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RE: 'My life cleaning Delhi's sewers'

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Nyaralego, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. Nyaralego

    Nyaralego JF-Expert Member

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    this is deadly!!!

    BBC NEWS | Programmes | From Our Own Correspondent | 'My life cleaning Delhi's sewers'

    India may be spending billions on its high tech space programme but its spending on sewers is decidedly low tech and deadly, reports the BBC's Rupa Jha.
    I live smelling death, but it is fine.

    Rewa Ram, sewer worker

    I will never forget the sight of that thin short man, wearing nothing but cotton underpants, strapped into a harness arrangement, disappearing down into a dark manhole beneath the streets of my home city.

    The diameter of the hole was so small that he bruised himself while slipping down.

    Inside was a dark well, full of sewage, with giant cockroaches sticking to the wall.

    Before he climbed in I asked him his name. I was really surprised when he answered flamboyantly, "Rewa Ram - Son of Khanjan."

    I thought: "He must be educated, seems to speak some English." But when I asked him, he said: "No. I'm a complete illiterate."

    When I looked down that hole into the drains of Delhi, the smell was overwhelming. Down below, he was coughing, trying hard to keep breathing.

    He was struggling to clear a blockage with his bare hands.

    Dizzying smell

    All of a sudden, a pipe protruding into the drain above his head started spewing out water and human faeces that poured over his body.

    I began to feel dizzy just looking down into this mess.

    My nostrils were filled with that obnoxious smell, a bit like of rotten eggs. I wanted to vomit. I felt weak and wanted to run away from the smell.

    I was born and brought up in India and for the past 15 years I have lived in Delhi, the capital city of one of the world's most rapidly growing economies. I am a member of the growing, upwardly mobile middle class.

    I suppose I represent the "roaring Tiger" India, but I am regularly shocked and surprised when I see the struggle for dignity that so many face here.

    Literally beneath the glitter of the big city lies a vast network of these dark drains, where so many Rewa Rams are struggling with toxic gases and human waste. They suffer disease and discrimination in return for cleaning the city's sewage system.

    Deadly job

    Rewa Ram is just one of thousands of sanitation workers in India who work hard to keep the cities, towns and villages clean.

    Most of them come from the community of lower caste Dalits as they are known, or untouchables.

    Health experts working in the field told me most of these workers would die before their retirement because of the poor health and safety conditions they work in. Their life expectancy is thought to be around 10 years less than the national average.
    Activists ask why India spends so much on space and so little on sewers

    Dr Ashish Mittal, an occupational health consultant, did a survey of the working conditions of sewage workers.

    He told me most of the workers suffer from chronic diseases, respiratory problems, skin disorders and allergies. He said they are constantly troubled by headaches and eye infections. I am not surprised.

    Rewa Ram was pulled out when he started feeling dizzy from the toxic fumes in the manhole.

    They were thick with a mixture of methane and hydrogen sulphide, both considered potentially fatal by the health experts.

    He needed water to clean himself, just a splash on his face could have made him feel better.

    His colleagues started banging on doors of the rich neighbourhood where he was working. Nobody opened their gate.

    Ancient sewers

    Human rights activists and trade unionists I have talked to ask a simple question. If the government of India can spend billions on its space programme, if Delhi can reach all its targets for the beautification of the city in time for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, including an underground train system, then why can't the sewage system be modernised?

    Why does it still rely on sending practically naked men down below the streets to clear the drains with their bare hands, being exposed to noxious gases which could take them to a premature grave?
    India's economy is growing rapidly, but not all are feeling the benefits

    I put these questions to the authorities.

    The reply? "We are trying our best."

    It did not really feel good enough after what I had seen.

    The law courts have passed several orders banning human beings from going into the sewage system unless it is an emergency.

    In Delhi it looks as if every day is an emergency in the sewers.

    Smell of death

    I asked Rewa Ram, still breathless and covered with the sewage from the drain: "How do you feel about having to do this work?"

    With folded arms, he replied: "I am not educated, I come from a very poor family of untouchables. What else can I expect?

    "At least I have a government job and I am able to feed my children. I get into this hell everyday but then this is my job.

    "I live smelling death, but it is fine."

    But is it fine? Why should he expect so little just because he comes from a lower caste and is not educated?

    How can our so-called civil society be so indifferent to the millions like him? I, for one, am left feeling guilty.

    From Our Own Correspondent was broadcast on Saturday, 7 February, 2009 at 1130 GMT on BBC Radio 4. Please check the programme schedules for World Service transmission times.

    Rupa Jha's report on India's sewage cleaners can be heard on the One Planet programme on BBC World Service on Thursday 12 February 2009 to Saturday 14 February. After broadcast you can download the podcast from here.
     
  2. P

    Pascal Mayalla JF-Expert Member

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    Jamani jiji la Dheli lisikie tuu na kuliona kwenye picha ama kwa mbali. Ukitoka town na kuingia kwa wenyeji, life is horrible and pathetic.
    Kama hujatoka nje ya mipaka yetu, utawahurumia masikini na ombaomba wa Kitanzania wanaishi feri na homeless, pia
    Nimeshuhudia zile nyumba za maboksi kwenye slums za Soweto, SA, lakini nilichokiona slum za Dheli ni mwisho na hakuna mfano.
    Hata kupata box ni deal, slums zina kuta za kanga, trasparent wakati wote, zimepangana pembeni ya barabara, zinaishi makundi ya familia 50 mpaka mia. Kila familia ni kichumba kimoja cha pembe nne za kanga, humo humo ni baba mama na watoto, hakuna aibu ya watoto kushuhudia mambo ya kikubwa, maisha ni kama wamyama. Wanajisaidia haja kubwa pembeni ya barabara mchana kweupe bila aibu yoyote kama wanyama wanavyojinafasi, yaani ni masikini wa kutupwa, akina 'matonya' wetu hapa ni matajiri.

    Kuuliza iweje watu hawa waishi hivi, nikaambiwa hao ndio the lowest caste yaani ni tabaka lililolaaniwa na ikitokea hata ugagusana nao ngozi yao, unadaiwa kupata nuksi.

    Hao lower caste wenyewe, wameaminishwa hivyo na kuamini hivyo 'Born to suffer'. Wengi wao, wanazaliwa barabarani, wanakulia barabara kwa kupata rizki yao majalalani, na wanafia hapo hapo barabarani. They are lucy, because as soon as they die, magari ya taka huwasomba haraka na kuichoma miili yao.
    Ni sisi watazamaji ndio tunawona wanateseka na kuwaonea huruma, wao wenyewe wanajiona wanabahati sana, 'just to be alive for just another day'.

    Wakati hao lower caste ndio wanaozea mitaa ya Dheli kwao India, huku kwetu Tanzania, lower caste ndio akina Vithlani wetu na Somaiya wetu wa jijini Dar es Salaam na maVogue yao!.
    Ama kweli 'Tanzania is indeed, The Land of Limitless Opportunities'.
     
  3. T

    The Truth JF-Expert Member

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    India's sewage cleaners are probably a few rungs above many Bantus on a socio-economic ladder. For example many people portrayed on the documentary Darwin's nightmare I am sure would trade places with these sewage cleaners. Because at least these sewage cleaners do not have to look for their next meal on a landfill of industrial waste, discarded fishbones, toxic chemicals etc. Now that is deadly!
     
  4. Kweli

    Kweli JF-Expert Member

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    Most of the time I've resisted the temptation ( like so many other here) to contribute to your posts. Because majorities of them are proved to be driven on ethnic base line and proved to be wrong/lies time and time again as opposed to truth which you claim to advocate.

    I agree with you to some degree, however to so many poor Indians, I am afraid their life is exactly the same if not worse than those potrayed in Darwin's documentary.
    I've spent 2 months in Bombay, Bangalore and Delhi and have witnessed these things myself not from Darwin documentary.
    Visit any garbage heap -- in Bombay and you never have to go far to stumble upon one -- ('cause they are everywhere) and you will too often find someone digging through them for food. On one dump on the road to Bandra station, I even witnessed a poor Indian woman and two filthy pigs sharing around same left over and that is Bombay I am talking about!!. Visit any Bombay slums and the usual sight of bare feet kids in rags picking little edibles from dumps and bins is everywhere.. You can't distort these facts to some of us who had actually witnessed these appalling living condition.
    Yes nobody deny the facts that some part of Africa people are scavenging for food, mostly due to Famine, extreme drought and so on. In India due to over population in their big cities. People live in squalid condition and in some of the slums their living conditions is so appalling than most Bantus lands you are talking about.
    Have you heard the stories of Indians selling their live organs? Pimped for their young daughters? just to survive!!! All because of their extreme poverty! I can't even explain some of the horrible experiences I have come across in India.
    Lord have mercy!
     
  5. T

    The Truth JF-Expert Member

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    Drought? Excuse my ignorance but wasn't Darwin's Nightmare filmed around Africa's largest lake i.e. Lake Victoria? How can you have drought few meters from one of the world's largest sources of fresh water? Plus how can you have famine when the same lake is full of Nile Perch? On top of everything you are surrounded by wildlife and squatting on top of arable land. None of your excuses...ooops I mean reasons make any sense to me. What I can tell you, the reason has to do with low average intelligence among the people. India with all of her problems which I am not denying exist, is still years ahead of sub-Saharan Africa by any measure you would like to use.
     
  6. Nyani Ngabu

    Nyani Ngabu Platinum Member

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    Hihihihihihihiiii...Raj ananifurahisha sana
     
  7. M

    Mfumwa JF-Expert Member

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    Huu waweza kuwa ubaguzi wa rangi...
     
  8. Lole Gwakisa

    Lole Gwakisa JF-Expert Member

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    I beg to differ sir,When yo travel out of this country is when you note that some problems in our society are more or less solvable and with very little effort and detrmination.Not is these well established caste systems where one is born into slavery and bondage.
    No education in India will remove your servitude status!
    I was in Chennai in December, the people are very kind and helpful, but man, the whole city stinks! You have to get used to it.
    Many rivers criss crossing the city-Chennai,but they are in fact open sewers!
    Do you think Msimbazi River stinks? then go to this place!
     
  9. K

    Koba JF-Expert Member

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    ....kwi kwi kwi,unajidai tuu huku mnaishi na panya mpaka barabarani,hapo bado hatujaanza kusema mna chawa...kwi kwi kwi kwiw kwi!!
     
  10. Nyani Ngabu

    Nyani Ngabu Platinum Member

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    na wewe nasikia una mapunye...bwahahahahahahaaaa
     
  11. Yo Yo

    Yo Yo JF-Expert Member

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    Siamini pasco ni kweli yaani ninaowasikia wahindi ndio wanaishi hivi?
    [​IMG]
    Flies, ubiquitous slum pests, look for salt and moisture around an infant’s eyes.

    Haiwezekani labda hizi picha ni za africa....India haiwezi kuwa hivi...
    Truth,these pictures are from africa not India....
    [​IMG]
     

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  12. K

    Koba JF-Expert Member

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    ...kwi kwi kwi tafadhari ongezeni picha za kina Truth na ndugu zake waliojaa chawa na IQ ya kuku!
     
  13. T

    The Truth JF-Expert Member

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    So why aren't you solving your problems? The fact that your problems are easily solved and you can't seem to solve then what does that say about you?
     
  14. Yo Yo

    Yo Yo JF-Expert Member

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    whats up the truth,how is Mumbai.....
     
  15. T

    The Truth JF-Expert Member

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  16. Steve Dii

    Steve Dii JF-Expert Member

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    :) :)
     
  17. Nyani Ngabu

    Nyani Ngabu Platinum Member

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    What Steve?
     
  18. Steve Dii

    Steve Dii JF-Expert Member

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    Naah, that comment toward Koba, the 4'feet ever stubborn being cracked me up!!!
     
  19. P

    Phillemon Mikael JF Gold Member

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    nimepita delhi ,nimeona sewer zao zinazotambaa ...si mchezo !!!..kwa wale waliosoma au kupita pale wanakusoma...
     
  20. S

    Sunguch New Member

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    Yep, Wahindi kwao wana hii kitu "Caste", wengi ya wahindi tuanaowafahamu sisi East Africa ni wale wa "Upper Caste". Kila nchi ina matatizo yake bwana, nimeshangaa sana kuona no one mentioned the same happening, nenda mitaa ya Sinza, Manzese na kwingineko jijini Dar-Es-Salaam, kama sio niliona na kushuhudia kwa macho yangu, wanaume shupavu wakiepua kinyesi toka mashimo ya vyoo kwa kutumia zana kama mikono, kamba, ngazi na ndoo asikuambie mtu kaka, tena nimeona ule utaalam hawa jamaa wanaotumia "kufaulisha" vyoo ambapo mara nyingine ni hatari, kama pale wanapochimba shimo nyuma ya shimo la choo halafu wanatoboa kati kupitisha kinyesi toka shimo moja hadi lingine, si mchezo mchezo!!:D So kabla hatujatoa vibanzi vya wahindi tuondoe kwanza maboriti, he he he! Btw, anyone watched the Slum Dog Millionaire, it is a cool movie I think.:D

    Still India as a nation is far in so many ways ahead of us. Siku moja nasisi labda tutafika, hasa pale tutakaposimamisha serikali ya maana na Wana-Jamii tukaweza kuwa na mamlaka na uhuru na nchi yetu, uhuru wa elimu na kuwaondoa Watanzania toka kwenye Lindi la umaskini wakati wachache wanainyonya nchi bila huruma. Ipo Siku. Power to the people.
     
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