Skip to main content

Crying helplessly, she says, 'I can’t die, nor can I live': Delhi domestic workers' plight

Domestic workers talking with NGO volunteers
Counterview Desk
Continuing their relief work, on June 4, a team of volunteers consisting of several civil society organizations (CSOs)* provided monetary assistance to families living in Razapur Village, Sector 9, Rohini, Delhi, so that they could buy milk, medicine and essential items for women and children. Selected by activists and community workers, many of those who received the help are domestic workers.
Finding their condition deplorable, a note on the interaction during the relief work suggests that these families’ situation is no better than what the volunteers had found during their earlier interactions with other sections of marginalized sections, including sanitation workers, sewer workers, daily wage and migrant labourers, all of them belonging to backward communities.
“All these families were already in a very deplorable condition. Due to the lockdown, these people are unable to get work, most used to earn daily and feed themselves”, the note says.

Text:

At Razapur Village, Sector 9, Rohini, people living in this colony are mostly in the profession of the domestic worker or rikshaw puller. They live in rented accommodations. We were able to provide monetory assistance to 50 such families. Here are excerpts from the relief team's interaction with them:
Gomti used to work as a domestic helper. Her family consists of a husband who is blind and five kids among which, one is disabled. She used to work in two houses which has completely stopped. She cries and tell us “ek waqt ki chai bhi naseeb nhi hoti” (I am unable to get tea for one time).
She received wheat and rice from ration shop but it is insufficient to feed a family of seven. Her room rent is Rs 6,000 per month. She asks us, “What should I do? I don’t have energy now to work but have no option. One girl is of 26 year of age. I have to get her married”. She cries helplessly as she says “na me mar sakti hu, naa me ji sakti hu” (I can’t die, nor can I live).
Sheila Devi, age 25, who used to work as domestic helper in a ‘kothi’, lives in a rented room. Her room rent is Rs 6,000, including electricity and water. She has been receiving ration but is unable to pay rent since the lockdown was introduced as she has received no work, therefore no pay, since the lockdown. If she pays the rent of the house, she says, she won’t be able to eat and feed her family.
Anguri and her daughter, both used to work as domestic workers but now are unemployed due to lockdown. Her son used to work in the office has been unemployed and her husband used to wash cars but now people don’t drive cars and therefore husband has no work. The family gets food from schools with government aid for one time a day and the other time, they try to arrange it by themselves.
Before the lockdown, they were able to meet their normal house needs, but now a situation of starvation is standing in front of them
Rasha is a migrant worker and hails from Jhansi. She is 25, and used to earn living by doing household chores. She has no work and money. With 4 kids and husband stuck in village, she had to take loan from someone to feed her family. Also, she had to pay Rs 3,000 per month even during the lockdown as her landlord left no option.
Om Prakash is a 65 year-old man who used to work as a rickshaw puller for the last 18 years. Since last 4 months, he has no work. His room rent is Rs 4,000 per month which he is unable to pay but has to pay later. He received no ration from government as he is not an “aadhaar card” holder.
Rambai, a 60-year-old migrant worker from Panna who is working in Delhi as a domestic worker for the last 20 years used to earn monthly Rs. 7-8,000 per month is now unemployed. Her room rent is Rs. 5000 per month which she paid after taking a loan. She received ration from CSOs.
Meena a domestic worker in Shakti Apartment with four kids has no ration card and received a dry ration kit once from civil society since lockdown was imposed.
The financial situation of all these families has deteriorated due to the lockdown. Before the lockdown, they were able to meet their normal house needs from their business or work, but now a situation of starvation is standing in front of them.
Women and men are all unemployed and are not getting any financial assistance from anywhere. The young children of these families are starving. The sick and the elderly are becoming critical due to lack of medicines.
---
*Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch, National Alliance of People's Movement, Ambedkarwadi Lekhak Sangh, Delhi Solidarity Group, Magadh Foundation, Rehabilitation Research Initiative, Natt Ghumakkad Samaj Kalyan Samiti, National Domestic Workers Union, Delhi Forum, SRUTI, Helping Hands Charitable Trust

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

World Bank proved right, Narmada is already a destructive project: Medha Patkar

By Rajiv Shah  Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar has said that the World Bank’s independent review mission, which brought out the Morse Commission report , has been proved right: The Sardar Sarovar dam has not only failed to live up to the loud promises made for irrigating large arid areas of Saurashtra and Kutch in Gujarat, those who were displaced and resettled in Gujarat are getting increasingly restive as many of them are unable to get the promised water for irrigation and some for drinking water too. While 50,000 families have been resettled in three states and 20,000 have received land rights as land or cash, the authorities have not calculated what should be done with 15,000 families, whose houses are acquired for Sardar Sarovar but following changing backwater levels of the Sardar Sarovar dam, they are denied rehabilitation, Patkar tells Counterview in an interview (part1*): *** Q: What is the latest position in your view as far as the Sardar Sarovar dam is concerned?

Upholding labour rights, Nehruvian scientific temper, Rajni Patel opposed Emergency

By Harsh Thakor*  Rajni Patel, who died 40 years ago, whatever his flaws, had one great quality: his human touch to offer selfless service and ability to galvanise or influence human beings from all walks of life. Few people would ever go out of the way to help someone or serve as selflessly without aim of personal gain. Rajni championed Nehruvian secular ideas and scientific temper. As a master in public relations he revealed utmost humility. As a barrister, he never appeared against the trade unions or workers. A Fabien Socialist he opposed liberal capitalism and radical socialism. Unlike most lawyers, he did not succumb to the lure of amassing wealth. Rajni was born in Sirsa, in Gujarat, on the very day Gandhi set foot on Indian soil, on 9th January, 1915. He gained his baptism through one of Gandhi's speeches calling for the boycott of foreign goods, which was the virtual turning point of his life. Rajni toed Gandhi to organise boycott of foreign goods. Rajni was able to cros

Vadodara violence: Fine Arts Faculty alumni raise fingers at Varsity's political appointee

Hasmukh Vaghela with PM Counterview Desk  In a statement, alumni of the Faculty of Fine Arts (FoFA), Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU), Baroda, Gujarat, referring to the “violence” by right-wing groups for displaying “objectionable” paintings that “hurt religious sentiments” at the one of India’s top fine arts institute May 5, have taken strong exception to “the assault and rustication” of one of the students, and lack of action taken against those who “violated” the institution and committed the act. Floated as an online petition seeking wider support, the FoFA alumni, in their statement, addressed to the vice chancellor, MSU, said, there should be “thorough” investigation in the whole incident and “immediate action” should be taken against syndicate member Hasmukh Vaghela, MSU, who sparked the assault, and “other co-conspirators” for breaching “university code of conduct and unlawful activities committed in broad daylight”. While the alumni statement doesn't say so, Vaghela

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

UK leader cites Indian farmers' struggle one of top global fights against neoliberal order

Counterview Desk  Jeremy Corbyn, member of the UK Parliament, former leader of the UK Labour Party and founder of the  Peace and Justice Project , in his  inaugural speech to the  Progressive International’s  Summit at the End of the World on May 12, 2022, has said, what is happening across globe suggests that "image of apocalypse -- bombs and raids, oil spills and wildfires, disease and contagion -- is a reality for people across the planet." In an adaptation of his speech, distributed by  Globetrotter , Corbyn, however, said, there are fresh examples action, too -- by Indian farmers forcing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw three neo-liberal laws;  by workers, communities and activists against the top giant multinational Amazon's "greed and exploitation"; and by Latin American people's struggle to say "no more to the domination by imperialism, the destruction of their communities and the abuse of their environments." Stating that this is n

Why is NIOH-ICMR 'official' making false claims on silicosis?: Health rights NGO

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, Dr Jagdish Parikh, trustee, health rights NGO People’s Training and Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, and Jagdish Patel, director, PTRC, have said that the claim being made for the use of biomarker for detection of silicosis raises concern about scientific tenacity of the diagnosis of the deadly occupational disease. The letter also objects to the reported claim by a top health official that it is possible to detect silicosis at the sub-radiological stage. It asks, “What is this subradiological stage of silicosis? We have not heard any such scientific term being used. Again, the report is using a term which is not found in any scientific literature so far. Is this term acceptable by ICMR? Is ICMR thinking of any explanation?” Text : This is with reference to our letter dated November 28, 2021. In our communication we had raised our concern about the scientific tena

Welfare? Govt of India spends just 19% of manual scavengers' rehabilitation budget

By Bharat Dogra*  While the Dalit community has been always known for higher levels of poverty as well as social discrimination, even within the Dalits there is a sub-section known for even worse levels of poverty as well as social discrimination. This is the section which was traditionally involved in manual scavenging. The shocking injustice they have suffered from over the years has been widely recognized leading to a ban on manual scavenging. At the same time there is urgent need for the rehabilitation of those engaged in manual scavenging. Hence a self-employment scheme for the rehabilitation of those engaged in manual scavenging was drawn up. The allocations and the expenditure for this scheme for the last eight years are shown in the Table below: Union Budget for Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of  Manual Scavengers (in Rs crore) By Budget Estimate we mean the original allocation made when the budget is presented. It is clear from this table that the actual expenditure

This Maoist justified US, western Europe's anti-Soviet stance, even Bhindranwale

By Harsh Thakor*  A glaring example of the extent to which those seeking to identify themselves as revolutionaries can go in making odd compromises with those normally considered as “class enemies” in Marxist jargon is late Kondapalli Seetharamiah. Few know that this Maoist organiser two decades ago was so enamoured by the Chinese three worlds theory that he called for a united front with the United States and other western countries against what he considered Soviet social imperialism! This wasn’t the only “compromise” Seetharamiah made during his career as a revolutionary. On Punjab he took a most eclectical stand of supporting Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, thus soft-pedalling the terrorist Khalistani movement. Among his other opportunist alliances, about which few are aware of, include support to the Akalis in Punjab, on one hand, and the NTR Telugu Desam regime in Andhra Pradesh, on the other – all part of his anti-Congress thrust. Also known as KS, this Maoist started his career as

Dalit Hindi professor intimidated, harassed by saffron brigade: 400 activists, academics

Counterview Desk  Over 400 academics and activists have expressed alarm at the Lucknow University ‘protests’ on May 10 against Dr Ravi Kant, associate professor of Hindi and a Dalit, stating it is nothing but “intimidation and abuse” over his remarks on the online channel Satya Hindi, which were taken out of context and made viral on social media. “We are even more concerned that such an incident should occur within the confines a university campus, where free speech and expression without fear must ideally be the norm. Violence and intimidation over differences of opinion should never occur in a university”, the statement regrets, asking the authorities at the university and the Uttar Pradesh government to assure him and his family “protection from further harassment or intimidation.” Text: We are a group of academics and activists deeply concerned by the public heckling and intimidation of Dr. Ravi Kant, Associate Professor of Hindi and well known Dalit scholar, on the premises of t