The story is very simple. It is a case of two women, where one is the employer (Devyani) and the other is her domestic help (Sangeeta Richard). There were some irregularities between them regarding salary and wages, which lead Sangeeta to abandon her employer’s place and finally lodge a legal case against her. Then the ugly arrest episode took place, which stirred the Indian media . This led to a “prestige issue.”
The entire episode was revolving around Devyani, because of her high profiled stature backed by an influential IAS officer father with a strong political connection. But did we ever focus on the other version of the story - the maid involved in the entire issue? What happened to her in that diplomat’s home? What made her betray her employer? Did any observer, columnist or human right activists ever tried to find out Sangeeta’s side?
The fact is that unlike in India where we preach equality but practice the opposite, as we rarely recognize domestic helps as normal human beings. But, in America it is a serious crime, if a maid is not properly paid with their salary and wages. So their action was as per their legal system, both the ladies has to abide by the law of the land they stand.
Isn’t it a proof of our unfair attitude towards a big segment of our population (maids or domestic helps) who are truly hard working but unjustly deprived? We never treat them as human and their rights to live a life of dignity are not even a slightest concern in our mind. We feel as if we are doing a favor to them by employing them and expect them to be voiceless and submissive even to our exploitations.
Here in this case the only differentiator is that Sangeeta was aware of her legal stand in America and was courageous enough to fight for justice, which appeared absurd to our prejudiced mind (she is just a maid!!). We may guess that she was tutored but the naked truth is that Devyani flouted the local law and a made a huge mistake, which is considered as a serious crime in America.
In fact Devyani, who holds such a top post as an important representative of India should have known better, which could have avoided the spiteful muddle out there. Isn’t it? Isn’t it totally unjustified, baseless and quite irrational by Indian administration making it an issue, which may raise a debate to “Indo-US relation.'' Is there any ground to it???
Coming to the point, things are changing now and we must come out of the shell of traditional mindsets of treating domestic helps as “servant.'' They are very much human with same set of dreams, needs and feeling as we do and their rights are equally legitimate.
If Devyani is an Indian then Sangeeta is equally the same - Indian. Is it fair when we judge them as per their stature???