Saundariya: The Nameless Community

Meet the Saundariyas of Chhattisgarh - a community that scavenges for gold. Sarwat Naqvi, the correspondent of this video didn’t know that there were people who scavenged for gold in his town of Raipur. “I was just walking along one day and I saw some people digging around in the dirt near a pond. Out of curiosity I asked what they were doing and they told me. I thought to myself that these people are looking for miracles.” These literal gold-diggers live in a hamlet in the heart of Raipur. They belong to a variety of castes and spend the better part of their lives searching through rubbish dumps, ponds, water bodies, gutters, abandoned properties and the areas outside gold shops for bits of gold, old coins, antiques and figurines. These they melt into chunks of gold and sell to goldsmiths and jewellery shops. They make about Rs. 3-500 per week, which is barely enough to subsist on. Most of their children are engaged in the same job and do not go to school. “It is sad that they have to do this kind of degrading work for a living,” says Sarwat. “If they must do it, they should at least not compromise on their health and their children’s education. One of the old men I interviewed said that for the first time in his family, one of the children was going to school. But most don’t. I also wish they would use gloves and masks because they get sick from all the filthy water they wade around in.”

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