“The worst thing is that the baskets we carry the waste in, often leak and drips down over your clothes”, manual scavenger Lakshmi Devi from rural Bihar tells BBC correspondent Mike Thomson. All her seven children are boys who clean out sewage tanks for their work. Manual removal of excreta (night soil) from “dry toilets” is the job of ‘dalit’ (low caste) women in India. “If I had a daughter I would rather that we all die of hunger than allow her to do the work we do”, Lakshmi said.
Listen to Laksmi Devi’s interview (10 Nov 2010), which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and read a background article (17 Nov 2010) by Mike Thomson on scavengers from the serie on “India’s forgotten people”.