Home / Work

home-work

Tumhara Ghar, Hamara Kaam

English (subtitled)/Hindi, 44 min/25 min, 2010

Home/Work presents women who work as part-time domestic workers. The film follows 5 women as they struggle for livelihood in the burgeoning urban centres of India. Invisible from the mainstream labour force and outside of all social security nets, the lives of these women begins to deconstruct the ideal notion of an Indian ‘home’ and ‘hearth.’

The women live in a constant duality — tied to their employer with a continuous relation that often stretches across decades and yet one that has no real permenance — the part- time domestic worker are majority women and work under specific and peculiar conditions. Their work takes place not in the public arena but in the most private space of all — inside the homes of their employers. Often the sole earners for their families, part- time domestic workers suffer from low wages, no or low leave, non-payment for emergency leave, continuous demand for doing extra work, no access to working facilities like toilets, kitchen or other amenities. Holidays mean extra work and festivities always lead to additional responsibilities. They also live in the constant fear of losing their jobs as women, even more desperate, are always willing to work at even lower wages and worse working conditions.

Despite the constant cycle of discomfort the women represent a highly mobile and eclectic workforce whose existence insists on a re-look at the field of gender, labour and work. Their existence also calls for an understanding of domestic-servitude that is not quite either a system belonging to feudalism or capitalism and yet has imbibed the most brutal and oppressive elements of both. Domestic servitude in India is not stagnant but changes with the changing lives and circumstances of the Indian middle classes. Because domestic servitude and the middle classes are tied to each other in a dialectical relation of dependence and resentment.

Home/ Work tries to unravel some of the complexities and peculiarities of domestic servitude in India.

Producer: Jagori / Director: Gargi Sen / Asst. Director & Research: Tulika / Camera: Aaquib Shahbaz Usmani / Editing: Ranjan De

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