Medha Khole and Nirmala Yadav
Medha Khole and Nirmala Yadav

In a sorry reflection of our obsession with caste and religion, a 60-year-old maid has been booked for cheating and hurting religious sentiments of a senior scientist after the latter claimed that she pretended to be a Brahmin to secure the job of a cook at her residence.

The incident came to light after Medha Khole, 50, who works with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) in Pune, lodged a complaint with the Sinhagad police station against her maid Nirmala Yadav. In her statement, Khole, a resident of Shivajinagar, said that last year, she had asked around for a married cook from the Brahmin community. The specific requirement, she argued, was in keeping with the family customs. The cook was expected to prepare meals for festivals and ritualistic ceremonies, including the death anniversary of Khole’s parents.

Soon after, Yadav got in touch with Khole. According to Khole, not only did she introduce herself as Nirmala Kulkarni, the cook also falsely claimed to belong to the Brahmin community, the highest among the Hindu castes. Khole claimed that she also visited her house to verify her claims.

After making inquiries, Khole hired the maid. However, earlier this week, a Brahmin priest, who had come home for a ritual, happened to see through Yadav’s lie. On confronting Yadav, the cat finally came out of the bag, and Khole, who was mortified with the idea of having a non-Brahmin in her kitchen, decided to approach the police.

The Sinhagad police station immediately registered a case against Yadav under relevant sections of the IPC. However, Yadav alleged that Khole had cooked up the entire story, to avoid paying R7,700 that was due to her. "Madam approached me for the job through someone else’s reference, and not once, did she ask me about my caste," said Yadav.

"I was desperately in need of money and hence, decided to take it up. I did my work with full devotion, but she would never pay me on time. Instead, she would beat me up and also abuse me," Yadav added. "She also ridiculed me for not being a Brahmin."
Yadav claims when matters went out of hand, she decided to approach the police. However, when Khole learnt of this, she lodged a complaint against her instead. "My husband has deserted me, and I don’t have the resources to fight the case against me," she said.

Inspector Vishnu Jagtap, of Sinhagad police, said, "We have filed an FIR against Yadav." Jagtap added that the cops have also registered a non-cognisable case against Khole, following Yadav’s allegations.

Socio-political organisation Sambhaji Brigade has decided to protest the high-handedness of the police. Santosh Shinde, president of the Pune division, said, "The police have only registered an NC against Khole. This shows that the law is not equal to all. We plan to agitate against this."