21 April, 2021

For Work Is Worship

Poverty knows no caste. Many Brahmins eke out a living cleaning toilets, pulling rickshaws.

Narendra Bisht
For Work Is Worship
Not all Brahmins are successful technocrats or bureaucrats. Across the country the poor among the upper-most Hindu caste have to eke out a miserable existence like the rest of humanity’s economically deprived. In Delhi, Outlook caught up with sanitation workers employed by Sulabh, an NGO which runs public toilets.

Forty of Sulabh’s toilet cleaners are Brahmins, most of them from Bihar. Says Kashinath Jha, a maintenance engineer at Sulabh: "This is largely because of the abject poverty in Bihar." The Brahmin sanitation staff are from what is believed to be a large Brahmin migrant labour population in Delhi consisting of rickshaw-pullers, coolies and vegetable vendors.

Kamlesh Chaudhary, one of the Brahmin sanitation workers at Sulabh’s toilet complex inside Azadpur vegetable market in Delhi, says: "Our income from farming is meagre as the region where we come from is prone to floods and drought. Most people like us leave in search of jobs and come to the cities." Jha left home in Samastipur and joined Sulabh six years ago...

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