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An Autobiography Of A Sweeper

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No matter how much people talk from rostrums and from housetops, about equality, the dent once put on the existence of my class, I feel, can never really go. My personal view is that, birth does make a lot of difference to an individual's life, life style, and future.I am a sweeper working in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. My salary is not too bed, it is about Rs.3000/-, but the stigma of being a sweeper never gets eliminated from my personality.Born in a family of sweepers I remember how my grandparents suffered at the hands of people of the upper caste. They were so ill-treated that even I sometimes wondered whether we were human beings like all the others or, belonged to some other unearthly planet.The abuses they got to hear, the treatment meted out to them and the status they held in the society was just deplorable. To-day things have changed a lot in my time; yet, the discrimination is more felt than seen. On the face of it a lot is being done but the ground reality still is that we are abhorred though not maltreated.When I was a young lad I was sent to a school which was meant for children of only sweepers and the like. This thought itself was sufficiently depressing and a clear indicator of life that is and life that will be.I do wonder how it will be possible to improve my status if I continued to move among my class only, and that I would have to, as, I would not be allowed to enter any other class of society.After reaching STD. VI, I revolted against my parents and the school for accepting this kind of humiliation, and, Idemanded admission in a good school where other children of higher castes studied. This was as if asking for the moon but, after a long drawn out struggle for my right to study in any school of my choice finally I did succeed and got admission in a Christian Public School.In studies I was quite good so, I managed to pass through my STD. X with 65% marks. However, this was to be the end of my dream of becoming something in this world. Now, I realized that, with these marks, it was impossible to get admission in any college for higher studies.In these days of tough competition when children with 90% have to struggle for admission then where would I stand a chance of any admission with just a 65%? So no, though I had passed STD. X, what avail was it I would not be any better off in the job market. Now the position was that, I could not dream of getting a job or of studying any further - what a dilemma I was in.However, life is a story of hopes and frustrations, so, after passing STD. X I wasted two full years in looking for an opportunity to improve my status but alas! nothing could be realized and, I, at the age of eighteen finally landed in the job of a sweeper in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.The lesson that I have learnt after this fruitless struggle is that, birth seals a human being's fate. No matter how much we try it is impossible to get out of the rut in which one is born.To day, I have been in this job for five years; I am now married and have parents, a wife and two children to look after. The money I get is just sufficient to pull through the month, but the status I have gnaws at me all the time. What ambitions I had at one time, to improve my status in the society, but nothing could be achieved except the traditional job of my forefathers i.e. of a sweeper.It is a fact that the status one is born with can never be dispensed with no matter how much we try. To this life I have to stick till God gives me death and then a new life of a person of a higher caste, with a different parental home and a better family and thus a better status. Now I can only hope that things change more when my children enter their lives of adulthood. As far as I am concerned, I have decided to wait for my next life, a new assignment of a new life.

vaishnavi........


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