Pope Francis once said Inequality is the root of social evil. And at this point of time when the world is facing a crisis, I think all of us need to think on how we have treated our fellow beings. But the difference in treatment comes due to the social stratification which has been followed from decades.
Social stratification refers to the society’s categorization of its people into groups based on socio economic factors like wealth, income, race, education, occupation, social status, etc. They are typically defined in terms of three social classes, 1) The upper class, 2) The middle class, and 3) The lower class. Social stratification is a society wide system that makes inequalities apparent. This stratification has led to differences among people. For instance, do you think we really value and respect the work of people who clean our house, clear the dustbins of our street, guarding our household or a society, deliver our essential items at doorstep, etc?
In today’s world, when all of us are living a hustle-bustle life, there’s hardly time to complete the household chores. Cooking, cleaning, washing utensils, taking care of the home is a challenging affair. For most of us living in a family, Jhaadoo (brooming), poncha (mopping), bartan (washing utensils), kapda (washing clothes), etc is only organized with the help of domestic workforce. So, one thing is clear that we hire a workforce, called as a ‘maid’ to reduce our burden. His/her contribution makes our life easier. But why most of us consider them in an unequal status when compared to us? Why do we treat them as a lower class human being despite knowing she is of great importance? Because economically, they are not on par with us?
Imagine a city with no access to safe water and sanitation, where bins overflow and rubbish piles up. A city without affordable child care or transportation, where children are not safe when they play in the outdoor public spaces, and there are no clean and green parks to enjoy. A city where the roads and footpaths are not clean, a city where pavements have cracks and holes. The city wouldn’t look like a city and people would suffer a poor quality of life. Yes, I’m talking about the municipal workers who are invisible, underpaid but they are the ones who make our city clean and beautiful. So, the next time you see them on the roads, please thank them and spread a smile so that they feel their work is being recognised.
Maids, drivers, watchmen, municipal workers do not choose the respective fields by choice but because they need to make a living. I don’t know anyone from any class who had a perfect life. There are people who are born in wealthy families but they might not have emotional support and there are people who come from working class who are loved the most but are in possession of no money.
Always, give them your hand when they need support and never cut their wages or salaries, treat them in a different way. They earn money with hardwork and honesty. “You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them,” stated Harper Lee.
The word ‘independent’ has gained a lot of importance in the modern world. Yes it’s a good notion to be independent but are we really not dependent on anyone? Can we imagine living an independent life without depending on domestic help, municipal workers, drivers, watchman, etc? No! It’s not that easy to lead a life without them. They contribute in every individual’s life. Hence, its time for us to make them feel valued.
Most of us by now, would have realized that we depend on a lot of people to ensure smooth functioning of our activities. From the milk delivery, newspaper at our doorstep, to the watchman, driver, domestic help and other staff, life would not have been organized if they hadn’t contributed. Hence they deserve more respect and better treatment. We need to show them our gratitude and make them feel like a part of our family. Remember, we stand as ‘humans’ before our social status. Let’s all believe in ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ ( The world is one family.)
By P. Bhavesh Kumar Jain