Hypocrisy Of Great Indian Middle Class

Kajal Chatterjee

Indian middle class citizens often dare to project themselves as “intellectual” and “opinion-maker” by advertising themselves as “flag-bearer” of “morality” with “impeccable sense of social responsibility”. It is indeed a fact that protest or movement against social issues are mostly carried out by the middle class.

But they comprise a mere tiny fraction of their entire brethren! Actually less said about the overwhelming majority of the middle class population the better. Following the overnight “bravest decision in independent India”, hundreds of innocents (mostly of non-privileged vintage) had to face tragic death following stampedes in inhuman queues in front of banks or after getting refused treatment in hospitals for lack of “legal cash”.

Farmers, failing to sell their produce and suffering unfathomable monetary loss, started committing suicide. Millions of wage earners lost their livelihood.

But far from expressing minimum sympathy for these innocent vulnerable folks falling victim to the heartless farce named demonetisation; privileged Indians of middle class, already armed with credit/debit cards with cashless facilities, had either preferred to remain indifferent to the woes of the poor or heartlessly claimed that such “small small sacrifices” are supposed to be made for the “sake of the nation”.

Again following the overnight decision of instant nation-wide lockdown, when millions of poorest of poor wage earners and migrants were witnessing burning hell and walking hundreds and thousands of kilometres in hungry stomachs, many of whom were collapsing to death upon highways and railway tracks; the middle class(that privileged lucky section who managed to spend months with their families in safe comforts of home with their salaries getting paid) were found to be posting their activities at home in social media (ranging from exercising to churning delicacies, playing Ludo to watching Ramayana) and counting number of “Likes” with constant lament of missing shopping malls, restaurants, multiplexes and “day-out”.

People dying like cats and dogs due to lack of oxygen, mass pyres getting lighted with corpses floating in river waters – — yet the general public discourse couldn’t promote itself above mere Dalgona coffee and sheer communalism targeting a specific religious community as “super-spreaders”. During the trial and judgment of the sensational Nirbhaya gangrape cum murder case, we were regularly hearing how the “collective conscience of the nation” has got “hurt”.

The same words are heard when any Mumbai journalist, Bangalore techie or Hyderabad doctor gets gangraped/murdered by urchins/lorry drivers:bus conductors and helpers. But a woman getting raped/gangraped and thereafter murder or the victim succumbing to injuries form daily piece of news in this “Devi – worshipping” country. But why don’t we witness any “national tsunami of shock” in those cases ! Do the “collective conscience” of this partial and biased classconscious society get “awakened” overnight in specific cases only.

Do their “conscience” prefer to enjoy a sound sleep when “lesser folks” of poor/rural vintage get regularly gang raped and/or murdered, but instantly wake up when victims of the same crime hail from urban privileged stock with the culprits being of “low class”. Privileged middle-class individuals hold full right to take a leisure trip to Kashmir Valley, enjoying to their full upon the waters of the Dal or snow fields of Gulmarg. But how can they dare to declare “Kashmir is Smiling/Normal” just on the basis of their fun-making.

Do they try to enter the soul of a common Kashmiri to get enlightened of their dayto- day experience since the “historic” 2019 saga. Does the middle class society in general care to feel the Himalayan pain which the victims of riots or pogrom have to undergo! Do they care for the sufferings and shattered hearts of the hapless families of those victims or rape-survivors who get caught up in that mayhem. Instead often we have to hear statements like “To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” as if to justify such atrocities (as in 2002 Gujarat pogrom).

What a torture unleashed upon the Rohingyas in Myanmar just because of their Islamic credentials! What a miserable escape to Bangladesh by negotiating waters and hills. What a pathetic existence in the cramped refugee camps. Yet any proposal of their rehabilitation or temporary refuge in India gets thwarted with cruel words — “India is not a Dharmshala”.

Perhaps these “nationalist” utter selfish folks are unaware that they could also have found themselves as persecuted Rohingyas in Myanmar or stranded refugees in Bangladesh as birth is nothing but a mere accident of destiny. Recently, innumerable “patriotic” middle class Indians had displayed much “pride” as Indians on witnessing the spectacle of Moon-mission. Do those very same “proud” people feel an iota of shame, disgrace and disgust as Indians on reading news reports of unfathomable barbaric horrendous atrocities upon Kuki women in Manipur reminding all of the lawless dark days of centuries ago.

Or in the definition of the “patriotic” Indians, all norms of “modernity” and “progress” lie embedded in technological advancement only. And perhaps this is the reason why Manipur simply does not create any ripple within their minds. Kindness and compassion are surely in great rush to recede to some sort of “antiquity” in these times of national jingoism, religious muscle flexing and crude selfish existence – – – all typical traits of middle class.

If feelings of compassion towards poor souls, broken hearts, tortured bodies do not make its presence felt, the middle class should at least refrain itself from acting as the “Conscience” of the society. (The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the newspaper.)


Central Chronicle is daily English Newspaper of Chhattisgarh. Central Chronicle has own website www.centralchronicle.in it is first news website in Chhattisgarh.

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