Is This Progress?


SLM
#1
India start-up outsources chores as servant culture shifts



In this photograph taken on July 11, 2014, founder of India's door-to-door pick-up and delivery service 'Get My Peon', Bharat Ahirwar, talks to his staff during a team meeting at their office in Mumbai. (AFP PHOTO / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE)

Relaxnews
Published Sunday, July 27, 2014 8:24AM EDT
(MUMBAI-AFP) - Need someone to pay your bills and pick up your shopping, take an elderly relative to hospital or deliver 26 presents to your girlfriend on her 26th birthday?
These are just some of the requests received by Mumbai start-up "Get My Peon", one of the new Indian companies offering to do your chores and errands in a country traditionally reliant on full-time servants.
Hired help still plays a huge role in hierarchical Indian society, with those who can afford it employing maids, cooks, drivers and nannies, as well as "peons" or servants at work -- still an acceptable term in India for office boys and runners.
But some are increasingly opting to outsource their daily tasks rather than depend on in-house staff. Get My Peon, set up in 2012, now has about 800 clients on its books, from chief executives to housewives.
"People have stopped doing things the old-fashioned way. The labour costs for full-time staff are very high," said Bharat Ahirwar, the 29-year-old founder of Get My Peon, which charges 200 rupees ($3) for a one-way errand.
While India's urban middle-class is growing and looking for affordable help, new avenues are opening for poorer workers who earlier were more likely to settle as full-time, often poorly paid, servants.


Read more: India start-up outsources chores as servant culture shifts | CTV News (external - login to view)

Being Canadian born and raised, I've never had any real experience with an absolute caste system. I can easily wrap my head around outsourcing personal and domestic tasks, but don't view those who perform such tasks as being of some kind of 'lower station'. So while I can see some potential in this new direction which could give those who may have been more exploited in the past more control over their lives in terms of the work that they do, I wonder if it really does make that much of a difference, whether it's just the same thing with a different label on it. I don't know, maybe I just can't get beyond the term "peon".


 
petros
#2
A peon is leaps and bounds above an "untouchable".
 
SLM
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

A peon is leaps and bounds above an "untouchable".

That's kind of like saying calling someone stupid is better than calling them a moron.

Anyway, India is a nation that is, on the one hand, very progressive and in a definite forward and upward motion yet at the same time is still a nation that's one of the deadliest to be born a girl.

It's not about hiring someone to clean your house, I know many people that do that. But it's the attitude of someone being lower in life than you are and thus they are the ones that clean your house. Is this a way to raise the station of those who perform more menial tasks in India or is it just sub-contracting out the same treatment?

And I'm not so naive as to think that there is never domestic exploitation that occurs here, but overall it's not something considered to be a societal norm.
 
QuebecCanadian
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

India start-up outsources chores as servant culture shifts

In this photograph taken on July 11, 2014, founder of India's door-to-door pick-up and delivery service 'Get My Peon', Bharat Ahirwar, talks to his staff during a team meeting at their office in Mumbai. (AFP PHOTO / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE)
Relaxnews
Published Sunday, July 27, 2014 8:24AM EDT
(MUMBAI-AFP) - Need someone to pay your bills and pick up your shopping, take an elderly relative to hospital or deliver 26 presents to your girlfriend on her 26th birthday?
These are just some of the requests received by Mumbai start-up "Get My Peon", one of the new Indian companies offering to do your chores and errands in a country traditionally reliant on full-time servants.
Hired help still plays a huge role in hierarchical Indian society, with those who can afford it employing maids, cooks, drivers and nannies, as well as "peons" or servants at work --...

Quote has been trimmed, See full post: View Post
These "peons" are laughing all the way to the bank. I think it's a great idea.
 
petros
#5
We have stuff like this here in Regina but the peons are laughing their way to the beer store or their dealers.
 

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