‘Maid in India’ and ‘The Ruler’s Gaze’

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n Tripti Lahiri 4
Tripti Lahiri’s “Maid In India” is a poignant depiction of regular, glorified exploitation witnessed in most modern Indian households. A result of meticulous research and ample empathy, “Maid In India” is a non-fiction piece exploring the politics of opportunity and inequalities hushed up and tucked away inside our kitchens and servants’ quarters.
“Maid In India” dates back to the age-old practices of maid culture mentioned in memoirs and autobiographies. The author delineates the fact that India has always had servants in one form or another and this somewhat needs to be blamed on the unequal distribution of work between men and women.
“Maid In India” cites examples of women who migrate from villages to big cities and have an experience too harsh. With examples of court cases of abuses toward helps, the book throws light on the complex relationship between the maid and her employer.
Manjula Narayan writes in The Hindustan Times , “Maid in India is shot through with liberal guilt, with some hand-wringing about belonging to the haves.”
“The Ruler’s Gaze” by Arvind Sharma
Arvind’s Sharma’s “The Ruler’s Gaze” is a compelling critical study of the British rule in India. In his ground-breaking book Orientalism, Edward Said had exposed how the British rulers in India formed their own concepts of the Orient and the Occident, that is, the East and the West. Sharma’s book is a thorough critique of the British Raj and their such concepts. It also offers to take up whatever Edward Said had to say about the West in relation to the Middle East in his book and apply it to the Indian context.
Arvind Sharma examines the fundamental thesis provided by Edward Said who argued how power manipulates the production of cultural knowledge. He exhibits how India’s ideas regarding its own culture are formed from the British perspective of Indians. This perspective mostly viewed the oppressed as superstitious, hostile, and never at par with the whites. “The Ruler’s Gaze” is a ‘Saidian’ endeavour to illuminate how India’s cultural brand was created through the lens of the West.

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