Karnataka chief secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar is in news for setting exemplary standards of sincerity by opting to take only one day of leave for his daughter’s wedding. The Times of India has reported that Bhaskar has not only opted to conduct the wedding at an “ordinary kalyana mantapa”, he is also taking a leave of just one day for it. “I’m a simple person and even my family members, including my daughter, wanted to have a simple marriage ceremony,” further adding, “My wife Rukmini is taking care of everything. She took the entire responsibility of the wedding preparations while I was busy at work.”
- For every employee who is sincere at work, is a spouse who makes their life easy.
- If TM Bhaskar had to just take a day of leave for his daughter’s wedding, shouldn’t a little credit go to his wife?
- Sadly, homemakers remain invisible from our conversation on sincerity and dedication to work.
Behind all sincere employees who report to work come hell or high water, is a spouse who has their back.
While we should indeed appreciate the chief secretary’s commitment to his work, let us also take a minute to applaud his wife, who had his back. Behind all sincere employees who report to work come hell or high water, is a spouse who has their back. How often do we recognise the effort put in by dedicated wives, in making sure that their husbands are punctual, never miss a meeting, or don’t have to take a leave of absence because their child has high fever, or mother is bedridden? Women in India, as they largely remain absent from the workforce, also remain the invisible force behind dedicated and sincere Indian male employees.
“My wife Rukmini is taking care of everything. She took the entire responsibility of the wedding preparations while I was busy at work.”
But of course man gets to be newspaper headline because he didn’t do any wedding prep for his daughter? https://t.co/TdvfZ2wtlk
— Adrija Bose (@adrijabose) June 8, 2019
I am not taking any credit away from Bhaskar, as any man who avails no reason or excuse to slack off from work deserves all the praise that comes his way. But there are things which need to be done in every home, and clearly if the man is away at work, someone else is taking charge. Who attends children’s PTM, takes ailing parents to the doctor and keeps the kitchen cabinet replete with staple? Who is washing clothes at a sincere employee’s house, because clearly, they aren’t going to wash themselves? Bhaskar has himself said that he didn’t have to worry about the wedding preparations, because his wife took all the responsibilities. And yet, the casual way in which we sideline home makers from the conversation, when it comes to sincerity of employees at workplace, is telling of how most of us still take them for granted. How little we value their contribution, as merely keeping every part of the machinery called household running smoothly isn’t a small feat.
Partners who chose to take up house hold responsibilities and support their hard working and ambitious spouse seldom get the recognition they deserve. But since India still remains a patriarchal set-up, where men must earn and women must manage the home, it is largely women whose work goes unappreciated.
The conversation matters, because this lack of appreciation speaks of both patriarchal male entitlement and unfair distribution of labour in a household. Household chores do not pay, thus technically a home maker does “nothing”. This is why, despite spending hours labouring to keep her house habitable, a wife’s contribution doesn’t matter, unless she is working. The news about Bhaskar could have been about how he was able to keep working despite his daughter’s impending wedding, because his wife took all the responsibilities. But the problem is, not many would care for such a story. Who cares if a wife ensures that her husband doesn’t have to take leave from his work, isn’t that her job?
It is not as if this is gender specific. Partners who chose to take up house hold responsibilities and support their hard working and ambitious spouse seldom get the recognition they deserve. But since India still remains a patriarchal set-up, where men must earn and women must manage the home, it is largely women whose work goes unappreciated. Also, such an attitude keeps men from becoming homemakers or putting their career second to that of their spouse, because the society doesn’t approve of a man who does “nothing.”
This is why the conversation around dedication at work needs to be inclusive of the invisible forces at home, which make this possible. As long as men and women keep coming together to make a home, there’ll be mouths to feed, clothes to wash, utensils to cleans, and chores that need to be done, apart from putting the bacon on the table. What can change though is how we out these duties in the hierarchy and demean those who take care of the unpaid duties.
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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.