Warning … this video is not for those with a weak stomach. But it does seem to be an authentic day-in-the-life video of a dalit woman in India.
The dalits (aka Untouchables) are at the bottom of the caste ladder in India. Many people describe the caste system in India as an apartheid or slavery system (see my recent book review on Slavery by Mahatma Phule) … at least as powerfully entrenched as historically in South Africa and the USA respectively.
I asked a friend … why do the local people continue to defecate on the street when there is a free nearby toilet? He said that they do this because it is a way of showing their superiority knowing that this woman will clean up for them. The caste system is not just about the high caste abusing the lowest castes, but every level of caste abusing those lower in the hierarchy.
So, this woman has a job. She earns 3,000 rupees per month or about $2/day. She has an outstanding debt (most likely from a money lender) of 10,000 rupees (about $200) for which she pays 1/3 of her income for interest only (10% per month interest!) … and no principle. She likely had a family medical emergency/tragedy/wedding which forced her into debt and now she is basically a slave to this debt seemingly indefinitely.
You can tell this woman to simply quit her government job, but unless she has some other method of earning income, she will be even worse off. She appears on statistics as “employed”, but I don’t think many of us would consider this viable (and certainly not sustainable) employment.
My friend said … “this is why India so critically needs more microfinance.” Microfinance would provide this women with a small loan to use her industrious spirit to earn more take-home money and allow her a path out of her debt enslavement and likely death from the hazards of her government job. Maybe providing better government jobs would help some people, but that seems like an insufficient response.
I agree with him. What do you think?