Story of salt makers- whose feet never burn down after death on funeral pyre

This story is about salt farmers whose salt is consumed by people throughout the country. When we cook our meals at home, we especially need salt. Food is considered incomplete without salt. Salt has become an essential component of our lives, but for some people, salt is not just an ornament but a burden.

The salt farmers we are talking about are more than 50,000 salt workers in Gujarat. They say, “Even our bodies don’t burn properly after death. We dig a pit under the knees and bury it in the ground. Then we fill it with salt so that it dissolves. Salt is present in our lives even after we die.”

These salt producers are called Agariya. As soon as the monsoon ends, the exodus of these Agariya workers begins. If this exodus does not happen, there will be no salt in your life. The salt-makers say that we have been making salt for generations, but we do not want the children of our children to do this work.

We do not want our children to have blisters on their hands. According to the salt producers, this work is their compulsion because it is their only livelihood. According to the workers, their shoes last for a year. If we work without shoes, our feet get burned, whether we die or live. We have to keep our feet in salt and keep them in the pit. According to the workers, they experience swelling in their feet and burning in their eyes while producing salt.

Salt production in the state of Gujarat is valued at around 5,000 crores. However, salt is not a priority for the government, and it is considered a part of the industry rather than agriculture. In the past, machines were not used, so salt was entirely made by hand.

When picking up salt by hand, blisters would form on the hands, causing a burning sensation. Female workers say that the whole country consumes our salt. We were not personally interested in education, so we started producing salt. We do not want our children to be involved in this work either. We want our children to be educated and successful.

If the lives of thousands of salt workers are observed closely, it is felt what the country gained from consuming their salt. The governments need to understand the plight of these workers. Necessary facilities should be provided for their welfare. If this does not happen, the children of these workers will also be trapped in this mire of salt.

Sweta Dagar is an avid reader and writer. She hails from Bulandshahr (U.P) where she completed her formap education. She loves exploring varieties of topics that shape the public opinion at large. If you have any queries, feel free to contact her at [email protected].