జనవరి 3, 2014

ఇలా ఎందుకు ఆలోచించం?

Posted in సాంఘికం-రాజకీయాలు at 8:14 సా. by వసుంధర

భారత ప్రతినిధి దేవయానికి అమెరికాలో అవమానం జరిగింది. ఆ మాట అక్షరాలా నిజం. అందుకు మనం ఆ దేశంనుంచి సంజాయిషీయే కాదు, క్షమార్పణ అడగడమూ అవసరం. ఐతే ఇక్కడ మనం మన దేశం గురించి ఆలోచించాల్సిన ముఖ్య విషయమొకటుంది. మనది ప్రజాస్వామ్యం. మన దేశ ప్రతినిధులకు ప్రభుత్వం అధికారికంగా పనిమనుషుల్నినియమించడం ఎంతవరకూ సబబు? ఈ రాజస్వామ్యంనుంచి మన నేతలు, అధికారులు ఎప్పటికి బయట పడతారు? డిసెంబర్ 25 (2013) Times of India లో వచ్చిన ఈ వ్యాసం చదవండి.

Slaves to servants

Jug Suraiya
24 December 2013, 10:11 PM IST

Why can’t Indians — or at least rich, or middle-class Indians — live without servants? If it hadn’t been for this seeming compulsion for Indians to have someone do the housework for them, the unholy spat between Washington and New Delhi over the ill-treatment of diplomat Devyani Khobragade would not have taken place.

Indian diplomats on foreign postings routinely take along domestic help from India, who are paid considerably less than the minimum legal wage in the host country, which is an infringement of local law.

NRIs who don’t have the luxury of being allowed to import cheap labour from India have no choice — unless they are like Lakshmi Mittal and can afford to pay the going rate for such help in their country of residence — but to do all their own domestic chores. So why can’t Indian diplomats abroad do the same? Because our diplomats overseas represent India in more ways than one: apart from representing India’s official policies they also represent India’s unofficial mindset.

And that mindset has never been able to accept the concept of what Mohandas Gandhi called the ‘dignity of labour’. It is ingrained in our casteist culture that manual labour is demeaning and that we will undermine our social status in the eyes of society if we soil our hands — literally or figuratively — by performing everyday tasks, like cleaning the toilet. It was in order to break this cultural taboo that Gandhi made it a practice personally to scrub the lavatories in his ashram, a chore which he expected others of the community, including his wife, also to perform.

Despite such examples, middle-class India shuns any form of manual work. We make plenty of excuses for this aversion to doing our own domestic chores. We tell ourselves that, unlike in more technologically advancedsocieties, in India we don’t have affordable and/or reliable labour-saving devices; even if we do have them, half the time there is no bijli for them to work. We tell ourselves that the enervating climate — generally too hot and humid — is a deterrent to physical labour.

But all these are excuses, and we know it. The real reason that we can’t do without servants is that we fear the loss of face that we will suffer if we are seen to do our own ‘dirty work’, like disposing of garbage, or polishing shoes, or — horror of horrors — cleaning the WC.

We are obsessed about our servants. Go to any social gathering and the chances are that the subject under the most animated discussion is not the Lokpal, or Arvind Kejriwal, but servants. Servants who have gone to their village for one month’s leave and not returned even after three months. Servants who have been lured away by that horrible neighbour who promised them 2,000 rupees a month more. Servants who’ve been caught cheating on the daily vegetable hisaab.

And the real fear is that servants — more than the Indian tiger — are an endangered species. Thanks to the painfully slow, limping economic progress that India has made since Independence, even part-time domestic help is becoming increasingly difficult to get as better avenues of employment are made available.

So the next time you bemoan the economic slowdown, think of the silver lining: we’ll be able to hang on to our domestic help a little bit longer. And our sarkar will be able to retain us as its unpaid servants for more time to come.

2 వ్యాఖ్యలు »

  1. Sivakumar Tadikonda said,

    Indians in the US, also have access to cheap labor – but not as cheap as one can get in India. Cleaning services are available. (The undocumented immigrants the US make even cheaper farm labor possible.) Besides that, it is human nature to seek comforts in life. The kings and emperors can afford all the help they can get. Not only the ministers, and IAS officers, but also many officers in India are used to having their employer providing them with not only a car and a house, but also a driver, a housemaid, and a cook. So, it is not that unusual that the Indians posted abroad on Govt mission feel that they are entitled to household help. One of the richest men in the world, Warren Buffet drives his own old car, but that is an exception.

    • సదుపాయాల్ని నిరాకరించడంలో నాడు లాల్ బహదూర్ శాస్త్రి, నేడు కేజ్రీవాల్ వంటివారిని ఆదర్శంగా తీసుకోవాలన్న తలపే మనకి రావడం లేదు. మీ మనోగతం ప్రతిఫలిస్తున్న మీ చివరి వాక్యం అర్థవంతం, సందేశాత్మకం. అభినందనలు.


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