There are about 1 million ‘Scavengers’ in India who are unwillingly engaged in the hell-like practice of manually cleaning sewers and manholes, being sent into pits full of muck, poisonous gases and infectious diseases for the removal of untreated human excreta. They belong to one specific community now known as the Valmikis, who have been engaged in this occupation for hundreds of years and for whom it’s almost impossible to break free of the vicious cycle of manual scavenging. The unresponsiveness of the state, apathy of law enforcement agencies and flawed judicial processes are only a reflection of the societal disregard towards the people, who keep it clean – literally at the cost of their lives. This type of insidious discrimination emanates from the notion of purity, pollution and untouchability, deeply rooted into the mindset of upholders of caste in the country. The film aims to end, not only the practice of manual scavenging, but the social stigma that has been branded on the souls of these communities by treating them as subhuman for thousands of years by the Indian caste system.
About the speaker
Dakxin Chhara is an award winning filmmaker, playwright and an activist from the Chhara De-notified Tribes (DNT) of Ahmedabad in the western part of India. Currently, he works as an “Artistic Director” at BudhanTheatre and runs his film production house Nomad Movies Pvt Ltd.
His other movie ‘Sameer’ (2017) is playing on February 1st 2023 at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR).
About the documentary
Duration: 60 min
Original language: Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Hariyanvi / English subtitled
Director: Dakxin Chhara
Executive Producer: Dakxin Chhara & Naveen Judah
Producers: Dr Manisha Maganji, Dakxin Chhara & Naveen Judah Sameer Maganji
Production Company: Shatter Proof Productions Ltd.
Line Producer: Nomad Movies Pvt Ltd
A voice for the voiceless – Gary Holding (BAFTA award winner)
It is at times unbearable but watch it – Steve Rogers (chairman Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance)
Its a very powerful film – Anand Patwardhan (filmmaker)