Devyani Khobragade – Justice Or Prejudice?

Posted: December 27, 2013

Over the past few days, any one switching on a news channel or opening a newspaper will have overdosed on the saga of Ms. Khobragade and her maid Ms. Richard. The  facts of the case are now lost amidst the hoarse cries of fraud versus less pay and treatment of the employer as common criminal versus treatment of the Indian maidservant like …um…. an Indian maidservant.

Friends of Ms. K are now being interviewed to provide an added decibel level to the protests by the Indian Government. Some busybody has even interviewed the other Mrs. Richard (the mother-in-law, silly) for some (ha!) neutral perspective on the character of young Mrs. Richard. Meanwhile every politician and bureaucrat who has had tea with Ms.Khobragade’s bureaucrat-father-with-connections is coming out in her support. For some strange reason, we are asked to believe that the lady employer who has crores worth of property littered around the state is dependent on her pay-check to pay her the nanny.

Perhaps some of these bureaucrat gentlemen and ladies are also genuinely wondering if “Amrica–ki-posting” will be fun anymore, if they have do the choola-chowka-jhadoo-bartan at the humongous accommodation they might be staying in.

Mr. Bharara could not have timed this more perfectly for a hyperbolic outrage from the Mera Bharat Mahan Government of India. Trembling and jittery from its dismal showing in the regional polls, perchance clairvoyant about the results of the upcoming general elections and the sceptre of Aam Aadmi Party’s influence looming large, it needed to show some cojones to make up for the lack of them for past few years.

Forlorn at being pipped to the post, we have  functionaries of opposition parties and every riff-raff who could get hold of a journo with a scribble-pad eagerly crying foul. The new credential for being patriotic is the shrillness with which the demand for apology from the U.S is being made.

The caste factor has reared its ugly head and we have had Mayawati talking about caste injustice. Wonder if they have sent sleuths to Punjab to dig up the caste antecedents of Mr. Bharara’s parents to introduce a new twist to this upper-caste-hates-lower-caste drama.

Let me clarify that I do indeed protest the treatment of Ms. Khobragade like a common criminal. It was over the top and completely unnecessary. Moreover, it presented the sadly unarmed Indian reactors a lathi to wave around.

But the visa fraud, signing of separate contracts with different amounts as  salary and the maid’s long hours of work have to be legally dealt with regardless of her shifting and rapidly elevating status as a diplomat.

The unconditional shielding of U.S. diplomats is also being bandied about as the great example of double standards.  Yes, I agree the U.S.A. is that Big Brother with double standards that the world has to put up with.

But anyone who reads the newspaper knows that the Adarsh Commission report that has been tabled, has named several prominent figures, bureaucratic and political, as the culprits (Ms. Khobragade is one of the beneficiaries) of a multi-crore scam. Far from asking for justice, the cabinet has summarily rejected the report without providing any reason for the same and the recently garrulous bureaucrats seem to be lost for words.

How’s that for double standards?

Indeed a case of the Indian pot calling the U.S kettle black!

I am Ujwala Shenoy Karmarkar. I love reading, meeting people, listening to music, watching plays,

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  1. Nice article, with a well balanced view…
    Patriotism and caste factors can easily do a cover up in our country for the most heinous of crimes too.

  2. Agree…there is more than meets the eye in this case….and i wish we would stop being so jingoist.

  3. Can a diplomat be cavity-searched? Do they expect a Consulate General of India, Ms. Khobargade to hide some coccaine or something in the private parts like many hippies in US do? While it is well known that our bureaucrats are not clean people, the outrage is over how a government representative of a third world non-ally country like India gets treated there.

    • Yes, Vineet.
      True that diplomats of third World countries get step-motherly treatment from Big Mommma/Big Brother…

      But I wonder if the truth will emerge amidst this cacophony of outrage or will this be another case fought and compensated with the Indian tax-payer’s money ( like Prabhu Dayal’s and Neena Malhotra’s)

    • The concern is there… but it should not be used as an excuse.
      Being a woman, under privileged, low caste, third world representative, diplomat or whatever can not be used as excuses to hide frauds.

    • Legally, she did not have diplomatic immunity for the charges against her. So the normal procedures had to be followed. It is not acceptable to waive standard procedures for a particular person just because they are in a powerful position.

      What I found more telling was her response in the media. Devyani was quoted as saying that she was held in a lockup with (her words) “common criminals”. The entitlement and prejudice this statement displays is appalling. Each of the other persons in the lockup was exactly the same as her: accused of a crime, but legally innocent until proven guilty.

      Also, why is a case filed against the maid in India? She is accused of “absconding”. Absconding from what, exactly? She (the maid) is not a government employee and is free to leave her job any time.

      This whole saga leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. It shows the length to which our government will go to protect its own corrupt members, while displaying a complete lack of concern for the more vulnerable members of society, whom the government is supposed to protect.

  4. Nice article ujwala. I feel if the process is such then so be it. Why should anyone be spared? Agree wid Bangalore dude..

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