This is a talk organised at Ambedkar University, Delhi (AUD) in collaboration with Indian Writers Forum (IWF) on ‘Eradicating Manual Scavenging: Join the Struggle’. Bezwada Wilson talks about the need to eradicate manual scavenging, the reasons given by the government for implementing demonetisation, its impact on the poor of the country and the lack of political will when it comes to eradicating untouchability and manual scavenging.
This conversation with Bezwada Wilson and TM Krishna was part of the Indus Conversations series by Tulika Books, 11 December 2016. TM Krishna, a carnatic music vocalist and social commentator, and Bezwada Wilson, National Convenor of the Safai Karamchari Andolan, are recipients of the 2016 Ramon Magsaysay Awards. TM Krishna was honoured for his work toward “social inclusiveness in culture”, and his sustained efforts to bring music and arts to the marginalised sections of society, particularly in the underdeveloped rural areas of Tamil Nadu. Bezwada Wilson has spent his life campaigning against manual scavenging. He founded the community based Safai Karamchari Andolan (SKA) to fight for the eradication of manual scavenging.
The conversation of the two awardees with writer Nilanjana Roy probes a range of issues from the meaning of liberty and equality, and nationalism and freedom, to the experience of caste based discrimination, and the role of art in changing our perpectives of the world.