Sweeping, Sweeping Everywhere!

In almost six weeks, we  have seen no trash trucks, no recycling bins to be emptied, but endless sweeping , everywhere.  The trash  must go somewhere and that is into piles along the sides of the road. In the mornings, the piles have turned to ashes because the homeless burn the piles for warmth against the chilly desert night. Mumbai allows no burning of the trash piles, consequently the piles are higher there because, of course, they do have sweeping.  Feral dogs and cattle scavenge for morsels deep inside the trash. 

Houses along our unpaved lane, deep in the heart of Ahmedabad, are surprisingly upper middle class. In the  morning, each house has two sweepers and a boy to wipe the  steps and tiles with a rather dirty wet cloth. The pile from each house is swept out onto the lane by women using  these ancient handmade brooms. As far as I know, there are  no social programs in India.  No unemployment insurance, medicare or  medicaid or Social Security. Here there are assistants for every job, and much of it seems to be “make work” for the poor. I have no idea how much the pay is, but many people are paid or fed to complete a task that could be accomplished by many less workers. I read that the wealthy don’t hire a driver or a cook but they hire “servants” who do every job needed by the family.  It seems whole families can be hired by an affluent family .  The poverty slams you in  the face , Nothing like I have seen, except  in Egypt, many years ago. At this moment in time, the lucky ones here from the 1.000,000.000,000 population have,at least , a sweeping job. 

ImageThe women in the picture were sweeping at the Indian Institute of Management, a very beautiful complex designed by Louis Kahn. I tried to take a picture of the woman on the left sweeping, but she insisted that she stand next to her friend. Many Indians love to have their pictures taken and then want to see themselves in the camera. So far no one has asked for a “tip” for taking a picture.  



About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
This entry was posted in India, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Sweeping, Sweeping Everywhere!

  1. Page Shields says:

    I am interested in not asking for tips…..I don’t remember that from the sixties either.
    Tucker will be interested in the Louis Kahn complex.


    • annetbell says:

      In Egypt, people would insist to have tips, “bakshees” (spelled phonetically) to have their photos taken. Many Moslem followers do not allow pictures because of their belief that only Allah creates a person and a photo is a recreation of the person. In India, people want to be photographed, and want to see themselves in the camera. There is much smiling along around. We heard bakshees at the Jain’s 1000 temple site from the carriers of those unable to complete the 4000 steps up and mountain.


  2. Jill Nagy says:

    I am pleased to see that brooms with handles have arrived In India and people can sweep standing up.


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  13. Pingback: What Do You Do with Dirt and Trash of One Billion People? | TalesAlongTheWay

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