When debating on any dalit issues, a particular argument is blindly placed often. That, the caste system had forced the dalits to do menial jobs for generations. Among the menial jobs, two cases are often cited.
1. Night Soil Cleaning
2. Sewage cleaning
But on detailed analysis of this accusation, i found that it is baseless and untrue.
Let me explain my findings.
Night Soil Cleaning:
This means, cleaning of the human waste. I will take the example of “Septic Tank” cleaning, that is done today by a section of people in cities and towns. The elite indians and the secularists often blame caste system for the pathetic state of those people who do this work of septic tank cleaning. But there are many contradictions in this blame.
Let us consider the situation 20 years before. ie, around 1990s, when india was NOT yet liberalised and globalised.
During 1980s and 1990’s, 99% of the rural villages do not have the system of toilet. All the village people defecate either in open fields in the outskirts, or in the nearby bushes. Since, a typical village is made up of around 1000 to 2000 people, and usually surrounded by forests or fields, the people did not have the necessity to have toilet facilities.
Now, if there is no toilet in villages even at 1980s, we can very well assume that the same was the case during 1900’s, 1800’s and in the entire past of hindu india. I am specifically mentioning hindu india, for a reason which we discuss later on.
If village system do not have toilets, how can the caste system force the dalits to clean night soil?
The propoganda of the secularists is outrightly false in this case, as night soil cleaning is never part of the caste profession.
Who forced dalits to be septic cleaners?
Now lets analyse how come the dalits happened to be septic tank cleaners.
We need to understand that NOT all dalits do this menial job. Only specific community, who happened to be extremely poor, are doing this now. But how they came in to this job?
The toilet system is the most necessary, only in Urban system. Wherever a town or city is created, every house has to have a toilet, as there is no open space for defecation. So, when there is a toilet system, there is a septic tank.
When the whole town is using toilets, then there arises a need to clean the septic tanks once its filled. Thus, the urban people was in need of some one to clean their septic tanks. Unfourtunately, the dalits who had a means of living in rural villages, were left as an orphans as their village became towns. They have to earn for basic living, and for earning, they have to do some jobs. With limited opportunities, and unable to accustom to sudden environmental changes of their area from village to town, some people, had to compromise in doing this menial job of septic tank cleaning.
Its natural, that for any job where man power is less, there is a demand, the demand for septic tank cleaners increased, and gradually, the entire community started doing this job for survival.
Now, let me ask this question.
Who is responsible for dalits cleaning night soil? Is it caste sytem or Urban system?
Why is caste system accused for this, while the actual perpetrator is the urban people?
Now, coming to the point of night soil cleaning, this system was actually first brought to india by the invading muslim rulers. The life style of the muslim invaders were predominantly urban oriented, and hence they had already employed slaves for night soil cleaning in their original homeland. Later, when they invaded india, they forced the defeated army to do that job. Since for the next thousand years, it was the muslim rule, and muslim rulers happened to rule many parts of india, the night soil cleaning was often forced upon defeated or captured forces, who later became a community in itself.
When britishers came, they expanded the urban system as a government policy itself, which further increased the demand for night soil cleaners.
Like toilet system, sewage system are present only in towns and cities. Have we ever seen any sewage in villages?
In villages, due to low density of population, there was no necessity for separate sewages. The waste water decomposes naturally in open spaces.
So, who is responsible for forcing dalit people to clean sewages. The same urban system.
How come caste system be responsible for that?
Today, we find that the demand for sewage cleaning is directly proportional to the expansion of the cities. The more the city expands, the more the need for sewages.
More worse is the underground sewages constructed in big cities. Atleast in open sewages, its relatively easy to clean it. But in the case of underground, it requires the employees to clean it by entering in to the tunnel.
This kind of urban development is very artificial, and it is such system, which creates a necessity for the people to do such menial jobs.
And normally, when cities expand in to nearby areas, the forward communities, who mostly posses lands sell it and comfortably settle in the expanding city. But the dalits people and other poor communities, who once depended on the agricultural lands, now become landless and also pennyless. Everyone knows, that everything is commodotised in india, right from food to education to hospitals.
In a typical city, no one can live without money. what will the dalits do? The public lands around them are encroached or converted in to plots. So these dalit people become slum dwellers around a concrete houses. It is the same people, who later become a servant to these new middle class colonies.
In villages, the dalits had decent agriculture job. But in urban colonies what kind of job they have? without education, they can offer only physical labour. And in urban cities, physical labour is needed mostly for disposing wastes, cleaning sewages and toilets, and cleaning septic tanks. And such physical labour is commodotised under the guise of “Cheap Labour”, to be exploited by the urbanites. Contrary to this, in villages, the dalits often received their wages as a share of the agricultural produce. So, their labour is treated in participatory mode, and NOT cheaply commodotised.
The later day clashes b/w dalits and land owners arose due to monetisation of agriculture, and hence when wages were started to be paid in cash, it became unaffordable both for farmers and the labourers. As usual, the communist vultures treated this as opportune moment and played their havoc.
90% of india was Rural:
We all know that during independance, 90% of india was rural. I think, the same situation continued as late as 1980s’, where atleast 85% should have been rural. Which means, 85% of india did not know what is meant by toilet. So, it is that 15% who had exploited the dalits, but to cover up, started accusing the rural caste system. The rural villagers so far was NOT used to such kind of intellectual terrorism and hence silently suffered from this kind of ostracisation. Today, with more people educated from rural areas, it is their duty to dispel such kinds of myths, and bring those urban intellectuals in to trial.
As an additional note, i would like to inform that the brahmins of rural india, too did not have any toilets and I hope they too defecated in open grounds. If any of the brahmins are from rural side or have living memory of rural life, please enlighten me.
I will end with the following questions.
1. Is the urban elites trying to conceal their sins, by shifting the blame on caste system?
2. The so called secular writers, human right activists (read communists), and other torch bearers of social justice, live in urban centers, probably in posh bungalows, utilise the very same dalit people for cleaning their toilets, and septic tanks, and also pay a tax to the municipality who further employs dalits to clean the sewages. Are these writers not part of a system that forces dalits to do menial jobs?
3. So far, caste system is heavily blamed and tarnished for making dalits to do menial jobs. Now since its proved that it is the urban system which is the culprit, will those elites, and torch bearers, accuse and blame the urban system as evil? Ofcourse, in my view it is the most evil.