My servant is a Facebook user!


And No, I’m not being priggish and this is not a funny post either yet I may towards the end appear as if I’m not willing to let go of the social divide.

Anyways, this is how we found out.

After a month of being fraught with a new job and consequences of a runaway domestic help, I finally found 18 year old Hanif, who could drive and help around the house as well. His first impression came across as that of an honest and decent guy, thus got hired right away.

The evening he joined work, while making dinner I realized we were out of mayo; So I called out to Hanif and asked him to run & fetch a bottle from a nearby grocery store.

Used to explaining things or writing a chit in urdu for both the servant and shopkeepers benefit, I showed him an old empty bottle of a regular mayo brand. “eik choti botal maa-yo-neeese ki le ao.”
“Ma’am, Mayo? French’s ka le aoon?”

Both I and F, standing in the kitchen at that moment were stunned and delighted at his caliber. We could teach him in our free time and hopefully increase his prospects for a better job.

Later that evening, F asked Hanif about any schooling he got back at his village,

Hanif: “No sir, mai kabhi school nahi gaya, phir bhi thori bohat English parh leta hoon.”
“No sir, I have never been to a school though I can read and write some English”

F: “English seekhi kaise agar school nahi gaye? Kisi ne parhaya?
“Then how did you learn it? Did someone teach you?

Hanif: “Maine jo bhi seekha hai, mobile internet se seekha hai. Mere paas Z ki sim hai aur unka GPRS bohat sasta hai, us pe dekh dekh ke kafi kuch seekh liya. Meri Facebook ID bhi hai aur thori bohat chatting bhi karleta hoon”
“I learnt it off mobile internet. I have a Z sim which has a very inexpensive GPRS package so I tried browsing and that helped me to pick up quite a few things. Now I have a FB ID and can chat as well”

Hanif left a stunned couple sitting back in their lounge and went into his quarters for the night.

However, where there is immense admiration & respect for a guy’s initiative and dedication, and his method albeit unusual. There is also a nagging corner which wonders if this is a safe bet?

I thought of multiple SMS and WAP based programs that can be developed to help people like Hanif in mLearning starting with basic reading and writing assistance. But on the other hand, are we ready to accept people from that specific social culture on the same platforms as ourselves?

It troubles me to think that the dedicated crank callers and dirty talkers thriving on literally free call packages could soon be dedicated online stalkers with the peanut priced GPRS packages.

Go ahead, label this as social discrimination; but really would you accept them?

About Marium Arif

Corporate Junkie by day Dreamweaver by Nite Big dreams - Tiny Blog
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9 Responses to My servant is a Facebook user!

  1. Tya Khan says:

    This is a pretty motivating and an inspirational post if u ask me, even though we wont have good means of education for this class of people its amazing how this guy, neva went to skool and still learnt English through mobile and internet. I personally think it will be amazing is this people from this culture steps ahead and become better versed, Can help with their job opportunities and for their future kids, hence better for our country. Cant wait to meet Hanif:)

  2. Kurt says:

    Why would you not accept them? What I like most about this post is that this can be compared to pre-civil rights movement USA when white people were worried that if Black people had access to the same shopping stores or hair salons that they would be over run by rampant unwanted pleasantries. In modern context that would mean spammers or fraaandship seekers. It also shows how much further Pakistan has to go before accepting “servants” as human beings with equal rights as everyone else. As for the religious argument, it was something Muhammed (PBUH) fought for, and yet is still in practice today. The idea of “teaching your servant English” is so cliched and not nearly enough to close the divide between the social classes. Its a good start, but not enough.

    • Marium Arif says:

      Hi Kurt,
      Thanks for commenting on the post.
      Leaving the religious debate strictly out of this discussion, the question is not about what Islam or the Holy Prophet (PBUH) has told us of (I am in complete agreement to that), this is a truly socio-cultural difference.
      I dont know how much exposure you have of Pakistan but let me tell you this, where I will make sure our domestic help eats the same dinner as we do everyday, I would be a bit taken aback if he requested I gift him the same Iphone i gifted my brother and would definately fire him if I find him trying to associate with my younger sister.
      Lately (& unfortunately) a big dilemma faced by females in PK is not just eve-teasing outside on the streets, but downright sexual harrasment on the phone and internet…and THIS is what the question is here.

      Where the western world is still struggling over Racist and discrimanatory killings and may have the highest rates of rape and divorces women in the east still fear sexual harrassment. The only difference between you and us here is the openess of male/female relations

      Ps: despite this post, Hanif is still going to get formal education with us and hopefully a clerical job somewhere for his chances of a better future 🙂

    • F says:

      Further to Marium’s comment; Kurt, we won’t be teaching him English, he already knows a lot of it and what he lacks, I’m sure he’ll catch up with it during the classes. What we’d be doing comes more into the ambit of home schooling him.
      If he sticks with us for that long, I would personally ensure that he gets either a diploma or a degree.
      Do you remember your first few years at school? What did the teachers primarily teach you? English, that’s what it was all about. It was simple: if you know English, you’d have access to better text books.
      Right now, we’re trying to see if he has the aptitude to learn English. Rest assure that if he doesn’t, he will be taught in his mother tongue.
      So Kurt, just to re-iterate my point in a few words, this isn’t just a cliche’ idea of teaching your house hold help English. It’s more than that.

  3. umer hafeez says:

    Really , we have to think on this and should develop something more productive that millions of mobile phones can be utilize in disseminating education.

  4. F says:

    Everyone’s innocent unless proven guilty.
    Personally, I would accept anyone who does not use the opportunity for the wrong reasons. Using cellphones for purely educational purposes would be one hell of an idea.
    Good going =)

  5. Marium you are right, to some extent a lot of people may find it difficult to accept them, however I would rather be an optimist. In my opinion evolution takes time and therefore probably some of them will continue to do things that are unethical and unacceptable to us, however with proper education we can change their paradigms.
    If we want to grow as a nation, we need to continue doing our part of the job with optimism; and one day we will also have a society free from discrimination & harassment 🙂

  6. Tya Khan says:

    I just want to let you know that you’ve been nominated for the versatile-blogger-award. Check out the rules and all on my blog.

Bolo Bolo

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