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Lecturing the middle class

The middle class can do without the unsolicited advice that all seem to offer, says Jyoti Jadwani.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2007 13:28 IST

Too much is being written about the middle class these days. I am happy that they are being given so much space in newspapers. However, I have to point out how fatal this could be. Without taking names of any authors, I will just go for the gist of what they had to say. One is of the opinion that no matter how much you do for them, the middle class is always crying foul. Then he says it is the middle class, which has given the guns to the police who use them for unscrupulous encounters.

Yet another person has written that the middle class is the main driving force behind the country and that it should observe moral rectitude and keep its faith in itself. The cherry on the cake was an article that told me that Mr Amitabh Bachchan was going to create awareness in the middle class about global warming. It seems to me that all of a sudden there is a drive not just to acknowledge the middle class but also blame it and accredit it for everything. I would have felt flattered by all the attention if I didn't find it denigrating.

First, the middle class is not so unconscious that it needs to be awakened. They are not the ones who manipulate the tax system. They do not try to buy their way out of legal and criminal hassles. They use public transport for commuting unlike the rich who own and use so many vehicles and contribute towards fuel emission in a big way. They bathe with the meagre water supplied by the municipal corporation and do not own swimming pools. They suffer power cuts unlike the rich who have alternate power supply systems or the politicians who never see a power cut and whose bungalows can be seen shining brightly even when there is an outage in the entire city. Come rain or storm, heat or cold, one can see the working class commuting to and from work without taking a day off. Floods and bombs do not stop them. They can't.

How can such a group of people need to be made more aware? They are the ones who are the most conscientious and righteous. Why does everyone feel that they are like sheep that need to be shepherded? I would like to say that they are being treated like sheep that can be slaughtered or silenced as and when the need arises.

They are not apathetic towards events and know that the system is being screwed and by whom. The truth is they know that the police act at the behest of people who either control them or can pay for their services. The middle class has one constant refrain, "we want the police neither as friends nor as foes". Why should they need to tell other people how to do their jobs?

Much as I am touched by the endeavour of the rich, famous and powerful making us aware of things, I have to say this; "Please be careful. Don't heighten our awareness to a point where we forcibly attain salvation en masse. With our absence you will have no system that you can exploit and you will be left with the uneducated labour class to polish your shoes and clean your toilets, wash and iron your clothes. It is not advisable to tamper with the spinal cord; you might end up paralysing the system altogether."

Jyoti Jadwani can be reached at saijyoti@sancharnet.in.

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