June 23, 2021
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Children Of A Lesser God?

Children Of A Lesser God?
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Children Of A Lesser God?

Two Nepali women, aged 30 and 50 working as maids at the home of a Saudi diplomat in Gurgaon were allegedly starved and sexually abused by him and other Saudi nationals.

Police have registered a case of rape, sodomy and illegal confinement against the official, without naming him.

India has urged Saudi Arabia to cooperate in investigations.

Mistreatment of domestic help, however, is not new to Delhi. There has been a steady increase in cases where they are subjected to abuse and humiliation by employers across the country. 

Back in 2012, Outlook did a cover story on the issue which looked at why the Indian middle class treat their domestic help with derision and abuse:

Given the recent flare-ups and the outrage (at least in the media), it is a relationship that many now openly characterise as that between a modern master and slave. These are reflected even in minute dealings with the help.

Now the picture may look particularly grim in the national capital (the latest case, from last month, is of a tortured 13-year-old Jharkhand girl, locked in by a vacationing doctor couple with frugal rations) but the truth is, across the country, particularly in north India, abuse of domestic helps is on the rise. What has brought about this pattern of deliberate brutality? Is it because the affluent in cities find a deluge of workers in a market that has no checks against their exploitation? Is it the poor, rather negligible conviction rate, the money-conquers-all attitude which has emboldened this cruel streak in city-dwellers?

Read the full issue from April 23, 2012.

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