Unconventional Jobs

Jobs are an essential part of a person’s life. With the increasing neoliberalism, money has become a rudimentary element that governs the lives of people. Jobs are a medium of earning and securing money for these reasons, It is of utmost importance for a person’s survival. It is the nature of the job that dictates a person’s lifestyle. In countries with overpopulation, the competition to obtain jobs is cut-throat. Often my people are left unemployed and such circumstances coerce them into working for unconventional job setups. India is a developing country which faces a similar problem. Due to lack of proper education and qualification as well as limited job opportunities force people into taking up jobs that are peculiar and unique to India. Jobs such as Palanquin carriers, Coolies, Dabbawallas and many more such professions have emerged. 

The famed Dabbawallas of Mumbai traverse the streets and gullies across the city, serving lunch boxes to the metropolitan city. Clad in their white uniform complete with a Gandhi cap and numerous tiffin boxes dangling on either side of the cycle, the Dabbawallas can be recognized from afar. They collect the tiffin boxes from home and help provide hot meals in offices. They usually use cycles, busses and local trains to transported these boxes from one end of the city to another. These Dabbawallas are fulfilling the hunger of countless office going Mumbaikars for more than a century. The Dabbawallas of Mumbai were an informal organisation that was set up in 1890 and ever since then they have very efficiently provided

Mumbaikars with their lunch boxes. The building block of this organisation was laid by a Parsi banker around 125 years ago. Visionary Mahadeo Havaji Bachche saw a business opportunity and turned this nascent idea into an iconic organization that gives Mumbai an identity. Mumbai being a metropolitan city has attracted people from various parts of India in search of jobs. Along with inducing Mumbai with ethnic diversity, they also brought along a varied taste pallet. Having realized this Mahadeo Havaji Bachche created a business to cater home-cooked meals to the people. Dabbawallas for years have been active in Mumbai serving thousands of people with food made at their homes. 

While Dabbawallas saw an opportunity to cater to people with home-cooked meals. Some of the photographers at Varanasi try to make an income by clicking photographs of a corpse. These photographers are known as corpse photographers. Their occupation is not as well known as the Dabbawalas, but at a point of time, they earned a decent income. However, in recent years not just them but many professional photographers have been substituted by smartphones. It is during the years 1999 and 2000 that the profession of corpse photography began. While photographers are a common site during happy occasions. Many have tried to create a living during mournful times of others. These Photographers usually click photos of various stages of the cremation ceremony taking place at the ghats of Varanasi. People often allow such photographers to click photos so that they have last memories of their loved ones. These photographers also play an important role for the government. Up until 1998, an official would register the name of the dead in order to have proof. However later on families started to take advantage of this by registering incorrect names in order to benefit them inland disputed and wealth distribution of the dead. The Corpse Photographers images act as proof of the deceased person. At the ghats, cast discrimination is very evident. The roles of the ceremony ar distributed

according to the caste- A pandit performs the rituals while the lower caste handles the body. A corpse photographer is a new addition to this highly rigid caste-based ecosystem. It is not only the Corpse Photographer who try to earn an income from the family of the deceased but also Rudaalis of Rajasthan makes a living by being a professional mourner. The Rudaalis did not choose to pursue this profession, rather it was imposed on them because of their lower cast. Rudaalis are called to mourn for a deceased person since it was not desirable for women belonging to upper cast families to show emotions in public. The Rudaalis continue their mourning act for at least 12 days. The longer and more theatrical the mourning period is, the higher it speaks of the families economical status. Despite having such a sorrowful job they are paid very low wages. These women are given a very low possession in society because of which they are exploited. Rudaalis are coerced into this profession, they are not allowed to marry and above it all are paid insufficient wages. However, with western influence and modern outlook, people are opting for a quieter ceremony. This leaves traditional Rudaalis without a job. Jobs are of paramount importance in order to have a steady flow of income. Sometimes people come up with innovative solutions to problems and create a business like the Dabbawalas. Some see opportunities to earn money like the Corpse Photographer and some are coerced into an oppressive scheme like the Rudaalis. At the end whatever the profession it may be, people do it in order to sustain themselves.