Millennium Post

Maid unmade in national capital

What kind of a barbaric society allows for systematic abuse of maids and domestic helps by the elites and the rich? Well, one like ours, of course. Maid abuse -- including extreme maltreatment, torture, verbal and physical aggression, battering, violence and other forms of cruelty -- is becoming a routine feature in the national capital as well as in the other glitzy metropolitan cities of the country. If the spate of recent incidents is an indication, it is the best and the richest in our society who are the perpetrators of this heinous practice that lets the employers treat the domestic helps in an unmentionable manner, reducing them to sub-human levels of existence. It’s a pity that those of us who claim to be educated and cultured resort to such uncouth and barbaric behaviour when we deal with our attendants, helps and maids. The slew of cases, including that of Vandana Dhir, a top executive at a French multinational company, and MP Dhananjay Singh, points towards the ubiquity of these incidents that often go unreported. More often than not, the domestic helps hail from distant corners of West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand and other poverty-stricken states, and therefore continue to bear the trauma of physical and mental abuse silently so that they don’t lose their menial, grossly underpaying jobs.

It’s indeed a terrible diagnosis of the malaise that is eating into our system from within. While we talk about growing and shining India, we treat our immediate affiliates as class enemy, without giving them the minimum human dignity that they deserve. Locking up the underage maids, minor girls and child labourers, assaulting them with sticks, beating them up and ritually abusing them, starving them and leaving with without medical care for days and months at end, are but some of the tortuous practices that the employers have been reportedly resorting to. In major metropolitan cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai, the heart of the resurgent Indian dream, such uncouth and uncivilised practices go unpunished and mostly undetected. The government must wake up to the close and present danger and must bringing in laws to regulate and punish. 
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