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Monday, June 01, 2009

Aaker Patel: On Servants

A Pakistani twist to Aakar's observations on servants would be the driver and servants who go to the Juma parayers and stand in line like ik hee suff maiN khaRay ho ga'aye sub Mahmud o Ayaz of peotic lore, but coming home in 40C, the masters retire to their air conditioned dining room for lunch, while the servants, chowkidaars and drivers lunch separately in blistering heat ~~~t

Dressed in similar clothes, foreigners will not be able to pick out Indian servant from master. But we can, of course. Indians are peerless detectors of social standing. Parents scold their children, when they look like little urchins, as children often do, that they 'look like servants'.

Any reasonably-sized home garden will have a mali who will come and tend to it. The joy of the garden comes not from maintaining it yourself, as in the west, but from possessing it. Doing something does not give as much joy as making someone do it for you.The servant culture extends into the corporate office through the office boy, or peon. They make and bring us our photocopies and our tea. Executives summon the office boy not by calling out their name but with the crack of a bell which sits on their desk, like signalling an animal.


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