The article “Toilet Cleaners Deemed Untouchable in India” gives an account of the life and tribulations of individuals at the bottom of India’s social order. The account is given by the then young boy Bindeshwar Pathak’s. The author gives the experience of Bindeshwar Pathak’s and his purification to subsequently build on the challenges the so-called “scavengers” go through as they fit into their society even after their life from the city’s toilets. The main challenges of isolation and humiliation that the men and women initially referred to by the derogatory name bhangi and currently to “scavengers” are portrayed by the experiences of Bindeshwar Pathak’s purification and accounts given by individuals the foundation he operates rescued.
The article begins with the author highlighting Bindeshwar Pathak’s purification by his grandmother at an age of 7 years after he supposedly was in contact with the “untouchable” woman. Through the experience, the origin of Pathak’s volunteer organization, Sulabh International in Delhi is founded. The article then highlights the living conditions and the work environment of the “scavengers” or bhangi. The conditions at work are recounted by the article through time reporting to work the many homes the bhangi or “scavengers” are to visit while at work. The living conditions are illustrated by the sticking and segregated areas they stay with pigs and other animals. Finally, the article gives the empty promises made by previous leaders including Mahatma Gandhi to improve the living conditions of “scavengers.
As a conclusion, the main ideas the article brings are the isolation and humiliations “scavengers” go through in the societies they live in. The article uses experiences Bindeshwar Pathak’s, the achievements of his organization, and the individuals the organization has rescued to build on the main ideas.
Toilet Cleaners Deemed “Untouchable” in India .St. Petersburg Times April 10, 1999