Real to Reel Chowkidar: How the People Who Guard Us Still Live on Rs 1,500 a Month
Chowkidars in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh used to get Rs 50 a month in 1986 which was later increased to Rs 100.
File Photo of Village chowkidars in Barabanki
Lucknow: With the political buzz around the word ‘Chowkidar,’ the real chowkidars have grown more distant from the term that actually represents them.
Slogans are afloat – from ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ to ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’, but are the real Chowkidars really bothered? Perhaps, not. All they strive for is better pay and some facilities amid all the politics going on in the country.
The real chowkidars have been rendering their services to the society for decades, but they came close to being recognized only when senior BJP leaders and PM Narendra Modi prefixed to their names ‘Chowkidar’ on Twitter.
The chowkidars who guard are homes and establishments are getting as low as Rs 1,500 a month for their services.
The 70 chowkidars posted in different villages of Barabanki can be identified from the red scarf (Angocha) on their cycles. They carry a stick (lathi) and whistle in their hands too. On one hand, they are unhappy with the slogan ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai,’ but on the other hand, they also think that using their title and prefixing ‘Chowkidar’ to nationally significant names will not help the community.
Harnam, a chowkidar at Fatehpur Kotwali in Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh, says “I can still remember we used to get Rs 50 a month in 1986 which was later increased to Rs 100. Today, after more than 30 years we are only getting Rs 1500 a month. How can one expect us to take care of our families in Rs 1500? All we need is an increase in our pay scale and some facilities.”
Another chowkidar, Dheeraj said that borrowing a term from their lives will not make life any good for their families.
“It is good to know that PM Narendra Modi has prefixed to his name Chowkidar, but it would have been better had he given some facilities to poor Chowkidars,” he said.
“Adding Chowkidar to their names will not make our lives better, instead we should be paid more to take care of our families. We have been demanding better pay and facilities for Chowkidars but nothing has worked. We are still in the same condition,” he added.
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