By YKA Staff:
Bezwada Wilson, national convenor of the Safai Karmachari Andolan, recently received the Magsaysay Award. He has been recognised for “leading a grassroots movement to eradicate the degrading servitude of manual scavenging in India, reclaiming for the Dalits the human dignity that is their natural birthright”.
Wilson’s Safai Karmachari Andolan fought a long legal battle for stricter enforcement of the 1993 Act prohibiting Manual Scavenging and also worked on the draft of the new 2013 Act. Besides advocacy work, his organisation also runs awareness drives. Earlier this year, the Andolan organised a Bhim Yatra, an awareness campaign on manual scavenging all across the country.
At a speech given at an event congratulating him for the award, Wilson, however, credits the “the people, the women, who have courageously thrown the basket despite the hurdles of caste”. In this video of his speech filmed by Dalit Camera, he questions the Swachh Bharat campaign of the government and strongly condemns cleaning being termed ‘a spiritual experience’ by the Prime Minister. “Any human cannot clean somebody’s shit for the sake of roti. This is Independent India,” he says.
Watch the video for his fiery take on the social evil of caste that perpetrates the inhuman practice of manual scavenging, despite strict laws against it.