Maids and privilege in India

Today, I want to discuss the recent New York Times article titled "At a Luxury Complex in India, the Maids and the Madams Go to War". First of all, I would like to thank the NYT for publishing this story. This article highlights a part of Indian society that is assumed to be a normal part of life, disregarding the mass violations of human rights.

The extreme amounts of income inequality in India allows middle class families to hire "maids" to do everyday chores for their houses. These include doing the dishes, cleaning the floor, washing clothes, watering plants, etc. I do not know what the range their salaries are, but the amount my parents pay for their maid whenever they go to India is 3000 Indian Rupees ($46.67) per month. Given the unskilled nature of their jobs and the sheer number of poor people in India, there is a large supply of workers for this job. These market forces allow employers to pay meager wages, provide no benefits or guarantees, and allows them to treat their maids badly. They are typically employed by live at home moms, so that they can be supervised while they work (to prevent stealing).

The sheer amount of privilege disgusts me. Maybe if the employers had other jobs to do, I might have understood their position. However these stay at home moms do nothing while the maids clean their houses. These people are able to do absolutely nothing in their lives, not even having to clean their own living spaces, because they were born to affluent parents who got them arranged married to a husband who can afford a maid. I can't use the word rich because the income gap in India is so insane that a poor family is able to afford a maid for themselves. That's how low their wages are.

These stay at moms do other things with their times instead, opting to watch reality shows or soap operas during the times spent not following the latest trends, be it yoga or sharing Whatsapp pseudoscience. Imagine being a maid experiencing this situation. You are doing work that is horrible for your health. Your employer does not provide the appropriate equipment to clean the floor without suffering from back pains everyday. You glance at your employer doing absolutely nothing during your time in their house. They are either watching TV or are on their phone. It's just sheer privilege.

The details of this story are blurry at the moment. It appears that a maid went to an employers house to request the backpay she was owed (payment after wrongful termination). She claims that she was assaulted and that her life was threatened. She had to run away from there and had to hide in another part of the apartment building they were living in. The employers filed a police complaint, alleging that the maid ran away after stealing something from their house. It is not uncommon for people with better economic standing to lie in their police complaints; The police officers treat them better with the expectation of a bribe or a favor in the future (job for their son for example). The next day a mob of maids showed up to their apartment, ransacked the place, and expressed their rage at the situation. Some threats to the employers lives were made. The employers were stuck in a locked room until security guard eventually set them free.

I fully support the action they took. It's impossible for their voices to be heard. The media gives them no coverage since this is just assumed to be a normal part of society. They made their voices heard by striking fear into the hearts of people who employed maids. A lot of the other employers in the apartment building have since fired their maids citing a fear for their lives. Good. If you mistreated your maids so badly that you honestly believe they would kill you and your family, then you probably deserve it. How did you think the employers perceived this event? Did they recall their faults and apologize for their actions. Oh no.

Right now, the residents are very angry and shocked at the violent way the mob attacked the society. But before long, they will have to find new maids. How will life go on otherwise?

I love how having a maid is a requirement. Life simply cannot continue if those privileged people did not have paid slaves. It's always funny when people state their shock at violence in protests. Try having all their rage.

They tried to show that they did not have rights. I feel that we do not have any human rights. We are the poor ones.

Just... what? Fuck off. You enjoy a life of material well-being while they have to break their backs trying to get enough money for food and education for their family for the next month. This statement pisses me off to no end.

“The point is that they must be taught a lesson,” said Mamta Pandey, 50. “If they can unite, why can’t we?”

Rightfully so! Revolt and resist!

Note : I know I stated that my parents have a maid and it might seem hypocritical for me to write this opinion. I have very clearly stated my opposition to that practice and have even offered to do their job whenever I am around. However, laziness and privilege has no bounds, even for my parents. I absolutely hate the fact that they hire a maid, however I try to make sure they do not have any problems in their lives (such as paying for children's school, medical bills, etc.).