Molkarin (Maid Servant) / 1981 : a picture of Solidarity

The film explores themes of inequality, exploitation, and the power dynamics between employers and domestic workers.

“I don’t know who to be mad at: my boss (who underpays me and is rude as hell) or my husband (who drinks away all our money and doesn’t help at home)”

In the aftermath of the Emergency, the women’s movement had emerged in full swing in the country, with young women taking to the streets to protest and organize around issues of labor, caste, economy, domestic violence, rape, and more. In this revolutionary environment, Yugantar set out to make a series of films on the theme of “women and work” in collaboration with grassroots women’s groups.

Molkarin (Maid Servant), 1981 exposes the oppressive working conditions of hundreds of maidservants in Pune, India and chronicles the efforts of domestic workers to form a union.  

Beginning with a strike that spread across several cities, followed by regular meetings which gave rise to a manifesto meant to regulate the workers’ terms of service and perks.

(click on an image to read)

This portrait of female solidarity in action exposes the oppressive working conditions of hundreds of maidservants in Pune, India, and reveals how the women came together to form an organization to fight for their rights.

Yugantar: India’s first Feminist film collective

Yugantar was founded by Deepa Dhanraj, Abha Bhaiya, Navroze Contractor, and Meera Rao in 1980. Between 1980 and 1983, during a time of radical political transformation in India, Yugantar created four pioneering films together with existing or ensuing women’s groups. Their films gave representation to disenfranchised working women, traditionally deprived of rights or social privilege and are critically important to initiate conversations about the conditions of women’s lives, labour relations and trade-union activism. 

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