Yesterday, New Delhi 25 faced a major crisis. Most of the house maids in the area were on leave and the housewives were a little angry, complaining that "these maids always do this". There is so much to do and all my work has been delayed'..blah..blah.
Apparently it is a very common phenomenon, which can be easily ignored but i was forced to think about it when my mother,sister in law and an aunt from the neigbourhood repeated the same anguish. I thought it may be the scheduled demolition drive on the bank of Yamuna can be the reason for their absence. People might be worried about their shelters, than their jobs. Some Urdu News papers also displayed full page features on the demolition.
Most of these Maids are 'Bangla' speaking and live along the banks of Yamuna in the so called 'unathorised' illegal colonies or settlements . Our maid also lives in the same settlement and she didn't come yesterday. Today when my mom enquired about her 'Bunk'. She said that she was picked up by the Police on the charges of being a 'Bangladeshi', she was kept in the Police Station of Chitranjan park for almost five hours and released only when her husband brought the 'evidence' to prove her identity as an Indian.
She said "More than 50 people were picked from her area at 3.am last night and only those who carried some 'proof' were 'released free'," others were beaten and their freedom cost them around 2000-2500 rupees per head. There was no news coverage about this issue yet.
Day before yesterday our Delhi police performed an encounter in which four people were killed for allegedly being terrorists. The event might and might not have something to do with raids in those 'maids' area. But raids in bangla speeking ghettos or low income group people are common and it appear more ' Normal' whenever there is any threat to our national security. Around five years back I heard similar stories in Seema Puri from bangla speaking people. no body came to help them as it was a political issue.
So now I have some disturbing pictures with me. Whenever encounter happens in the city, Muslim ghetto areas are raided, Bangla speaking people are charged as infiltrators and locked up, freedom is purchased and Maids go on a mass bunk.
Have you ever encountered maids in India ?
Syed Yunus" <delhi.yunusATgmail.com>