The Great Indian Middle Class
Yesterday I opened up my cupboard and saw an unfinished copy of ‘India Unbound’ by Gurucharan Das. I had bought it around a year back but could not complete it as a result of complacency and lots of fiction that came my way.
Coming back to the topic, there was a chapter in the book that was dedicated to the rise and the rise of the Indian middle class. I simply loved it. Gurucharan Das has made a comparative study of the middle class that emerged post independence and the one that rose after the economic reforms. The striking feature that separates the two is the way they look at things and get them done. He mentions that whenever we talk of the middle class in India we assume that at least one of the family heads is educated well enough to feed a family of four or five and the children are expected to go to convent/public schools and should be aiming for an IIT-IIM/Medical education; this is slowly changing. The essay also states reasons for the the failure of the bureaucracy and ways to improve the “system”. The author says that the future of our nation rests on this middle class which will soon gain such power that can change the face of the country. There is an interesting prediction made by him which says, if one draws a line from the Kanpur to Chennai, by 2020, half of the population west of this line would be middle class and the same would happen to the eastern part by 2040.
I am, like a million others across the nation, a part of this middle class which has now reached generation three. We know what it was like when Papa brought home a Bajaj scooter or a colour TV. We know what it was like when we fought for every single percentage in our board exams. And today it’s us that the country is looking for to build the best highways, the best computers, the best companies and a new India.