January 02, 2006 – Scavenging Generations: A Look at India’s Caste System
In India, people are divided and known according to the castes they belong to. Caste is ancient system of social stratification followed by Hindus for centuries and still intact in its primitive form. From admission to schools and colleges to employment or electioneering everything depends on castes. The lowest strata in the caste system are outcastes – means they don’t belong to any caste- and primarily lives to do jobs that nobody else would touch. One of the jobs they are assigned for centuries is scavenging. However educated you are, as seen here in the state of Gujarat, you are destined to clean up roads and public toilets generations after generations. Identified under different names, the members of this particular community is more than one million in India. They are part of the untouchables. They cannot enter temples, homes, restaurants and so much so that utensils for them are destroyed after they use it once for the fear of not contracting the lower caste phobia. In this documentary, FSRN’s Binu Alex traveled across western Indian state of Gujarat to see their condition and reports why they cannot come out this stigma.