By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
This flyer was pasted next to a lift by some residents of the apartment complex where I live, for those who don’t understand Hindi, the flyer says, Maids (a term for Domestic help) cannot use this elevator, they should use a second service elevator because the former is reserved for the “elites” who call this building home. Me and my family were appalled and horrified by such open display of bigotry. I tweeted a picture of this poster to PM Modi, CM Yogi and National human rights commission and I’ve yet to hear from them. Though, my brother tore it up and told the security to report any disturbing activity to us and the local authorities but I guess people are used to it.
There is also an angle of caste here, some residents here think they are above everyone else and hence its their ordained duty to make it abundantly clear to others. These people trust their kids to domestic help, they are okay with eating food cooked by them but they are not okay with sharing an elevator with them, why? Because according to them, these domestic helps stinks. According to them it’s the other persons fault if he or she didn’t have a fair chance in life. I can only imagine how these people treat their domestic helps and I’ve heard some disturbing stories but most of the times we choose to keep our nose out of someone else’s mess.
I am not saying that all domestic helps are great, some of them are lousy at work, I remember there were some who were caught stealing at their patrons home and were removed from the job and there are stories in newspaper now and then where maids falsely accused the employing family of abuse to get some money but not everyone is like that. If you don’t like someone’s work you can let them go but at least treat them like people. Yes, you have every right to practice your beliefs at home, but you do not have right to impose your prejudices on others.
If you the reader has seen any bigotry or prejudice around you, if possible, speak up but if it’s too much trouble at least anonymously try to report it someone who can deal with it and take appropriate action. Racism, castism, bigotry should not be a norm, having been at the receiving end of prejudice on certain occasions I know how it feels like.