Diary Of A Dalit: ‘Society Changed, But For Me, The Drain And Toilet Remained The Same’

Posted by Niranjana Das in Caste
July 13, 2017
Again it’s a morning to me.
A morning alike every day.
Let me wake up and go to the streets.
I have to clean them before the sun shows its face to the world.

My afternoon is spent inside the drain.
I clean them for the people to hurl supplemental waste into it.
Even after impelling, they don’t bother.
But it is I who clean them with my own hands.
Is there any difference between hands?
Are only my hands destined to do that?
Why is the drain so impure to them? It seems so chaste to me.

Even when I go to clean their toilet rooms, they stay far away from me.
It seems like they will die the next moment if the touch me by mistake.
They pay the money from a distance. Why so? What’s the difference between human flesh? 

I know after I leave they wash the entire house.
It is normal that we aren’t counted as humans.
Society changed, people changed but it didn’t change for me.
For me, the streets, the drain and the toilet remained the same.

I don’t know what is so impure and dirty inside a drain than a human mind.
Untouchability is still there…
It haunts me but your elite, narrow mindset cannot perceive that.
But at the end of the day, I’m proud of who I am.
My mind is not a drain, it is a treasure.

Niranjana Das 
Calcutta, India