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Swept A Side: A Story Of Christian Sweepers In Lahore [Paperback-2023]
Ayra Indrias Patras
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Publisher: Folio Books | ISBN: 9789697834549 | Pages: 172

Swept Aside tackles the lives of Christian working-class women from “Chura” caste communities, who have historically been primarily employed as sanitation workers in Pakistan. As Ayra Indrias Patras tells us, “Christians, who are less than 5% of the Lahore city’s population, make up more than 80% of the sanitation workforce”, not only because of historical recruitment but contemporary recruitment policies which understand sanitation work as a “traditional caste occupation.” The book critically describes and analyses the histories and structural forces that shape Christian communities as religious minorities and oppressed caste communities. This includes stigmatisation within the larger Christian community, particularly from middle and upper-class Christian elites and church leaders who desire to obscure the caste connotations of Christian identity. The book examines these histories, inequities, and discrimination from within the lived experiences of women. It tackles how caste discrimination and structures are woven into and continue to be reproduced in contemporary Pakistan. Swept Aside documents histories of caste discrimination in the past, present and possible future, but in a way that grounds Chura communities in their own spaces, words and lives. It addresses the structures of the past but also how contemporary forms of privatisation re-encode caste relations.

About the Author

Dr Ayra Indrias Patras is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Forman Christian College, A Chartered University, Lahore. Her research interests include marginalised identities, gender and human rights. This book is based on her doctoral research lying in the intersection of gender, caste and labour and the impact of such intersectionality on female janitorial workers in Lahore.

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