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Women's Rights Activist
Professor of Sociology, Ashoka University
Secretary, Bangalore Apartments' Federation
Senior Fellow, Vidhi Karnataka

Date & Time

Friday Fri, 8 May 2020



Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bangalore, Karnataka 560071 India

There are an estimated 4 lakh domestic workers in Bengaluru. Many of them are underpaid and overworked.

The Covid-19 crisis has brought into the foreground many issues that would have remained in the background, when it comes to employers and domestic workers. Most households have realized how much domestic labor was taken for granted; how hard it is to keep homes clean, and how much the elite would themselves like to be paid for housework. When it comes to domestic workers, they have had a forced holiday, sometimes without pay, despite government directives. Even post the lockdown many residential complexes are hesitant to take back the full workforce. The future for domestic workers looks both bright – because the value of their work has become more visible, and bleak – because employers may still prioritize safety over cleanliness.

This programme aims to uncover both the problems and the possibilities in the relationship between employer and worker. We will attempt to flip the lens so that we can see the employers’ households from the eyes of the domestic worker; we will explore whether their rights are well understood and where the law stands. We will also try to understand the limitations faced by employers, who have to worry about their own economic security.

We will then ask whether the relationship between the worker who enters the most intimate spaces of elite households and the employer who often toggles between familiarity and aloofness needs to be re-framed, and how.


Geeta Menon

Women's Rights Activist

Geeta Menon is a women’s rights activist. For over more than three decades she has been involved with women and women workers especially, in the informal economy, in the building of women’s own voice and leadership. She as representative of Stree Jagruti Samiti and the Domestic Workers Rights Union, been at the forefront of issues from community issues, domestic violence, sexual harassment ,as well as issues of domestic workers especially that of forced labour.

Amita Baviskar

Professor of Sociology, Ashoka University

Dr. Amita Baviskar is currently a Professor of Sociology at Ashoka University, Sonepat, and the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, Dr. Baviskar has explored the politics of environment, development, and popular resistance in both urban and rural spaces for over two decades now. For her contributions to Sociology, Dr. Baviskar received the 2004 M.N. Srinivas Memorial Prize and the 2010 Infosys Prize for Social Sciences amongst many other accolades.

Vikram Rai

Secretary, Bangalore Apartments' Federation

Vikram is the General Secretary and a Member of the Governing Council of Bangalore Apartments’ Federation (BAF), which is the single largest apartment resident community in India. With more than 700 member associations, BAF represents the interests of more than 130,000 apartment households across the city of Bengaluru.


In his role as the General Secretary and Member of the Governing Council, Vikram contributes strongly to the development and execution of the strategic vision of BAF. He lends leadership to a team of more than 100 apartment cluster-leaders who are building community competence in critical areas of civic impact like solid-waste-management, waster-conservation, renewable-energy adoption, safety-security, compliance etc.  He also leads interactions with civic agencies and regulatory bodies, experts and institutions, vendors and solution providers towards effective eco-system engagement on behalf of apartment residents.


Vikram holds a B.E(Hons) in Computer Science from Birla Institute of Technology and Science(BITS), Pilani and is the co-founder of a healthcare venture called Vitor Health and has previously co-founded a boutique consulting firm called Sattva

Alok Prasanna

Senior Fellow, Vidhi Karnataka

Alok Prasanna Kumar is Senior Resident Fellow and Team Lead, Vidhi Karnataka. His areas of research include Judicial Reforms, Constitutional law, Urban Development, and Law and Technology. He graduated with a B.A. LL.B. (Hons) from the NALSAR University in 2008 and obtained the BCL from the University of Oxford in 2009. He writes a monthly column for the Economic and Political Weekly and has published in the Indian Journal of Constitutional Law and National Law School of India Review apart from media outlets such as The Hindu, Indian Express, Scroll, Quint and Caravan. He has practiced in the Supreme Court and Delhi High Court from the chambers of Mr Mohan Parasaran, and currently also co-hosts the Ganatantra podcast on IVM Podcasts.

Rohini Nilekani


Rohini Nilekani is Founder-Chairperson, Arghyam, a foundation she endowed to fund initiatives for sustainable water and sanitation across India. From 2004 to 2014, she was Founder-Chairperson of Pratham Books, a non-profit children’s publisher. She is Co-founder-Director of EkStep, a non-profit education platform.

A former journalist writing for leading publications, she is also the author of “Stillborn” and “Uncommon Ground”, both published by Penguin Books India. In 2017, she was inducted as Foreign Honorary Member of the AmericanAcademy of Arts and Sciences.

As signatories of the Giving Pledge, Rohini and Nandan Nilekani have committed half their wealth to philanthropy.