Gita Ramaswamy’s book evolved out of her work in the campaign to demolish the infamous dry latrine system that still prevails in Andhra Pradesh, home to over two lakh dry latrines. Despite being banned in ’93, manual scavenging persists even in the 21st century.
The book brings out the ideological hang-ups that encourage manual scavenging. It points out the limits of Communist ideology, so long as it remains caste-blind. It shows how this abominable system was allowed by every successive ruling party because of the Gandhian understanding that the Bhangis were born to do this work—just like a mother cleans her child’s nappies. It cites Ambedkar’s argument that if this work was/is so sacred, why don’t the upper castes take it up? This book needs to be read by every civilised citizen of India.