Suite of 21 Archival Inkjet Prints on Hahnemühle Photorag, acrylic paint and etched metal | 35.5 cm x 27.9 cm each | Variable Ed.3 + 1 2015
In 1948, as the Hindu population crossed the border to India, the Prime Minister of the newly found Pakistan wrote to the Prime Minister of India, “ If all non-Muslims leave Pakistan, who will keep our streets clean?” During British rule, lower caste Hindus, converted to Christianity in order to shed the stigma of the caste system. In post partition Pakistan, anyone not Muslim, was considered a ‘minority’ and the Christian sweepers found themselves treated no different from lower caste Hindus. Today, occasionally, Muslims will take on the job, but sub contract a Hindu or Christian to actually do the work.
Sanitary workers are spotted slowly pedaling bicycles across the cities in Pakistan, phenomenally multi-tasking: smoking a cigarette, keeping a bicycle upright in city traffic, and chatting on a mobile phone, balancing extended bamboo poles with which to prod posh residential gutters clean. They hold a phenomenal knowledge of the underground architecture of the major cities.