India’s missing middle class and its connection with the caste system in India: India’s growth story is the fiction of casteist mind
In the recent edition of the Economist, the cover story is India’s missing middle class. The briefings of the Economist makes it clear that India does not have the middle class. The Indian media has been talking of 300-400 million people who can be classed at the middle class, the myth that is rebuffed by the Economist. Only 1% at the top in India owns considerable wealth which can be considered as and compared to the middle classes elsewhere.
The 50 percent of Indians can be compared with the poor classes in the poorer nations. What is called and misleadingly defined as the middle class by the Indian media is not a middle class. This means that India will not have a growth story that can be compared with her neighbor, China.
This study has many implications for India’s economic future. The RSS/BJP Government’s policies are targeted at the 1 percent of India’s population as it is clear from the Economist report that the big companies are stuck in India as there is no buying capacity in India. The RSS/BJP government is inviting FDI in the Air India to the extent of 49 percent. This is concentrating on the wrong side of the economic policies. India cannot have strong economic development if it is not backed by the strong social and political development.
One of the missing facts in India’s missing class is the factor of caste that is ingrained in every aspect of the Indian social, political, economic, and cultural life. If we map the economic classes that have been defined by the Economist, they tend to map with the caste groups. The missing hole of the middle classes maps with India’s lower classes and the 50 percent people as poorer as the poorest nations in the world maps with the lowest classes.
The top 1% is, of course, India’s rich Brahmin-Bania axis. The researchers from several directions have shown that unless India destroys the caste system, it has no future. The practice of untouchability is still rampant, the caste system is so prevalent, communalism raises it ugly tentacles time and again. But the ruling classes in India are not concerned of the equality and need for prosperity in India.
Author – Mangesh Dahiwale, Human Rights Activist