By Arun Srivastava
Indian middle class has suddenly come to realise that the opposition parties have their role to play and must raise their voice against the failures of the government. They also feel they have let them down by not raising the issue of abnormal rise in the prices of petrol and diesel. They accuse the opposition parties and their leaders of ignoring the interest of the people and also abdicating their responsibilities.
The middle class may be politically correct in their accusation but the fact is, it is this section of the voters which has rendered the opposition parties ineffective in the contemporary political scenario. Their latest concern also provides an insight about their lack of political conscience and concern for the democracy and its functioning.
There is no denying the fact that the Indian “middle class” is the most selfish and self-centred section of the society. This class is generally viewed as the vanguard for the economic development and growth of the country, but it is irony that in their pursuit of selfish political gains they have ignored the issues of greater national interest. An analysis of their class character would reveal that they are not more than creepers. They thrive on the support of rich and bourgeoise, the corporates.
They cannot think anything beyond their self-interest. Obviously their accusing the opposition and holding them responsible for not protesting against the abnormal rise in the petroleum and diesel prices have not come as surprises. They always expect somebody should speak for them as they do not intend to antagonise the powers that be. They always prefer to be on the right side of the political boss.
It is an open secret that they have been the ultimate beneficiaries of the schemes and economic programmes launched by Dr Manmohan Singh led UPA government. They turned against UPA government the moment they came to perceive that his government was undertaking some economic programmes for ameliorating poor’s economic condition.
The BJP leader L K Advani who was waiting in the wings to become the prime minister grabbed the opportunity, exploited the anger of the middle class and maligned the image of Dr Singh by resorting to jibes and tirades against him. Issue of corruption at high places became a major concern. Anna Hazare at the instigation of the RSS and BJP took to indefinite hunger strike. An impression was created that secular forces have let down the country and the Congress government patronised the corrupt.
The entire exercise was to win over the middle class. The RSS-BJP succeeded in their mission. But unfortunately for Advani he lost the game to Narendra Modi who exploited his efforts which he had invested to become the prime minister.
It is a historical fact that the middle class prospered and grew beyond comprehension during the rule of Dr Singh. But the middle class did not dither in betraying him once he made known his intentions to create aRs 1.24 lakh crore food support package for the poor. The Congress was projecting its image of being a party opposed to corruption.
These people were also against the launching of the NREGA scheme. At that point of time, they had accused the Congress of showing too much concern for the poor. It was this perception of theirs about the UPA government that they became enemy of the Congress and started finding fault with Dr Singh’s functioning who was primarily responsible for elevating their economic condition and stature.
It is worth mentioning that the middle class often resort to duality. While in public domain it shows its aversion to corruption, but in reality it feels cozy and comfortable with the corrupt people and practices. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the babudom survives on the pyramid of corruption. It is an open secret that the middle class babus have been building the edifice of their economic empire on the base of the corruption. If they rallied behind Jay Prakash Narayan during famous Bihar movement, they projected Anna Hazare as the hero.
It is usually said that the middle class has played valuable role in the country’s economic development. But a closer look would make it explicit that they have served their class interest and used the benefits for their empowerment. The poor always remained at the periphery. They never became the partner of the development projects and programmes.
Three recent developments are suffice to prove this fact. Baring a miniscule segment of the middle class, the entire class maintained an indifferent attitude towards the labourers during the corona pandemic. The middle class did not come out even to console them.
The second was their apathy towards the Shaheen Bagh movement. The middle class czars did not oppose CAA and other citizenship laws. The third is the classic case of farmers’ agitation for scrapping of the three black farm laws and legalising the MSP. The averseness of the middle class towards this movement has been perceptible. Often questions are asked why the middle class is averse to the farmers’ movement. The most shocking has been the active connivance of the middle class in the insinuation campaign against the farmers.
The primary reason for their not supporting the farmers is, they perceive this movement as a design of the opposition to remove Modi from power and abort the move of the RSS-BJP to transform India into a Hindu Rashtra. It is irony that many of them have turned Hindu fanatics to such an extent where rationale and argument have lost relevance and value. There is no denying the fact that a majority of urban middle class has lost their social perspective and feeling of inclusiveness. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the saffron brigade are depending on this support base to retain power at the centre. (IPA Service)