Dr. Sanghmitra Acharya’s talk on ‘The Cleaning Brigade: Connects and Disconnects’ addressed factors characterising sanitation work and how the instricially discriminatory nature of this work impacts the lives of those engaged in it. Caste is a unique determinant of social discrimination in the Indian Sub-continent that has impacted the sanitation workers in specific ways. The process of caste based social discrimination embedded in religion and history has accentuated deprivation and denial among them. While much of the literature has explored social discrimination in general; not much seems to reflect on the experience of social discrimination and humiliation experienced by these workers; and consequences of such experiences. The present research explores the determinants of engaging in scavenging and cleaning; notion of dignity associated with it; and the factors which govern their continuance in these works and what is the alternative available. Social discrimination experienced by Dalits engaged in scavenging and cleaning in accessing resources to enhance literacy, skills, health, basic housing and related infrastructure has also been examined. The present work, thus endeavours to understand the current status and identify the gaps to inform the policymakers.
Dr. Acharya is Director, Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, New Delhi, currently on deputation from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, where she is a Professor in the Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, School of Social Sciences. She has been a Visiting Fellow at CASS, China; Ball State University, USA and UPPI, Manila, The Philippines; East West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii and University of Botswana. She was awarded Asian Scholarship Foundation fellowship in 2005. She has published extensively in peer reviewed journals on the issues of health and sexuality among youth; gender in urban spaces; North East India and social discrimination in health care access. She has three books and about thirty articles to her credit. Her recent work includes a co-edited book titled ‘Marginalization in Globalizing Delhi- Issues of Land, Labour and Health’ published by Springer.
CORP Seminar Series
This is the 13th in the series of the Community of Research and Practice (CORP) seminar series curated by the Scaling City Institutions for India: Sanitation (SCI-FI: Sanitation) initiative.
Scaling City Institutions For India: Sanitation (SCI-FI): Sanitation is a research programme at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) on inclusive and sustainable urban sanitation. In the programme we seek to understand the reasons for poor sanitation, and to examine how these might be related to technology and service delivery models, institutions, governance and financial issues, and socio-economic dimensions. The programme seeks to support national, state and city authorities develop policies and programmes for intervention with the goal of increasing access to safe and sustainable sanitation in urban areas.