What I Learnt From Climbing into Human Waste: Documentary

by Chase by ScoopWhoop

Manual scavenging refers to the practice of manually cleaning, carrying, disposing or handling in any manner, human excreta from dry latrines and sewers.

It often involves using the most basic of tools such as buckets, brooms and baskets.

The practice of manual scavenging is linked to India’s caste system where so-called lower castes were expected to perform this job.

Manual scavengers are amongst the poorest and most disadvantaged communities in India. In the heart of the financial capital of the world's fastest growing economy, India, the amount of sewage generated is beyond compare. And still today, there are people who deal with the shit with their bare hands everyday. We investigated into the unfair practice of sewage treatment in Mumbai.

While the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared the eradication of manual scavenging by 2019, the ground reality is starkly contrasting and fulfilment of the Prime Minister’s promise looks difficult.

As per the 2011 Socio-Economic and Case Census, 1,82,505 rural households in India were dependent on manual scavenging for income. The biggest problem in addressing the issue of manual scavengers is the lack of Central and state governments to accept that the practice still exists and declare actual figures related to the number of manual scavengers.

We chose to make the film to not only highlight the plight of the manual scavengers but also bring out the apathy of the general public towards them. The caste system is so well entrenched in our society that it's seemingly impossible for those at the bottom most rung of the ladder to do away with the prejudice and stigma attached to their community.

We thought shooting the film would not be an issue, but it was both mentally and physically exhausting. It's one thing to talk about the oppressed class and another when you are actually in their shoes.

Questions about this documentary?
email id: pragya.saini@scoopwhoop.com

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