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Thursday, October 24, 2019




For long, the ayah has been a household figure; how long can she hold on to her role?
RAJAN PRAKASH | Issue Dated: May 13, 2007
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MAID FOR EACH OTHER It is not yet dawn and Sukumari, our maid, has already left her bed. She has to finish her daily chores before members of the family wake up. She is only a maid but she finds solace in the happiness of the family members. People like Sukumari are not mere maids; they assimilate themselves as part of the family. Nevertheless, time has changed and so are ethics. Maids like Sukumari are rare now. Farida Jalal, an actress par excellence, whose has portrayed the character of maidservant on the silver screen, says, “Maids are very important members of the household. She is different from people like milkmen and newspaper vendors as she has access to every corner of the house. Hence, it is advisable to treat them as friends.” However, we also have to see the deteriorating situation of maids, who are being subjected to abuse. Last year, Gagandeep Singh, an MLA from Shiromani Akali Dal and son of S. S. Barnala, was accused of sexually exploiting his maid servant for close to a year. Nevertheless, these are not stray incidents. In a similar incident reported from Lucknow, an old man was accused of sexually assaulting his minor maid for more than two years. If that was not enough, his wife was involved in it with him. In fact, incidents of masters impregnating maids are common. Fulkeria Beroli, a facilitator of a placement agency named Chhotanagpur Kalyan Manch, maintains, “We place girls from tribal belts as maid so that they may lessen the financial burden of their parents but incidences such as sexual and physical abuse hamper our trade.” There is another side of the coin too. In an incident reported from the posh Srinivaspuri locality of Delhi, a maid abducted the child of the household, where she worked, and flew to Orissa. While the structure of family is changing, so are maids.
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017