LETTERS: New dawn, new way
Apropos of the news story “Domestic helps seeking better pay, protection” (THT, June 22, Page 3), a new dawn brings new ways and domestic helps and other informal workers cannot be an exception. There was a time when our parents treated our servants and the children as one. At least this was what was in our household: we children lived, played and studied like siblings. Many years later when we grew into men we still hired a domestic help or two but we did so solely at their parents request to supplement their income.
Our lifestyle, nuclear families, and the new kitchen and home gadgets or technology if you like, made domestic help more of an encumbrance than help. We paid them a monthly salary, sent them to school, taught them housekeeping, cooking prawns and lobsters, using coffee machines, wearing smart attire - ironed shirts and pants and polished shoes, and other etiquette that come at a price through institutes like ‘New Era’. No wonder some of them today work as restaurant managers without ever going into hotel management schools. In recent days domestic helps’ parents are replaced by agents who have started knocking at our door soliciting employment for their charges. These agents will in most cases pick up the salaries and are also responsible for taking them away without any notice at the next best opportunity, including dispatching them to the Gulf. It is quite possible that these agents are also traffickers. They ask for their rights but do not want to honour their duties as is the new norm in new Nepal. So, in order to protect both the parties, the government needs to organize this sector better. Of course, some of us would cease to hire domestic help completely as we become more aware of human dignity and rights.
Manohar Shrestha, Kathmandu
Apropos of Shiva Neupane’s letter, “Parenting” (THT, June 21, Page 8), we need to follow the guidelines of the Mother (Mirra Alfassa ~ spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo) if we want to do justice to the immense potentiality which is hidden in every child. The Mother said, “The children must be educated in an atmosphere of love and gentleness. No violence, never. No scolding, never. Always a gentle kindness and the teacher must be the living example of the virtues the child must acquire.” To be a living example is very difficult but the Mother said, “Example is the most powerful instructor. Never demand from a child an effort of discipline that you do not make yourself. Calm, equanimity, order, method, absence of useless words, ought to be constantly practiced by the teacher if he wants to instill them into his pupils.” As the Mother said, “Never forget that a little child under six knows much more than he can express.” So, we are to teach ourselves first if we want to teach our children. The Mother said, “Be very calm and very patient, never get angry; one must be master of oneself in order to be a master of others.”
Sujit De, Kolkata