Tag Archives: vocation

Dalit Manual Scavengers

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer… (listen at 47 min 13 sec)

At the risk of sounding like an old fogey complaining about the “youth of today”, I often get the feeling that my students have no idea just how lucky they have it. That said, I too am generally blithely aware of just how easy I myself have it.

Having listened to this interview, I cannot help but contrast my own life circumstances with that of India’s Dalit population: those born into the untouchable caste, destined to a lifetime of hardship and discrimination. The interviewer talks with a Dalit lady named Lakshmi, who makes her living by emptying human waste from non-flushing toilets. In the course of her day’s work, which fits under the heading of “manual scavenging”, she is regularly covered in excrement, and as a result faces terrible discrimination. As one example, she is not allowed to touch food at the markets, and when she wishes to purchase something she is made to pick it up from the floor, well away from the other customers. The sadness with which she tells her tale drives home the vast disparity in the way in which our world’s riches are distributed.

People At Work


An interesting, visual look at the work people do around the world every day.  If you are studying globalisation, the importance of labour, production techniques, issues of scale, culture or photography, this resource ought to be of interest. Like it or not, the work we do has a huge impact on how we are perceived, both by our selves and by others: looking at the huge range of work being performed can help put things into perspective.