Teaching Story - A hotel for a change
by Life Positive
However, the times are changing and a hotel in Mysore has already fanned the winds of change. The Green Hotel in Mysore, or the converted Chittaranjan Palace, has 11 Dalit women who were at the bottom of the social ladder working in their Malgudi Coffee Shop. “We wanted to break the untouchability barrier and make a political statement of sorts. These girls have been trained by some of the most fabulous people from the hotel,” says Marci Marcel Thekaekara, one of the directors of the hotel. And surprisingly she did not face much opposition when she started this initiative.
Among the Dalit girls working in the hotel is 19-year-old Rekha who used to do housework and the odd tailoring job before joining this place. The training has boosted the confidence level of most girls. Initially, Meena, earlier working as a labourer in an agarbatti unit, found it difficult to overcome her inhibitions in the new environment. But, today she has formed a bond with the staffers and doesn’t like to miss a single day of work. A common thread which unites the girls, is their desire to do something for the betterment of their community.
“I have seen my family members suffer because of untouchability. If they wanted to fetch water from a common well, they would be told, 'Don’t touch, you are a Dalit.' It’s not fair,” says Meena. “Everyone, whichever caste he or she is from, will finally go to one heaven.”
The initiative taken by The Green Hotel in Mysore imparts this crucial lesson about equality for all human beings. The trend is heartwarming indeed and brings with it hope for many others branded by the torch of untouchability, welcoming a new era for enlightened India.
(Source: article by Avantika Bhuyan for Open magazine, September 2009)
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