Recently a story started to do the rounds on various social media platforms wherein as per the “storyteller,” a family was seen discriminating against their maid in a metro because she was “forced” to sit on the metro floor despite of there being a lot of vacant seats. Now, this story sounds like a typical case of disgusting caste-ism in India however, this ‘maid on the metro floor’ story is far from the actual truth.
For those who know nothing about this story:
Few days back a journalist of The Print, Ms. Sanya Dhingra, tweeted the picture of a woman feeding her toddler sitting on a metro seat while the kid’s nanny was seen sitting on the floor beside the seats despite of there being empty seats nearby.
Ms. Dhingra, based on that picture, highlighted as to how Indian families continue to treat their domestic helps with disgrace and disrespect just because they belong to poor lower class families and refuse to share the same space with their servants. Followed by this uproar on caste discrimination in metro on Twitter, The Print’s Editor-in-Chief Mr. Shekhar Gupta published an article on The Print narrating the whole incident.
Based solely on the picture tweeted by her, this surely is a repulsive sight to behold and many of us (including me) were pretty quick to form a disparaging opinion about the family in question branding them as insensitive exploiters who exhibit gruesome cruelty towards their domestic help.
But, hardly do we think twice before coming to such an extreme conclusion. Hardly do we readers make an effort to cross check or wait to hear about and understand the entire scenario before making poor judgments like these.
I’m saying this because the actual truth behind this ‘maid on metro floor’ story is something else altogether.
As per the original account of the “alleged exploiter” in question, she, her baby and her maid boarded the metro to find that all seats were taken. As they had loads of luggage with them, they opted to sit on the metro floor which is a completely normal thing to do (which many of us do as a matter of fact). Because her kid was, well, just a kid, she decided to carry him around while her maid sat with the luggage on the floor. After many efforts at calming her excited kid down, she made him sit on a seat offered to him and started feeding her during which she managed to sit beside him while their maid was still sitting with their luggage on the floor.
This entire scene was witnessed by Ms. Dhingra and on asking the maid as to why she was still sitting on the floor despite of their being empty seats, the maid happily said she was comfortable that way. The lady also let Ms. Dhingra know that they were going to get off in the next station so they were fine. However, she decided to twist this entire tale adding a bit of ‘mirch masala’ to it and made it viral on Twitter branding the family as discriminating assholes. And this she did by secretly clicking a picture of the trio conveniently cropping the entire luggage out. (Read the full account here of the other side).
And this, my friends, is the way journalists “create” news fully aware of the fact that the real job of a responsible journalist is to bring out the real issues in public light not manipulating a normal trivial situation like that. The way Ms. Dhingra shrewdly clicked their picture without their knowledge and posted it online with the obvious intention of misleading the public is not acceptable as a journalist at all.
The outrage over the family that this distorted news caused somehow reached the family and the helpless woman, a doctor at AIIMS, who doesn’t have a Twitter account like others, was forced to share her side of the story via her brother’s blog on WordPress.
This shameful act not only maligned the innocent family’s image which might take lots of time to be clean again but also misled the readers shaking their faith in journalism and the media as a whole.
But it’s not only the journalist at fault here. India’s painstakingly ignorant public is also responsible who blindly believes whatever they see and read on social media never taking a moment to know the whole scenario. It is because of them that fake distorted news like these spread like wildfire on the internet in a single day.
In my opinion, taking a strict learning from this incident might help us move forward towards being a mature responsible public in a democracy like India which is extremely crucial if we want to respect the Right To Privacy that we have.
Images Source: Twitter, Google Images, WordPress
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