No government in India can ever satisfy the over swelling Indian Middle class. By some conservative estimates it is a whopping 500 million out of the 1400 million population of the country which is around 35% of our population. I am a part of this hallowed giant group and am fully aware of our psych.
‘Indian middle class ko khush karna mushkil he nahi hai,balki Namumkin hai’
In this huge oceanic mass of middle class, there are sub classes like upper middle class middle-middle class and lower-middle class and on the bottom and top fringes you have upper- upper Middle class and Lower-lower Middle class. Therefore, five loosely defined buckets exist in this bulging populace.
The bulk of this class is in a cozy comfort zone. Most so called middle class guys especially in big cities own a decent home and have at least one more property nicely tucked in somewhere as an investment. They have two or three Flat TV sets, of course with a fire stick, a nice music system, couple of lap tops, Wi Fi installation, a good broad band connection, one expensive smart phone for every member of the house, at least two Air Conditioners, a fan in the toilette is a must, its so hot yaar, a two door 500 liter fridge, microwave, gas connection(s), Mixer grinder, cutlery crockery, silverware, oven toasters and two cars and a two wheeler and most wardrobes so full of clothes that when you open them, clothes come tumbling out. These clothes can last you your life time! Great Furniture, fixtures are taken for granted. All of them have several bank accounts and lockers too. Their children study in the best schools and colleges and afford good tuition classes as well. Though now electricity supply is pretty good, most have an inverter or a small gen set to ensure Bijli 24*7. Many of them play Golf! In the West it is an expensive sport with no caddies. Don’t forget all of them have a help at hand- a maid, made in India. “They have a problem fetching their own glass of water- too delicate na.” Our middle class is the one who are hard bargainers too. They happily bargain with everyone and look for discounts from even bhaji wala, poor Matka or Gamla wala. On a traffic light would jump the signal and argue with the cop too, ‘kuch lei de ke khatam karo na’.
Savings and bank balance and gold ornaments are according to the personal choice (Shraddhha anusaar) but pretty decent. Most drink good whisky, beer and afford to order food from outside even during non Covid era. Go for movies and shopping in the malls and if allowed can eat out once a week. Nothing wrong in all this. They should be happy; at least I am happy for them!
This is the general life style or GENLIFT of Indian Middle class. And lo and behold they are the unhappiest ones! They are the ones who crib the maximum, criticize every system, never appreciate any government effort and forward hundreds of jokes on the sarkar and the government machinery using free whats app. These are the HAVES of India. And they are having India.
Government in the last six, seven years has made serious efforts to give some very basic amenities to the poor who are far below the middle class spectrum. Gas, bank account, electricity, Health cover, toilettes in rural areas and such like basic existential things which any human being requires.
This is a large number of people and for them it is a life changer! I am so happy to see our safai karamchari now asking for his monthly salary in a cheque and refuse cash payment. Now he has a bank account and comes with his pass book! You can see the look of pride in his eyes and on his face. Now he feels he is as good as any one of us. This is the biggest leveler or equalizer.
I remember how I felt when as a school kid my dad took me to a bank and opened a small savings account. It is the same feeling of pride more than anything else for everyone who has got an account in the bank through Jan Dhan Yojana.
These are the HAVE NOTS. And they are contented and grateful for what you do for them.
The best way to describe ever complaining attitude of our ‘bulging, in every which way’ middle class is by looking at a middle class wedding function. The hosts usually spend a lot of time, effort and money to get the wedding going and leave no stone unturned to ensure that all guests are looked after.
A nice food spread is laid out for the dinner and you don’t get surprised at the way people fill up their plates with food. Yes you feel at home and make the best of it and many take a second helping too. Tummies are full by now, many have overstuffed to the extent of being uncomfortable! As they depart it is time to thank the host profusely for the lovely dinner and hospitality.
As soon as they are outside the venue they are now free to dissect the wedding arrangements. A usual comment is ‘Bhai, everything was very good but the Jalebi garam nahi thee’. This is the typical upper middle class response, next day group whats -apping also starts to demean the dessert.
If government has to win hearts then win the poor hearts which actually beat for you and not the thankless ones. That is the mantra to keep India Happy.