About the talk:
A large number of workers have died in the last few years in Delhi while manually cleaning septic tanks and sewers without safety equipment. These repeated deaths have occurred despite strong laws and judgments that prohibit such conditions of work. This talk will focus on how assumptions about the work of caste underlie the functioning of the city. Caste based notions of stigma, attitudes to human waste and those who handle them create conditions in which these workers' deaths become inevitable and routine, and their lives, expendable.
About the speaker:
Shahana Bhattacharya is a historian and teaches at the Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. She has worked on issues of caste and labour with particular emphasis on the notion of stigmatized work. Shahana has also been associated with the democratic rights movement for decades.