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Cleaner with clean heart

By Kallol Karmakar, Zohara Jhumu & Apurba Hasan.

In this ‘divide and rule’ society there are many classes we can find. Among them middle class is one of the most reactive classes. To maintain their livelihood this class does a lot of work; the amount of rewards they get for this, the same amount of dirt they flush out to the society. They build and practice their culture, history, ritual and own identity by imitating others, because they always try to change themselves and look them like others rather than their selves.  To be able to do this and establish themselves in the society they do many kinds of moneymaking work. By this they make their soul into a slave and unconsciously try to make themselves heroes to others. By the given power of state & their community every class wants to rule others. Among them are some established NGO’s by making ‘subaltern’ people as their capital. On the other hand, for the sake of development, these so-called high and middle class people take shelter on the shadow of consumerism and destroy nature brutally.

(Click on the picture for know more)

In this alarming situation, ‘subaltern’ people forcefully lose their shelter, their home but carry out their own identity from generation to generation. Moreover by cleaning all of their wastage and flush out things ‘sweepers and cleaners’ keep the Dhaka city neat &clean and make this city a habitat for all.  So, to find out and focus on a specific group, we select ‘sweepers /cleaners in Dhaka city.’ In the conventional socio-political-economy power structure of state refers to these sweepers or cleaners as lower class people, whom we present as subaltern. According to the definition of ‘subaltern’ this group also become is behind in each type of socio-economy-political power access to the conventional system, but they are strong in their philosophy, sense, dream, culture and their duty. Though conventional power structure tried to identify them as ‘good for nothing’ or ‘burden of society’ or ‘hopeless people’: these are not true! They are much more powerful than this propaganda has us believe. To identify the power and contribution of this group, we work with them. Our working group consists of Kallol Karmakar, Zohara Jhumu & Apurba Hasan.

Intro about the cleaners/sweepers:

During British colonial period this group of people was settled here. From India’s Karnatak, Madraj and Gujrat they move here as ‘Dhangor’ to clean the city Dhaka. At that time Pakistani and Bangladeshi ‘Dhangor’ started their work in government offices and courts as cleaner and sweepers. Presently they can talk in Bengal but they have their own language. With their land they also lost their language. Though they clean the whole city honestly, they have no permanent home. In Dhaka we can find them in Mirpur, Tikatuly and Keranigong: places, where they live in Government’s land. But with intervals the Government pressures them to leave the land. Most important: the government doesn’t take any initiative to rehabilite them, what makes them always ‘Homeless’.  They clean the whole city, including Ice cream, Cigarettes and others consuming goods packets make the city dirty, used by so called ‘Elite’ people. On the other hand these cleaners clean the city with broom and strong hand, having their friend a tea mug and a faded color saree. But they cannot clean the whole city neatly because of the development of the city, that makes the city dirty and turns it into a Desert with full of sand.

 

 

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