Ages back, while in primary school, I remember visiting a relative in Vellore in Tamil Nadu. There was no toilet attached or non-attached, and we had to use an enclosed space outside for everything. The scene of sanitary workers coming every morning to clean up the place is still very vivid in my memory. I used to feel sick thinking about what they had to do. Now in 2019, things are far improved, thanks to increased awareness and the government’s mission of facilitating building of record number of toilets all over the country. But the contribution of sanitary workers is still unmeasurable though not given enough weightage.
Understanding the value of cleaning workers, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently washed the feet of sanitation workers at the Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj. Through this gesture, the PM is showing that more than monetary benefits, what would reward those engaged in cleaning up the places which we dirty, is the recognition of their work and the dignity they get in the society. Because, how much ever we depend on machines or technology, what they can do is quite different and essential. While the sanitation workers were moved by this act of the Prime Minister, the more privileged citizens too were given a strong message. The cleaning and sanitation workers are the key component of India’s Swachh Barat Mission because cleaning works bottom up.
Clean India Journal has been advocating dignity of labour for the cleaning staff at all levels. Many young people shy away from joining a cleaning company as they are not sure about the way the society will look at them. Our Country Leader has taken the first step in giving them the needed confidence. We, at Clean India Journal, are proud of what we have been working at and wanting to propagate.