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Conservancy workers - Dalits

Roshan Shaik | India

conservancy workers from Dalit community are working from the early morning to clean the garbages.

The caste system in India divides Hindus into four main categories - Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and the Shudras.

At the bottom of the heap were the Shudras, who came from Brahma's feet and did all the menial jobs. The main castes were further divided into about 3,000 castes and 25,000 sub-castes,each based on their specific occupation. Outside of this Hindu caste system were the achhoots - the Dalits or the untouchables.

Dalits are conservancy workers, also known as sweepers, are employed by the  Municipal Corporation. These workers collect the city's garbage, sweep the streets, clean the gutters, load and unload garbage trucks and work in the dumping grounds.They have little or no education. Without exception, all of them despise their work. They are either completely ignored or looked down upon with disgust by the rest of society. They have to work in the midst of filth, with no protective gear, not even access to water for washing off the slime.

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