Recently an image went viral on the internet in which a woman can be seen sitting with her child inside a compartment of Delhi Metro while the Child’s nanny is sitting on the floor beside. The woman was heavily criticized on Twitter for caste discrimination by not letting the nanny seat beside her on the seat.
Seen in Delhi metro: Mother and child take seats while the child’s nanny sits on the floor on a fairly empty train. Caste/class discrimination really is space-agnostic. pic.twitter.com/cawsIU2zWs
— Sanya Dhingra (@DhingraSanya) January 20, 2018
The entire episode began when Sanya Dhingra who is a journalist working for Shekhar Gupta’s Print, tweeted the image calling it a caste/class discrimination. The tweet was followed by a full fledged article by none other than Shekhar Gupta about caste discrimination against house workers in India etc etc, with the basis of all allegation being one single image.
After being criticized for days the woman in the image who is a doctor by profession has finally come out with her version of the story. According to the woman when she boarded on the metro along with her child, nanny and a lot of luggage the train was pretty much crowded. As it was not possible to stand with so much luggage they sat down on the floor. It must be noted that sitting on the floor is a common thing in Delhi Metro. But the baby who was crying heavily wanted to roam around the compartments of the train. Having no other option left she decided to roam around the train leaving nanny behind with the luggages.
They were only four stations away from destination when the child was finally ready to sit and eat something so the mother sat down on the available seat. The nanny still preferred to keep sitting on the floor as she felt comfortable there.
During the time when I was trying to calm down my baby, a lady (Ms. Sanya Dhingra, a journalist at ThePrint) boarded the train between Malviya Nagar and MG road. She asked my nanny as to why didn’t she take one of the vacant seats, just when we left that station since that time the metro had many unoccupied seats. Our nanny, who is a very nice and simple lady, told her that she is comfortable there but since Ms. Dhingra kept staring at her, I told her that we are about to get down and we are with lots of luggage so we are ok, thanks for asking. After that, our station came, I took one of the bags and baby;, the nanny took two bags and we got down on MG Road. Ms. Dhingra who was standing right there at the door witnessed everything.
Since I am not very active on social media, it was only later that I learnt that Ms. Dhingra tweeted a picture of us in the midst of all that confusion, our nanny sitting on the floor with the caption, “Seen in Delhi metro: Mother and child take seats while the child’s nanny sits on the floor on a fairly empty train. Caste/class discrimination really is space-agnostic.” As if this was not enough, an article appeared on ThePrint on Monday written by none other than Mr Shekhar Gupta, with the now viral picture at the top, being used as an example to “tell us more than a thousand words on our class differences and the way we treat our domestic workers”, as the author himself put it, quoting our example, and clubbing it with other harsh cases of “servant” exploitation. I was left dumbstruck and furious at the same time, wrote the woman using her brother’s blog. Read her entire statement here
One of the fundamental tenets of Journalism is to treat person only as having “allegedly commited crime” until proven guilty. Seems like Sanya Dhingra And here employer Shekhar Gupta forgot this important tenet while covering the story.