'What's worse than the job is the humiliation,' say India's sewer cleaners: Invisible Asia Ep 5

  • 19 May 2021

Invisible Asia Ep 5: 'What's worse than the job is the humiliation,' say India's sewer cleaners 11:56 min Synopsis: The Invisible Asia Podcast is a special edition series in which The Straits Times casts the spotlight on people and communities living in the shadows of their societies where they exist largely unseen and unheard of. Do follow all nine episodes of Invisible Asia over the next two months on The Straits Times podcast channel on Apple podcasts, Spotify or Google podcasts. The Straits Times' India correspondent Rohini Mohan shines the spotlight on India's sewer cleaners. As many as a million Dalits - the lowest of the low in India's caste-ridden society - still ply the dangerous trade despite it having been outlawed for years. And they are powerless to escape it. In a country plagued with millions of choked toilets and drains, these indispensable workers go about their jobs daily without professional equipment, risking death from toxic fumes or drowning in liquid human waste, all to eke a living. Our series' narrator is Tan Jia Ning:  Pedanna speaks of clearing out human waste in the streets, homes and offices, and of the abuse he faces daily for being a sewer cleaner (0:55) The Indian government’s efforts to outlaw the dehumanising practice of manual scavenging has served only to force these workers underground (3:24) Few police complaints are ever filed when a sewer cleaner dies at work, and the workers are often powerless to fight for compensation (5:54) Senior sewer cleaner Munisamy shares how he copes with the daily disgust and humiliation he faces on the job (9:03) Munisamy's 17-year-old granddaughter Chandana is among a new generation of Dalits who refuse to be silenced (9:50) Read the full story by Rohini Mohan: https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/whats-worse-than-the-job-is-the-humiliation-we-face Produced by: Magdalene Fung, Tan Jia Ning, Sazali Abdul Aziz, Rohit Brijnath, Penelope Lee, Ernest Luis & Adam Azlee Edited by: Adam Azlee Discover Invisible Asia Podcast playlist: https://omny.fm/shows/st-bt/playlists/invisible-asia Discover Invisible Asia Video playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnK3VE4BKduNKeEL19yhXFVHxGB8X315b Discover ST & BT podcasts: Channel: https://str.sg/JWVR Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2PwZCYU Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2Lu4rPP Google podcasts: http://str.sg/googlestbt Websites: http://str.sg/stbtpodcasts https://bt.sg/moneyhacks Feedback to: podcast@sph.com.sg  --- Discover more ST podcast series: Asian Insider Podcast: https://str.sg/JWa7 Green Pulse Podcast: https://str.sg/JWaf Health Check Podcast: https://str.sg/JWaN ST Sports Talk Podcast: https://str.sg/JWRE Life Weekend Picks Podcast: https://str.sg/JWa2 #PopVultures Podcast: https://str.sg/JWad Bookmark This! Podcast: https://str.sg/JWas Lunch With Sumiko Podcast: https://str.sg/J6hQ Discover BT Podcasts:  http://bt.sg/podcasts Follow our shows then, if you like short, practical podcasts! See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.