Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Woman's Day/Indian woman


As the International woman's day approches on 8th March, my mind thinks about an article written in the webpage of Bangladeshies living outside bangladesh. It is about the Ayahs of victorian england in 1870. The Britishers serving in india used to go on furlough to Britain to spend the summer. As the white memsahibs used to stay in the upper deck of the passenger decks and as the time taken for the journey was unusually long, they needed relaxation without their kids to be on their side. In comes the AYAH mostly recruited from poor of Bengal as Calcutta used to be the capital those days. They used to make a deal that the ayahs will not only look after the kids during the journey but also in England and also they will be paid for their return journey. But Britishers as usual broke their promise and left the ayahs to fend for themselves in victorian england. An uneducated woman in their teen, in alien land without knowldge of english and in biting cold must have been a torture. But these Ayahs SURVIVED and stayed behind in england to open curry shops and even work as ayahs till they got a return journey provider. This seems to be the origin of bengali immigiration to england. what fascinated me is the sheer survival of these woman in 1870.
Now i see the same sheer grit of indian woman who is sent to Africa in the first all woman battalion of the UN peace keepeers.
I also see the same grit and survival instinct in the woman of india who run Auto rikshaws in the dusty chaotic traffic of some of our metors and looking after their families and drunken husbands.
But as our western educated media talk about Indira Nooyi ,sunitha williams and biocons Shaw, i hope they will also cover the auto rikshaw drivers if not the AYAHS of 1870 victorian

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