Scavengers to take holy dip at Kumbh, dine with priests | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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Scavengers to take holy dip at Kumbh, dine with priests

lucknow Updated: Feb 03, 2013 23:24 IST
Gaurav Saigal
Gaurav Saigal
Hindustan Times
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Come Thursday and the ongoing Kumbh at Allahabad will witness a never-before event when former night soil carriers, considered 'unholy' for centuries, will take a holy dip at the Sangam.

Not only this, 100-odd former scavenger women from Rajasthan's Alwar and Tonk districts will perform puja and dine with priests at Kumbh.

"The reason behind such an event is social upliftment and message for the people that the former scavengers are part of our society and not untouchables," said Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh International.

Pathak has been working since 1970 to remove social discrimination against scavengers, condemned for cleaning and carrying away human excreta manually.

"We are in touch with Swami Anandgiri of Baghambari Gaddi, who has agreed to give blessings to these women and Mahamandaleshwar from Haridwar Karuna Giri for the two-day event," said Bhrahmanand Chaturvedy of Sulabh, who is coordinating the event.

On the first day, the former scavengers will take bath at Sangam amid the religious fervour of Kumbh, where ash-smeared sadhus and priests take a holy dip.

In a similar event in June 2011, 200 liberated scavengers had taken a dip in the Ganga in Varanasi and had offered prayers at Kashi Vishwanath temple to oppose untouchability.

So far, Sulabh has converted 1.3 million bucket toilets into flush toilets and lakhs of scavengers have been freed from manual cleaning of human excreta. Sulabh has also constructed more than 8,000 public toilets.