Servant, not Slave…

Last Sunday, we were returning from our trip to Manali. It was a long and exhausting drive because of the bad roads and heavy traffic. Whenever we travel by the Delhi – Chandigarh route, we always stop at Ahuja No.1, the famous dhaba at Murthal. We stopped this time too for an early dinner.

It was then that I saw this appalling and disgusting sight. There was this large family of about 15-20 people, including women and children. I heard one of the men in the group shout at the waiter for the inordinate delay in serving of the food. When I turned my attention towards their table, I saw this servant maid, must be about 12-15 years young, standing behind the table watching the family gulp food. She had a tired and hungry look on her face, even as she kept watch over a couple of kids from the same group having their food. It took about 20-25 minutes for the group to have their food, and all this while she, the maid, was just standing. After the group had their food, she was asked to sit on another table and have her food. As the group had already had their food, the maid was in a tearing hurry to have her food and rush to join the group on their journey. She just took about five minutes to have her food and rush.

This whole incident pained me a lot. I have been a witness to many such incidents in the past where the servant maid (usually a minor girl) is treated very badly.

Can’t we understand the basic point that she is a servant, not a slave? Aren’t these people ashamed of their behaviour? Do understand that she is entitled to a humane treatment as a fellow human being. You may take her in the same car and/or flight by which you are travelling, but it does not mean that you will treat her shabbily. You are only playing the role of a master (because you call her a servant) but please do understand that she is not a slave. Many of them may not know their rights and all they do is serve you so that they survive. You have a right to make sure that they deliver on their expectations and ensure that work happens as per your schedule.

At home, we treat our servant maid as a member of the family so much so that she has been with us since 2002 when we moved into Gurgaon. I am also aware of a number of others who treat their servant maids very well but this group is definitely a minority.

There are virtually thousands of maids in Delhi/NCR who take care of the kids at home when the sahib and memsahib go to work. If all these maids go on a strike, imagine what will happen to our lives. We will be paralysed. The very thought makes many shiver.

Have a heart, treat your maid servants as human beings and not as slaves.



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