make pattals (plates made of dry leaves stitched together with strips of
bamboo) for a living. A hundred plates sell for just Rs.20, and even that
depends on whether there is a wedding or death feast in the area. read here.
also they work in brick kilns or any other occupation which will give them a chance for survival. they are at the very bottom of the caste scale and face unimaginable hardships. kids are dying of malnutrition on a gut-churning scale.
the most important lessons taught by the parents to their children is to learn to sleep hungry. desperation forces them to hunt down undigested grain from cattle dung.
first heard of them from some friends from varanasi. many human rights orgs have taken up their case. the asian human rights commission, the people’s vigilance committee on human rights. but progress will be painfully slow.
wish these people join the thousands who come to mumbai for survival in a more dignified caste-less society.