a service sector having immense potential to enhance the quality
of our life, domestic help surely deserves more serious attention.
Over the years, generations of workers have been doing the
same menial jobs working under oppressive conditions, with
little attempt being made to improve their quality of life
and competence to match the growing needs of modern society
in a global economy. Actually our Indian democracy perpetuated
the social hierarchies instead of improving the lot of this
Medieval social attitude and modern economy cannot go together.
Wealth creation is the basis of modern prosperity. Rupees
and dollars themselves do not constitute wealth. True wealth
lies in creation of goods and services that fulfill the needs
of society.. In the olden days when subsistence economy was
the norm, all that mattered was to eke out a livelihood and
maintain status quo. Generation after generation merely held
on to what it had, and people lived and died without real
wealth creation. Relative status of people remained unchanged
throughout life and for generations. In its own warped way
feudal life gave security and protection.
we cannot accept such a price in modern society. If our servant
is in abject poverty the whole household suffers in terms
of health, hygiene, elegance and happiness in general. If
our worker is illiterate and unskilled we again suffer in
terms of inefficiency and low productivity. Poverty of the
many workers, cannot ensure prosperity of the few rich. Ugly
class divisions can only eventually lead to violence. It is
no longer merely a moral imperative, but an economic necessity
and a necessary prerequisite for social harmony.
of a felt need some agencies in Kerala have started training
domestic helpers in giving basic nursing care to the old people
living alone at homes. They are paid a relatively decent wage
of about Rs.3000/- per month in addition to lodge and board.
And the employer gets good quality service and is free from
fear and bother. It's a win-win situation. This can be easily
practised in all other sectors now employing unorganized labour.
Education, health-care, fair wage, reasonable living conditions,
and hope for a different and better tomorrow are the key to
workers' productivity and employers' satisfaction. The sooner
the middle and upper classes realise this the better it is
for all of us.