, fill buckets with human excreta, load it on to tankers, which would then take it to the open outskirts of the city for dumping.

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