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People at the Bottom: A Portrait of the Scavengers

Sachchidananda (Author)
Synopsis Scavengers in India constitute the lowest rung of Indian society. They are, infact, the people at the bottom. They are the real Antyaja as conceived by Mahatma Gandhi. Although the scavengers are with us from the beginning of civilisation, there are no detailed study of their living and working conditions, their troubles and tribulations, their hopes and frustrations. The cluster of castes engaged in this profession has been looking to the Indian civil society for their salvation. In spite of the recommendations of many committees and commissions they have not been liberated from the shackles of poverty and pollution. They have been forced to live a life of degradation bereft of human dignity. Their state is indeed a living disgrace for the country. The work is based on an empirical study covering 2500 households in urban and rural settings in Bihar. It is intended to give a glimpse of the living and working conditions of the scavenger castes and to bring out the impact of different welfare programmes for their liberation and rehabilitation in the gender and human rights perspectives. Efforts to bring the scavengers from the margin to mainstream of Indian society and ultimately to empower them have also been assessed in terms of the success achieved. Towards the end of the study a number of steps have been suggested to speed up this process.
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About the author


Prof. Sachchidananda, D. Lit., is one of the seniormost Anthropologists in India. He received his education from Patna University, and School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He has taught at Patna University and New York University. He has held several important posts like Director, Bihar Tribal Welfare Research Institute, Ranchi; Director, A.N. Sinha Institute of Social Studies, Patna; and Vice-Chancellor, Ranchi University, Ranchi. Prof. Sachchidananda has contributed a large number of papers and book reviews to research journals in India and abroad, and published a number of books in Sociology and Anthropology. Important amontst which are : Culture Change in Tribal Bihar (1964), The Tribal Village in Bihar (1968), Social Dimension of Agricultural Development (1972), Tribal Voter in Bihar (1979), Elite and Development (1980), Industrialisation and Social Disorganisation (1985), Tradition and Development (1988), Shifting Cultivation in India (1989). A past President of the Anthropology Section of Indian Science Congress, Prof. Sachchindananda is the recipient of the R.P. Chandela Medal for distinguished work in Anthropology in 1982. He is associated with a number of social science research institutions in the country in an advisory capacity.

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Bibliographic information

Title People at the Bottom: A Portrait of the Scavengers
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2001
Edition 1st. Ed.
Language: English
isbn 8170229065
length 226p.