April 15th, 2016
The appalling state of manual scavengers is a matter of big concern. More than 20,000 people die in India every year while participating in manual scavenging acts. Though these people work for day and night to clean our society, hardly we show any affection or love towards them. We choose to stay away from this section of people. Like India, manual scavengers still exist in many Asian countries. Another country grappling with a major problem of manual scavenging is Bangladesh. This story is of a Bangladeshi teenager Mohammad Rabbi, who has chosen to take up sweeping as a profession.
Rabbi lost his mother when he was a child. Being raised by his father and stepmother, Rabbi was not at all loved by his stepmother. She used to beat him, and Rabbi silently withstood it everyday. One day his stepmother threw him out of the house. He cried all night standing in front of the door, but no one, not even his father, came out to take him inside. He left the house in Chandpur and reached the capital, Dhaka. Without food and water, he faced pangs of hunger and thirst. He roamed the streets and sometimes ate whatever he could get from dustbins on the road. One day he got the job of a sweeper. Since then he is sweeping roads and areas in Dhaka. He does his job assiduously. But his regret is that nobody loves him, and people hardly talk to him.
In an interview with a Bangladeshi photographer Akash, Rabbi said, “Today, I am very happy, brother, nobody ever took my photo, no one ever wanted to know if I have something to share. When you tell my story to the world, please tell them not to hate us. If we stop cleaning, you won’t come out of your homes or probably die of the smell. We are servants, we go into your rubbish, by becoming dirty, we cleanse you; by being impure, we purify you. Please do not look at us with hatred.“
The Logical Indian urges people to show some heart to these people, who are working relentlessly to clean our city. We must not condescend these people; rather we must look at them with a sense of affection. It is also imperative for governments to find solutions of manual scavenging, why must a section of society suffer for the actions of the people, for our own waste.
Akash, a photographer narrates a heart-touching story on Facebook.