SEGREGATION SCARS THE SOUL!
The hue and cry in premier apartments across the country about the working class using the same lift as the residents, domestic helpers being given a separate glass and plate for food, addressing a person who is much younger than them as sir/madam, while they sit on the floor, the employers with crossed legs sit on their signature sofas. Do all these classist behaviors ring a bell in your ear? How many of us really give a thought to the plight of the working class? Could this be a spillover of colonialism that we’re entrenched in?
Imagine a day when your maid has not turned up for work. The world comes tumbling down as they relentlessly do the innumerable mundane household chores to give us a life of luxury. In return, how many of us acknowledge, appreciate their service or even give them their due respect as humans? We are ready to pay a bomb for food at a fancy restaurant, but think twice to raise their wages. Unfortunately, as they are an unorganized sector, the minimum wages are not fixed. (not that the organized sector adheres to the labour laws!)
None of us are born with a classist or subservient attitude. It’s the social conditioning that raises us to become one. So we don’t realize that that we have succumbed to it or engage in discrimination through generations and that it needs to be addressed.
Nevertheless, there are stories of hope that reinforce that fact that we could bring about a change in the situation. A family that I know insists on the maid to sit on a chair and serve herself the food laid on the table and not wait for the family to finish and take the left overs. The daughter prostrates not only before the Gods, parents and elders as she is embarking on a journey, but to the sixty year old Lakshmamma – who is in tears when the daughter prostates before her. The evenings of a ten year old son of another friend is spent with the maid’s son. Both the children on returning from their respective schools sit on the dining table and have their evening snack and milk, complete their homework and go out to a park nearby to play. If only the value of equality, be it gender, class or any form of inequality be imbibed in children at a very young age, the world would be a better place to live.
It would be apt to quote Martin Luther King, “Segregation…not only harms one physically but injures one spiritually… It scars the soul…It’s a system which forever starethe segregated in the face, saying…You are less than…You are not equal to…”
On a personal note, I would recommend a read of the well-researched non fiction ”Maid in India”, by Tripti Lahiri which is about inequality within homes.
The author, Sujatha Balakrishnan needs no introduction! She is one of our wonder women and if you want to know more, click the links below –
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wonder Women World.