Friday, January 31, 2014

Minuscule Minorities - Its the thought, not the number that matters

Recently the Indian Supreme court overturned Delhi High court’s judgment on IPC377 and had some disturbing clauses in it. Out of many things reasons they cited was that the LGBT were too ‘minuscule’ a minority to be given any consideration. The community is up in arms against the term trying to prove they are not small, but what remains is the word inscribed in the judgment, which is yet to be reviewed. At Maid in India we realized no number is large enough for the government of India. 82% of working women in a slum are housemaids and yet they have no rights, standard wages, legitimacy or recognition of this workforce in our labor laws. 82% of any slum is a very large number, miniscule by no standard – yet, this population is ignored and dismissed. So is the fight for ‘numbers’ really valid?

The workforce is probably the oldest, after prostitution that women have been taking up for millennia. These women want to work and just focus on their wages and working hours and nothing else, they don't care if a piece of legislation changes their status. Then why is it important? Even though a ‘maid’ is a need, people tend to exploit them, haggle, fight, fire but still always need them.

So, it’s a common theme across India to exploit and deny rights as far as we can. The ‘we’ here is our majority – the majority that vote, have money, and have the ability to create opportunity and rights for themselves. The problem with Sec 377 is that it’s a law that is obstructing the path ahead for LGBT, but the problem with maids is just that no one cares enough to even interpret the law correctly for them. On one hand, I’m disappointed that the biggest democracy failed to recognize LGBT rights, however, on the other hand, at least the country cares enough to talk about it at length!

The law is a piece of paper which will not affect LGBT, or a maid but give all the majority population, heterosexual, owners, customers a short precise peak into the rights of some individuals who we do not consider reading about. So hopefully IPC 377 and Maid's rights will be in our courts again and the topic that is not of our concern might fill our newspapers for a few days to at least consider because what doesn't trouble you might trouble someone else and there is no hard work in reading or turning the page that forces you to consider it.