Often we all end up in a parallel world! Don't we?!.
"This isn't real", "This isn't real"...'BOOM'.. I woke up gasping for breath. This is the 5th time i m getting lost in this unknown fantacy. I tried to move around, but this legs! They were aching, they made it hard for me to even feel them below my waist. I can feel my blood oozing out from my ankle. I can feel the tight grip of the rusting chains dragging my soul to some unknown depth. I looked out. Purples changing to Gold. The sun's beam creeping underneath my bed, fading even the last lumps of darkness. I stuck out my head through the window and pressed myself against the intensely cold mist. I wished to move out, to walk up to my school, to meet my friends, to ride my bike down the road for one last time.
I stared at my room, all messed up. It was only when i caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror that i realised how much i have changed. There were big swollen red bruises all over my face, neck and arms.
Nothing made sense to me and I felt deep pain, whenever i tried to recollect my past. "Not today", "not today" i kept saying until i heard Abba leaving. I listened sharply through my door. Mira must have set off to her school with Abba . I remember Mira, a miniature version of mine. But who was she? Who was Abba? PAIN... "Not today", "not today".... I sat down with my back to the door. I cant remember anything. I know them i know everyone but my mind kept playing tricks with my memory. I listened close. I can feel Maa near my door. She's the only one who spend time with me. I call her Maa. She brings me food, answer my queries but i dont know who she is or why she keep comming to me and comfort me. May be she owns this house. "Who am i?". PAIN........ "Not today" , "not today". I called out with all my strength. "Maa............can we go out?".
"Its too late betta, its pitch dark outside, we might end up somewhere wrong".
"But Maa , sun's shining, Abba went out right?".
"Try to sleep betta, I ll see you in the morning".
"But the windows?....". I sat there unheard.
The clock struck 12:00 The sun was still shining on the other side of my windows. Purples changing to Gold.
If we live in a a society, we ought to think of the interest think of the interest of society. And the society comprises of heterogeneous people, there are a section of people in our society whose 'basic rights' are oppressed and suppressed and they live a Ghetto-like existence in their own communities.
These people are the manual scavengers who are actually cleaning India's shit and dying everyday. If you look beyond celebrities and ministers, cleaning areas which have been cleaned before and posting pictures on social media of doing so, you would see the plight of thousands of manual scavengers who clean gutters, dry toilets, sewers and septic tanks, without septic gears. These are the real people who have been cleaning India's shit and dying everyday, and they still are not seen with a good eye in the society.
ARTICLE 15 of the Indian Constitution talks about 'discrimination'-that no person shall be discriminated on the basis of religion, race, caste, gender and society. Despite such prohibition even after 70 years of Independence these people have been facing discrimination since then. They face open threats of violence and negligence by the society and government.
The prevalent conceptual idea of of social and economic right, provides another way to look at basic human conditions necessary to live a life of freedom and dignity. Thus the Supreme Court in 1980s expanded the meaning of ARTICLE 21 i.e. 'Right to life' which Now means RIGHT TO LIVE WITH HUMAN DIGNITY. We need to ponder, do these people live with human dignity? and do we let them live with human dignity?
They are not scavengers because they are poor, weak or illiterate or because they have chosen to be scavengers, it's because somebody else has made them scavengers and it is we the society. We have been snatching and violating their basic rights since independence. And even after stringent provisions in the law, Manual Scavenging continues unabated in India.
And to abolish such inhumane practice THE SOCIETY NEEDS TO RECOGNIZE THAT IT EXISTS AT THE FIRST PLACE and there must be IMPLEMENTATION OF REHABILITATION MEASURES. The technology too can play a vital role in eradicating such practice.
And it is we the people who have to stop such practices and raise our voice wherever we see a member of society being exploited as a manual scavenger. We have to realize that they too are have equal right to live with human dignity as much as we do. They too have the equal right guaranteed by our constitution as much as we do.