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Talk on OUT OF THE PIT : “The Curse of Manual Scavenging in India”

December 12, 2016

Talk on OUT OF THE PIT : “The Curse of Manual Scavenging in India”
Mr. Bezwada Wilson

Chair and Moderator
Mr. Aroon Raman

Organized by Bangalore International Centre

talk-on-out-of-the-pit-the-curse-of-manual-scavenging-in-india-by-bezwada-wilson-at-bangalore-international-centreAbout the Topic
Manual Scavenging has been in India right from the days of pre-history. No amount of exhortations, preachings and even legal measures has so far been able to efface this ugly scar from our society. Yet there are people who have been working tirelessly to change this scenario. Bezwada Wilson is one of them.

About Mr. Bezwada Wilson
Bezwada Wilson was born in 1966 in Kolar Golf Field in Karnataka. His father was a safai karamchari in KGF township as was his elder brother who also worked as a manual scavenger in Indian Railways and 10 years in KGF township. Wilson went to school in Andhra Pradesh and his schooling years were difficult ones where he was mercilessly teased by other students and called him “thoti” meaning scavenger. Discovering his parents true occupation was a profoundly traumatic experience for Wilson and early discrimination moulded his worth future as he went on to graduate in Political Science from Dr.B.R.Ambedkar open university Huderabad.

Bezwada Wilson began his fight to end manual scavenging in India in the year 1986. In a community which was ashamed to even admit to their own existence and the work that they did, Wilson began by breaking the silence.

After working for two years to organize manual scavengers in Karnataka, Wilson helped found the Safai Karmachari Aandholan (SKA) in 1994 with a goal of eradicating this profession in India and helping those engaged in it find alternate dignified work. Wilson subsequently moved to Delhi to make SKA a nationwide movement. In 2003, Wilson and the SKA filed a PIL before the Supreme Court of India charging the State and Central government with violating the Manual Scavenging Prohibition Act of 1993. For the first time, under Supreme Court orders the government was forced into more serious action on a burning issue which had till then been limited to the statute books. In the last decade, the SKA has waged a relentless campaign by engaging with parliament, government and civic society through a combination of grassroots activism research and documentation of manual scavenging across the country.

In his capacity as an activist, Wilson has been the convenor of the sub-group of Safai Karmacharis constituted by the Planning Commission of India, and an Ashoka Senior Fellow for Human Rights. In the process, Wilson also emerged as one of the leading voices for the Dalit movement in India. In July this year, Bezwada Wilson was honoured with the Ramon Magsaysay Award. In its citation, the award recognized Wilson’s work in “asserting the inalienable work right to a life of human dignity”. Of the estimated 600,000 scavengers in India, the citation noted SKA has liberated around 300,000.

About Mr. Aroon Raman
Aroon Raman, is a businessman – Entrepreneur based out of Bangalore. He divides his time between his business and his other personal interests. One of them is literary; he has contributed features to The Hindu Sunday Magazine, Outlook and Times of India regularly. His first novel – The Shadow Throne – was published by Pan Macmillan in September 2012 and has since become a National Bestseller. His second book, The Treasure of Kafur, an adventure story set in Mughal India, was released in December 2013. This book has also been widely acclaimed.

Apart from writing, he advises and supports a number of non-profit initiatives and NGOs. His other interests include tennis and trekking.

He has held several senior positions with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and was the Chairman of CII, Karnataka State Council for 2010-11. He also serves on several corporate board.

Talk on Saturday | 17th December 2016 | 6.30 PM

Venue: details
Bangalore International Centre
TERI Complex,
4th Main, 2nd Cross,
Domlur II Stage,
Bangalore – 560 071.

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