Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Slave Labor

In a land where no matter how crappy the job, no matter how low the pay, some Indian man is working it - I've found slave labor.

In the Kullu/Parvati valley areas, it seemed that Nepalis are the labor source of choice for enterprising Indians. Whether it is building houses, hauling my bag up a hill, serving the foreigners their food, or cultivating drugs during the season, it seems that Nepali labor is heavily tapped.

The guesthouse I stayed at had one nepali boy, about 16 years old, doing -everything-. Milking the cows, cutting wood, doing laundry, serving drinks to the guests. The kid literally worked all day and night, always with a smile... and the sad fact was, even though I doubt he was getting more than 700 rupees (20 USD) per month, I think he was genuinely glad to have the job. He probably thought he was lucky.

I gave him a 200 rupee tip when the owners weren't looking -as I'm sure other foreigners do, so he's probably not as bad off as the poor bastard who carried my bag up the hill.. but still. It's very surprising to see the Indians using illegal migrant labor.

1 comment:

Madhu said...

Nepalis can live and work in India. They do not require a passport or work permit to do so. Same with Indians in Nepal. So they are not illegal immigrants. As far as the poor pay, well that is how most of Indians are paid (rural as well as those living in cities). Nepalis are not an exception.