“Domestic workers go without salaries, work during the lockdown”, headlined India Today.
The global novel Coronavirus is keeping us on hold in our homes. While we let it all hang and begin to discover our passions, the burden of housework is keeping us on our toes.
We have managed to engage ourselves in various hobbies like binge-watching everything on our list, doing carpentry, cooking, painting, writing, etc., and all of this is followed by washing the utensils after cooking, cleaning everything after painting and the list goes on.
Before we thoroughly admire our creativity, we are occupied by a load of household chores. All these fundamentals are fulfilled by informal workers like newspaper delivery boys, online delivery workers, maids, plumbers, electricians, etc.
A large scale of Indian households depends on informal workers and they are the backbone of Indian cities’ economy. They are usually migrants from rural areas who shift to cities in search of work to escape poverty. I’m sure all the informal workers in our lives have crossed our minds several times for their servile works.
By the time lockdown was declared, we have already started to panic about the possible outbreak of the virus and sent our helpers on leave. We chose to close our doors to everything from outside and made sure all the essentials we get home are exhaustively sanitized.
Now, these domestic workers are either stuck in their places in large cities with no money to buy food or battling life walking along the railway tracks to get back to their native homes. Their pictures are going viral on the internet, they’re walking helplessly carrying their children on their shoulders. It’s heart-wrenching to see the most hardworking class of people struggle for life, fighting insecurity.
We know that they’re left with meager money and almost no food. With their work falling apart, they are not feeling safe anymore. We have sent them on leave and now their lives are being overlooked by us. Do they deserve a tragedy like this which is scarier than the tragedy of Corona Virus? Definitely not.
And now realizing the value of their work is just not enough. They deserve so much more for their unparalleled services. We may not be able to help every stranded migrant or laborer but we can definitely help all the domestic workers associated with our lives by giving them full salaries regardless of their presence right now. We need to do it not just because one-day when things fall back into place, we would start to depend on them, but instead do it because we are all combating against a deadly virus that doesn’t differentiate any of us based on our status and every resultant action of us to conserve benignity is shaping a new future.
This is humanity’s call because when disasters like these unbridle, the worst effect of it will always be on the less-fortunate. This is going to be a difficult phase in their lives and a downhearted period in history and all of us who can afford to, should grab every chance to make it bearable.