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Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru had famously said, “The day everyone in India gets a toilet to use, I shall know that our country has reached the pinnacle of progress”. Seventy-one years after India’s independence, Nehru’s dream is still a distant reality. We still have people defecating in the open and the very draconian and inhuman practice of manual scavenging still exists. Swagata Dey presents a perspective on the history, caste politics, and present status of manual scavengers. She further discusses legal provisions and the complex web of social exclusion and poorly implemented schemes which allows the practice to continue and some possible recourses to give a life of dignity to those involved in it without much choice in the wake of National Cleanliness Day.

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