Posted by: Vikram | February 6, 2009

Thoughts on India’s middle class

Professor Chakravarthi, in the article of the previous post estimates the total number of middle class Indians to be close to 200 million. I have a slightly different way of looking at the middle class, which is more social and cultural than simply economic. I look at the middle-class as sort of a semi-exclusive club, where the key requirement for entry is knowledge of English. As per the Census of 1991, about 11 % of India’s population knew English, extrapolating this percentage based on certain plausible assumptions1, I would estimate that number to be about 16-18 % today. Another way of looking at things is observing the % age of population that receives a tertiary education, given that the number is roughly around 11-12 % today, it would also a give a number in the same ball park. All in all, we can definitely say that knowledge of English, tertiary education and consumption potential must correlate strongly in India today. The number in any case should lie in between 150-200 million.

Understanding middle India’s relationship with English is crucial. Knowledge of English, together with mass media and the internet puts middle India in a very interesting position. It is in some sense, ‘pre-western’. The combination of comfort with English, combined with the relatively liberal political and media environment of India, is resulting in a huge American influence on this middle class. Also contributing are the increasingly strong people to people links between America and India2. The middle class is thus developing aspirations that are in line with this psuedo-western mindset. It seems that for now these aspirations are mostly consumerish and professional, not political.

But why not ? So much is wrong with India’s politics. What explains this most unforgivable disengagement ? Many different reasons have been proposed, but I think it really starts in school. Although the syllabus is now much better, when I was in school I mostly learnt about the Freedom Struggle, Shivaji and the Maratha Empire. I learnt a lot about what the results of the Freedom Struggle should have been and how a democratic India should be run. But I learnt absolutely nothing about what happened in the 50 odd years of a supposedly ‘free’ India. My textbooks were silent on the Emergency, the Babri Masjid demolition, problems in Punjab, Kashmir and the North East. They were silent on the day to day corruption. They did a very bad job of making me an Indian citizen. Add to this, the traditional nepotistic and self-serving attitudes of most Indians meant that we choose ambitions/aspirations with little regard to what effect our life will have on the broader society we are part of.

So in India today, we have a generation of young men and women who ‘dream’ of Harvard, neuro-surgery, nano-technology and New York, but there are few signs of environmental lawyers, quality journalists and film-makers, professors with India-specific research interests and politicians from the middle class. The entire nation seems in decay, institutions that are the fundamentals of the nation are collapsing, because the young blood that would have nourished them is now either in America doing a PhD in Computer Science or working in a tech company in Bangalore. For now it seems, middle India has abandoned the Republic.

But the middle class has its own fears, of course. Entry to this club is tough, and membership is not permanent. Life although easier than that of an Orissa tribal or a Bihari farmer is no cakewalk for most of middle India. But, the middle class has to realize one thing, that migration is an okay goal for an individual3, but not for an entire society. Until this fundamental realization occurs and middle India learns that it has a huge stake in the well being of the rest of India around it, India will be on a path that leads nowhere. It has to learn that the Dayamani Barlas command as much respect and recognition as the Abhinav Bindras. It has to organize and ensure that government schemes like the NREGA are implemented as faithfully as possible instead of drowning them in their cynicism. The middle class has to assert itself politically, it can start of by simply rejecting all criminal politicians, regardless of party affiliation. Most of all, it has to stop waiting for a political messiah. No one person galvanize a Kashmiri, a Mizo and a Malayali, that is not what this Union is about.

1: The literacy rate in 1991 was about 50 %, and was around 65 % in 2001. So we can conjecture that it will be around 80 % in 2011 census (probably more due to SSA). And assuming that the same ratio of literates speak English as in 1991 we get a number close to 17 %.

2: This blog being one example. One can find numerous other blogs of Indian grad students and young professionals in the US.

3: Some groups have to migrate, either due to security reasons or because some professions can only be pursued abroad.

I apologize for the bad grammar and HTML in this post earlier, I think I have rectified most of it now. 🙂


  1. It is ironic that this post was auto-linked to Professor Dipankar Gupta’s article on The South Asian Idea where he takes a different perspective on the middle class in India.

    The South Asian Idea covers more or less the same themes as this blog except that it takes a regional perspective. I think we should be able to benefit mutually from the synergies.

    Personally, I feel that class analysis (both sociological and economic) needs adaptation in the Indian case where democratic governance has preceded both a social revolution and economic development. This will lead to a number of counter-intuitive surprises.

    Welcome Anjum, yes we should work together. On your last point, I have a slight disagreement. I think a social revolution was definitely part of the Independence Movement, especially when it came to women. I think it was just not carried far enough, also the social problems in India were deep and a single revolution might have not worked anyway.

    Democracy in India is not simply a way of governance, but it is a tool in social transformation itself. Democracy has changed India and Indians have also modified democracy.

    Actually, if seen very broadly, the disengagement of India’s middle class is not odd in the global context. Most developing countries seem to have this problem.

  2. “middle class has abandoned the republic” – do you really think so ?

    The republic was only bothered about the rich class ( gave licenses who had money and conections and the number of licensese were limited per industry ) and the poor ( five year plans).

    in reality a socialistic states (republic ) creates a “middle class ” and then cordones it.

    I dont think the middle class existed in large numbers till the mid 90s. Even now it is only 20 % of the population. I dont think the republic only bothers about the poor and rich. That was what Chakravarthi was trying to say, why else would the government build IITs/IIMs, give sops to IT companies etc. ?

  3. While the blog makes valid points about the mindset of the middle class in the country it does not go deep enough. For example, you talk about how the syllabus gives us no knowledge about post-independence politics. Now, who decides what the school curriculum covers? For CBSE students, it is the NCERT/CIET. The textbooks are usually written by panel of experts who are prominent figures in their fields but have little or no school teaching experience. Who appoints these experts? The government. Since the Congress party has been in power for most of our post-independence history, it is not surprising that our history textbooks are silent on the issue of emergency or the sikh riots.

    Why are middle class parents not bothered about what gets taught to their kids in schools? A lot of it has to do with the cultural supremacy that we grant to the teacher (who traditionally used to be the brahmin). Whatever the teacher teaches is for the good of the child.

    I think middle class parents see education mostly as a vocational training for their kids, not as a preparation for their kids to become part of a democratic republic. They emphasize their own religious/cultural practices and naive versions of nationalism than any sense of civic responsibility.

  4. Yes, I agree with you. But you are only elaborating one something that I call political apathy. But the real question is — why is the middle class politically apathatic? Why do they see education as vocational training? Why do they emphasize naive versions of nationalism over a sense of civic responsibility?

    I think part of it is just that the middle classes tend to be like that everywhere. The rich need the government to keep them rich, while the poor need the gov to get up to the middle class. Also, I mentioned the textbooks. We also have to account for the fact that the middle classes are kept well entertained and dont face enormous obstacles in day to day life. These are some reasons I can think of.

  5. You say that the govt. building more IITs and IIMs are indications that the republic bothers about the middle class.

    I would beg to differ. The IITs and IIMs, as I have seen them, are run to fulfill the needs of corporate India. Corporations need “elite” graduates on their rosters to impress their clients and increase the value of their goods and services. Thus, a false notion of elitism is created at these institutes thought an artificial shortage and elitist discourse. Corporations also need politically apathetic workforce in top management so that they can get away with immoral practices of making profit. By pushing talented individuals into the apathetic upper middle class strata, these institutes are fulfilling that demand too.

    So IITs and IIMs are fulfilling the needs only of corporate India and not that of the middle class or that of the masses.

    I’ve read other posts on the blog which support reservations in the IITs and IIMs. Not going into the debate about the reservation policy, let me just point out that Dalits should not focus on illusory benefits such as IIT and IIM seats but on real, tangible grassroots benefits such as primary education, healthcare and social equality.

    I am not so sure, in addition to the IITs a large number of NITs and other universities are also being established. There is in fact opposition to the new IITs on exactly the grounds that somehow these institutions will be less ‘elite’. I totally agree with you on the fact that we overstate the achievements of the IITs, my own appreciation for them is based on the entrance procedure.

    Yes, and I do mention what you point out on my reservation posts, “If they were so worried about India’s future, they should have mentioned before anything, that reservations at such a high level of education without adequate investment in basic education will do little for the lower castes.”

  6. Yes, a large number of NITs and other institutes are being set up. But have you ever wondered why the govt. itself creates two different level of universities in India? Why not just create universities, treat them all the same and let them create their reputations based on their own work and achievements? Why extra money to IITs? Why different rules? Why a separate act in the parliament? Why different policies? NITs only fulfill another need of corporate India — a technically trained workforce that is politically apathetic, technically challenged and looks up to the corporate elite produced by the IITs and IIMs.

    Vinod, I have raised these issues earlier,

  7. IIT’s and IIMs were built to build the image of the new india – because nehru saw some russian institutions which were good in engineering etc etc.
    So it was exactly a brand building thing for the new india and NOT keeping the middle class in mind. middle the government does not care much about them.

    1) they do even form a vote bank – Period – one of the major reasons.

    and 2) the rich are the ones who brings the revenue to the state or the country.

    Bombay being the financial capital makes maharastra the richest state. But we know the largest population of the majority is the urban poor. And the government wants to keep them as much as in the country by giving them as much incentives as possible by blindly looking away at all the liberties they take with respecting to breaking, laws, norms, bribery,”goonda gardi” etc etc.

    (i wish i can quote reports :)- but on googling you will find them +/- 10 % error on whose report it is.

    IIT’s and IIM’s – who ever gets in as per entrance exam gets in – i don’t think it is a matter of class, but for reservations of caste and DASA system (1996) that was created to bring foreign money into the institute – permitting select students to enter the institute without writing JEE. (they abolished that 5 years ago i think ) They had a different fee structure which middle class would struggle to pay even 15 years ago.( when the concept of bank loans did not exist)

    let’s keep the issues different.

    it is good that you wrote about the middle class because rarely do people write about it. Now there is another class which do not like to associate with the middle class – they are the one who think they are rich, but still cannot qualify to the rich ( the super rich and exclusively super rich is different ) – they are the upper middle class – well that would be an interesting thing to write too.

    i think you and i have assumed definitions of a middle class, how would you define or describe them ( difificult isn’t it ?)

  8. corrected version : from above

    1) they do NOT even form a vote bank.

    therea r too many mistakes. if you cannot make any sense of what i have written i will write again !

  9. Vikram, you seem to have given a lot of thought to this subject.

    About history being taught in schools- it is almost impossible for history to be taught without bias. Even the history of India before Independence hightlights the role of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru and plays down the contribution of the revolutionaries.

    Just imagine how biased contemporary history would be if taught in schools.

  10. a well thought out post!

    that would be the day when middle class begins to matter ….

    or the day it makes itself matter.

    but how do we define middle class that all of us can agree on. is there any.

    The very first paragraph tries to answer this question.

  11. A transition in which the ‘Ancien Regime’ survives virtually intact into the next era cannot be called a social revolution. Think of the parallels of the French, Russian and Chinese revolutions to see the difference.

    It is for this reason that democracy in India has to go beyond good governance and do the transformational work that was achieved in other places via social revolutions that preceded democratic governance.

    We have explored this in the series of posts on Democracy in India. You can start with
    Democracy in India – 7 and then work back.

  12. Well thought post!

    As you must have heard “History is written by the victors”.

    I have studied a History in which Mughal empire was shown in a positive manner and also maligned Shivaji equating him to a terrorist. Only Ghazni and Louri and Ahemad Shah were in looters category. Mostly it was mild and who had written History then? Congress.

    Under BJP’s rule the History was getting Saffronized. What was the need? Create more hatred towards minorities.

    Political party influences History. Communist Kerala had a totally different History to study. Same with each state.

    Even now we are silent when it comes to Kashmiri Pundits whereas most sympathize with terrorists family getting harassed. This is the hypocrisy which irks me.

    India is diverse and so are we. All of us including me dream of a Utopian world which is not practical simpley because all of us have been fed on a different aspect of India. It does influence how we see things.

    Over the period the definition of middle class have changed too.

    True, history education in India is quite politicized, but the new NCERT texts are a step in the right direction I think.

  13. *Typed fast with some typos 😀

  14. “A transition in which the ‘Ancien Regime’ survives virtually intact into the next era cannot be called a social revolution.”

    Anjum, what makes you think that the ancient regime has survived in India ? I would argue that it has not, old social hierarchies have not been smashed but are being gradually eroded. And this erosion is being brought about by marginalized groups using their political power.

    In a democratic society, a social revolution usually acquires a political face, examples in India are the DMK and AIADMK in Tamil Nadu (stemming from Periyars self-respect movement) and now the BSP is Uttar Pradesh, which basically has an Ambedkarian nationalist ideology.

    Indian democracy is transforming Indian society, yes maybe there are quicker ways of achieving a social revolution, but that does not mean they would have automatically succeeded. I have discussed this before here,

  15. I think the study of social sciences and even subjects like Geography and Economics are a mess in India. Most people have very limited knowledge of their own surroundings. Also in school here no one learns how to take care of one’s own self. Nothing is taught about nutrition or hygiene or anything that has got to do with self-dependence. Most syllabus are out dated and poor on these subjects and like you said nothing of the modern India is included.

    So everyone in the middle class now wants to be a doctor or an engineer or something like that. Acquire 3 or 4 cars and be a pompous ass 🙂

    Absolutely, and this ‘un-education’ is only accentuated by the attitude of families towards their children, especially males. This country might actually end up paying a heavy price for the all ‘engineers’ it is training.

  16. I learnt a lot about what the results of the Freedom Struggle should have been and how a democratic India should be run.

    I wonder if you learnt that whole constitution of India was simply copy=pasted from british constitution and had virtually nothing new it.
    Whatever was new with the making of India was one Idea by Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi, and that idea was decentralization, to provide a process of letting Indian individuals be free from the mob rule india was forced into.
    You may look at it on wikipedia.
    His idea was, with improved sense of democracy, Indians will realize importance of freedom and civilization “The process of providing freedom of man from men” and for that, gradually the centralized government should be decentralized, providing each village, each sector of every constituency full freedom to manage itself and rule, and then a process of providing sovereign citizenship for every Indian, independent of state or government. His idea was libertarian. it got debauched in last 61 years and lost. thanks to the lust of rulling over Mob, and the lust of the Mob to rule over Individual, the smallest Minority of India or any other nation.

    Yes, I know that 2/3 rds of the Consti is straight from the Government of India Act of 1935. But that act itself was a result of the Freedom Struggle. And the 1/3 rd part that is new extremely important.

  17. @Vinod : I think the middle class is becoming more politically active than the previous generations. How else would you explain the large turnouts at the post-26/11 protests, which are dominated from people from the “middle-class”. Protests against the Sri Ram Sene’s evil-doings in Mangalore ( Their facebook groups has more than 4000 members. Protests against NDTV’s coverage of the 26/11 attacks (, which is now a PIL at the Bombay High court. As yet another example, the blogosphere is filled with outcries against NDTVs legal pressure to muffle Chaitanya Kunte’s blog. All this couldnot have happened if the “middle-class” was politically apathetic.

    These are just some examples. If we did deeper, I am sure we will find more. The previous generations did not have the means of protest and participation line we do (mass media, Internet). All this has lead to a more politically active middle class. More so if we consider Vikram’s definition (knowledge of English).

    Manu, these instances, though welcome are more reactive than proactive. Also the middle class only seems to react when its own very narrow interests are challenged (contrast the huge ‘anti-reservation’ rallies to virtually no protests for farmer suicides and other issues). You are right the internet and blogs are becoming channels of greater engagement, but the middle class could do a lot more to help Indian democracy. To start off, it could vote in large numbers.

  18. Vikram, I agree. But, I think politics inherently is reactive – the cognizance of prevailing conditions and how to change them for the better. Conditions might be social or economic.

    My only point is that even if its happening slowly, the middle class are becoming more and more concerned of the socio-political issues. And more and more people are trying to do their little bit. Just as an example, recently when Rahul Gandhi called for more youth participation in the upcoming LS elections by asking potential candidates to submit their CVs for consideration(for a Congress ticket), I am told the response was pretty good. More here […/418525/]

  19. The author says
    Although the syllabus is now much better,

    I wonder how can any sane person accept that idea.
    Syllabus was never any good and it is worst at present, most unworthy and useless, moreover, most indoctrinating and destroying.
    And not only me, but the Director of NCERT himself accepts that and is worried and exasperated about this fact.

    See what Professor Krishna Kumar the Director of NCERT says about current course and system of education in TOI, he says education in India is Zero Sum game

    In fact the idea of Governmental control over education is making India extremely weak and vulnerable and ill in all accounts. As for example, Indian health care system and its requirement can be improved pretty much and even the poorest can get healthy and beneficial and cheap private healthcare system if government stop controlling and interfering education and schools and college. Here I mentioned this reality
    Indian Health care requirements
    I have added some facts of AICTE and Indian Medical Association (which are underlined in article) it is necessary to limit the government and remove any governmental interference from any economic process, atleast from education system which is main economic sector.
    And yes, I have answered your comment on referendum over the question whether one can drink alcohol or sell it or not.
    Such idiotic measures of censorship and bans only kills people through unchecked poisonous beverages. No government how-so-ever totalitarian and tyranical can stop a free man from choosing what he should do what he should eat or drink. Gandhi himself broke Salt law imposed by government, indian current government is also similar to the then british government. Indians are not free Swaraj mera Janmsiddh adhikar hai, Why should I let majority goons to rule over me?

  20. @ Gargi, did you click the link I had embedded in that line ? If you read that article, you will understand what I meant when I said that the syllabus was better.

  21. Yes i checked it and that is why I am more worried, because it is further dangerous.

    What the hell you are talking about? Government should be allowed to indoctrinate students about what is right politics and what is wrong?

    You are simply our of sense Vikram, you are supporting totalitarianism.

    Even Nazis had same policies of TEACHING germans what is correct policy and what is not.

    Government should HAVE NO ROLE IN EDUCATION SYSTEM> the more interference, the more wrong syllabus is.

    its not about should politics be taught or not, its about why should government decide what students should read and think and indoctrinated?

    Students should be free and creative, Students should get a free system. India need many more Maria Montessori just like Maria Montessori stood against Hitler stopping the Indoctrination, Indians need to stand against government interference in education system.

    Otherwise its not far that India will get in grips of something similar like Nazism or talibanism

    I dont see what in the link suggests that the government is teaching the kids about what right politics is, it is bringing politics into the classroom, i.e. children are learning about the India of today, not some glorified, redundant past. By encouraging debate, the texts will encourage creativity, not suppress it.

    Whether or not the government should be involved in education at all is a different debate, which is not relevant to this point. The government is involved right now and it will be involved in the near future, and its involvement should be as constructive as possible.

  22. One will start feeling shivers even at the idea of someone like Murli Manohar Joshi getting Education minister post and deciding what sort of politics should be taught in schools.

    Its ridiculous idea to let majority supported leaders to choose what whole new generation of a country should learn.

    There is no way any sane and healthy mind can support government control over education system.

    I agree, this can be messed up, but in the current scenario it is a risk that has to be taken. India’s youth is woefully disengaged from politics, and a lot of that has to do with what they are taught. And politicians cant change syllabus as per their whims and fancies, it can be challenged in court. So the system is not as majoritarian as you make it out to be.

  23. I dont see what in the link suggests that the government is teaching the kids about what right politics is, it is bringing politics into the classroom, i.e. children are learning about the India of today, not some glorified, redundant past. By encouraging debate, the texts will encourage creativity, not suppress it.

    It is government which decides syllabus, in second part, you are whinning about the same failed jurisdiction system which even cannot make Afzal’s punishment to be possible.

    Who are you fooling Vikram?

    Indian jurisdiction is as lame as anythig can be, furthermore, Indian jurisdiction is bound to follow a most irrational and self-contradicting book known as Indian Constitution which was copy-pasted from some other books of which British constitution is major.
    Do you even know that IPC act which Indian court follows was actually designed by the british totalitarian government and it has not yet been fully standardized on the basis of reason?

    if education remains under Indian government, schooling is dangerous.

  24. About your comment that i am putting words in your mouth,

    I am not putting word in your mouth, I am just trying to express the real meaning of your words in CORRECT perspective. Anyways, I have saved that in a new discussion, please see it, you will get the inhibited fault. here it is

    About complaining in courts if government tries to influence the course, first of all you should get a inkling of number of cases already being registered in various indian courts, second thing is How much do you believe in efficiency of courts?
    Indian jurisdiction system is one of the most lazy system which seldom provides any possible result.

    issue of Babri Masjid Demolition is still under studies since last 200 years.
    How many cases have been solved yet?
    And some of them which have been solved and on which, sentences have been issued, government denies following those sentences from supreme court.
    About totalitarianism, its not like India have not faced that possibility, i guess you forgot Indira Gandhi and the tenure of emergency.

  25. Ok before you and others condemn me as a hot headed, girl with very less or no sense, let me make things clear. I will raise certain issues and you may try to respond

    1>You denied Director of NCERT’s views on current Indian education system, for you, a small news mentioning on NY Times about India is much more important, why are you so dependent on a US news interpretation about India? Democrats and Obama and comp. already are fooling Americans alot, please avoid adding up in that crime further 🙂

    2> You say, there is nothing like totalitarianism in India, lets see this, (I am just mentioning you can verify things by browsing on net it is open)

    Congress wanted to complete the tunnel work from India to Srilanka, BJP opposed it, suddenly Mrs Ambika Soni jumped in the tussle and announced there are no scientific proof of Sri Ram. I don’t care I am atheist, Yet since I am vedic schollar with alot of research works on Vedas and Vedanata, I know they are ample mentioning of King Ram and his empire, although nowhere it is mentioned he was any god or demigod, infact Vedas certainly doesn’t spprove of idol Worship and are almost unclear about theism. And most major part of Vedanta is atheistic like Nyaya, Samkhya, Mimaamsaa, Advaita Vedanta etc, Budhism and jainism evolves from those parts of Vedanta itself and hence they are both atheistic philosophical schools. Why Indian government doesn’t recognize secularism in proper terms then?
    Why it is taught that secularism means equal respect for all religion?
    No, secularism means No role of religion in politics and policy making, no reservation on name of religion and caste. Indian politicians and education system teaches fraud and false.

    But real ditch is not there, as Congress announced there is no scientific proof of Ram, some official governmental researches supported that claim, now it is ridiculous. There have been many blasphemous content submitted against ram in some university books too and many cases have been filed. but again, i am atheist I have nothing to do with it.
    In response to all these plays of congress with education system, BJP answered just differently.
    Even BJP rules in many states, so CM of Madhya Pradesh announced Ramayana as major text of Philosophy for M.A Phil. course. it was strongly politically motivated,.
    The thing is because of all these games, the resources are wasted nothing else, we pay for all these political games.
    No court can abort it, courts have no right to object on legislation. legislation is ultimate power.
    Also, courts are governmental, until there are no privatized courts, you cannot expect justice.

    3> All CBSE and NCERT books mentions about Capitalism and Industrial revolution in History books, and then they mentions Capitalism caused Child labor.
    its extremely blasphemous thing to be taught. Why?
    Along with Industrial revolution in Europe, there came another revolution and that was Medical revolution, some great persons discovered penicilin and antidotes for Malaria.
    Small pox and malaria were major mass killers before that, but with the advent of new medicines and vaccinations, suddenly the danger of malaria and small pox vanished.

    Situation came when the parents died of malaria and small pox, but since children were vaccinated, they remained alive. hence there was huge number of orphans.

    How could have they lived when Europe was suffering starvation?
    Industrial revolution saved their life.
    When all were poor and unable to feed their own children who could have fed those orphans? Capitalism fed them and save their lives, all got works and got food too.
    No book of history mentions this truth in India (and almost in all countries too) Why?
    is it fault of historians?
    No it is politically motivated step, a step to show the importance of scocialism irrespective of all its flaws and failure and injustice.
    If truth revealed, why will a person be not Independent and free? why will he support any government to rule and enslave him? Governments have to teach things which will maintain their existence.

    4> You say government education system is not totalitarian i say it is not only totalitarian it is biased too, and i say one more thing, even the so-called Indian media is also biased, it is biased because although private media has got a start, yet Government and Broadcast and telecast ministry controls everything. That is why PM dared to warn Indian media to curb their rights, it was henious totalitarian step by Indian government.
    yet, let us see the ways Indian media works.

    In January a pakistani woman was beaten by Mumbai Islamic NGO women workers.
    Why did not any Indian national media channel showcased and criticized that incidence?
    Why always NDTV and all other major channels keep trying to pull legs of right wing groups, or playing the Dalit card? When a Dalit gonda rapes a common girl without asking for her caste, why not any channels says that a Dalit Hooligan raped a girl? But whenever a Dalit women is raped by anyone, news channels showcase breaking news, a Dalit women is raped. Why so importance for Dalit word? Why not just say Woman is raped? if the woman is dalit, does it make it bigger crime? a woman from general caste has lesser rights?
    its politics, minority vote bank card politics, they need to play that card, it helps all those ruling sides.

    You will find NO section of life where politics is not rulling and dictating terms. And trust me, one way or other, now orin future, you will understand deteriorating effects of all these acts.

    India certainly was not this much divided on the name of religion and caste as it is divided now, and it is divided because of all these political cards and nothing else.

    People kills each other to just get more reservation for their caste, check out the fightings of Gurjar and Meenas.

  26. One more thing, being a girl Even I am entitled for reservation. I despise that.

  27. there are a number of controversial points on this post. however I would like restrict myself to one question.

    “But, the middle class has to realize one thing, that migration is an okay goal for an individual, but not for an entire society. Until this fundamental realization occurs and middle India learns that it has a huge stake in the well being of the rest of India around it, India will be on a path that leads nowhere.”

    how do you propose to make this work out? – society is made up of individuals and every individual has the right to the same set of aspirations as his peers.

    or do you propose that individuals like you get to migrate while the rest of the society back home shuns such aspirations ??

    overall the above statement seems to be a barefaced logical fallacy. either every individual has the right to aspire to migrate, or no Indian should have such aspirations…


  28. @morgankuze, thank you for your comment. I did want some debate on that point I raised. You might want to read this post of mine on a paper about migration in India.

    First of, I am not a migrant, I am a foreign student.There is a difference. And I am not talking about the ability or permission to migrate, but the desire to. If you read the post I mentioned, you will see that I endorse migration for the lower sections of the society, for whom migration brings both financial and social capital.

    Among the elites of India, there is definitely what I would call a natural migration, a migration necessitated by ones job or career goals. You just cant be a leading mathematician in India, just as you cant be one in Austria or Australia, the US is the only place where certain career goals can be fulfilled.

    But for others, there is a systematic brain-washing that takes place, where migration is made the over-arching goal in life. The simple act of migrating is made into a great achievement. This has the effect of draining talented individuals from fields where they could have a big impact in India (as journalists, lawyers) if they had naturally followed their instincts. Instead they are made to do other fields that enhance the probability of migration. This also results in the political energy of youths being lost.

  29. […] 3: Some groups have to migrate, either due to security reasons or because some professions can only be pursued abroad. I apologize for the bad grammar and HTML in this post earlier, I think I have rectified most of it now. […]

  30. […] Thoughts on India’s middle class February 200929 comments […]

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