18 April, 2021

Manu Over Ambedkar

Gujarat’s Balmiki kids face daily humiliations in school and village

Photographs Courtesy: Navsarjan Trust
Manu Over Ambedkar

Our Kids, Their Kids

  • Children of safai karmacharis in Gujarat are forced by teachers to clean toilets and mop floors in school
  • They are abused and beaten if they refuse to do the menial tasks
  • Treated as untouchables and kept at arm’s length by upper caste students 
  • In some areas, they are not even allowed to drink from a common source of water
  • Reports of their notebooks never being corrected since teachers don’t like to handle their books


They had, it seems, come from all corners of Gujarat. From Gandhinagar to tribal Panchmahals, from Porbandar on the western coast to the Dangs at its southern tip. The children arrived at the Mahatma’s Sabarmati ashram, lining up solemnly in their new Gandhi caps. At the gates, they were welcomed with handwoven cotton thread malas by elderly Gandhian leaders.

They were children of safai karamcharis, Balmiki kids used...

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