Today, on the 145th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the Kayako team in India team took to the streets…to sweep them.
Our senior content writer Yaju Arya reports from Jalandhar:
This is a big deal. While India is changing rapidly, old habits die hard.
Sweeping the streets is seen as a menial – even shameful – task reserved for the lowest social groups of Indian society, part of deep-seated prejudices that have been passed on for centuries.
They’re widely known around the world as “Untouchables” – although using this term in India has been made illegal.
Mahatma Gandhi initiated the process of removing “untouchability”, he called sweepers as ‘harijan’ i.e. children of god (hari = god, jan = child). He’d spend time with such people and cleanliness was a priority for him.
Despite his work and despite the fact that the term “untouchable” is illegal, little progress has been made.
It’s an understatement to say that people working in the service industry, such as security guards and waiters are treated differently. They are in fact, widely regarded as unequal and treated accordingly. In India, many software engineers would ask to change seats if they were to learn that the person sitting next to them mops floor for a living.
That’s why there was a special significance to our team cleaning the streets.
Shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave his speech this morning asking Indians to take responsibility to keep our cities clean, we went out to do our part.
This drive was genuine, and people took to the streets because they trust the vision of the Indian PM who incidentally is from a poor family, having sold tea on railway platforms as a kid.
Some of us at Kayako had never picked up a broom to clean our rooms. Here’s what some Kayako team members said of the experience:
“Now I realize how difficult it is for people who make our surroundings beautiful.”
“I volunteered on gut feeling, never knew the impact it would have. I have asked my bestie to assist her domestic help and to be more understanding”
“When onlookers actually started joining us I began to realize the real impact of what we were doing.”
At Kayako, we work everyday to help make customer service an important part of every company. Today we’re proud to recognize and celebrate that no service is too small if it makes our country a better place.