Indian middle class has got accustomed to government dole

Posted: February 2, 2018 in blogging

I had tweeted this in a thread earlier today, but I just thought I’d put it in a blog…

I don’t know whether I could even call myself “middle class” in the 1980s and 1990s because I struggled to make ends meet with a salary of Rs 5000, from which I paid Rs 3500 rent, fed my parents, wife, son and myself with the rest. Later when we earned more I remember we paid for baby food and pampers for our son, paid his school fees, bought his books, while cutting out the ‘luxury’ we occasionally wanted, like eating out or buying clothes.

My first salary as a journalist was ₹660. It was ₹5000 in 1995 & ₹7000 in 1998. I used a decade as an average.

I’ve forgotten for how many years I wore the same clothes, stitched and darned because I couldn’t afford new clothes on my salary. If today, three decades later, I have enough to live a comfortable life and a little saved for a rainy day, it’s because I scrimped and saved, unlike third-rate upstarts such as Rahul Gandhi who lived off this country and his family’s fortunes.

In 69 years, if this is the state of the poorest sections of rural India, Rahul Gandhi needs to take a really good look at his own party and ask himself what it has done for the people before jeering at anyone else. He needs to introspect at the sheer callousness and incompetence of his government and his own family that has got rich beyond any Indian’s wildest imagination at the expense of the poor, the lower middle class and middle class Indian; for making promises they couldn’t keep, especially about eradicating poverty and illiteracy.

Yes, that same Indian who toils in the fields, factories and offices round the clock to put food on the table for himself and his family. For 60 years they were taken for the ride of their lives conned by the slogans and programmes they were promised would change their lives forever. Only, it made them poorer. Why didn’t the Congress party do more for the voter all these decades? Yes, the same voter who sent them back to parliament as their representative hoping they could better their impoverished lives. Instead, they never got anything more than a few hundred rupees and a sari during election time, which he or she gratefully accepted. Strangely, they never complained, accustomed to the five-year ritual, cynical that their lives would never improve but without options. Today we have that option.

But it seems we want to go back to the earlier option because, after three years of partying, the man who runs the government decided he wanted to help the others too. But so accustomed are we to living off government dole that we want him out because he didn’t give us enough and more. Maybe we deserve the earlier option where we stretched out our palms in desperation as our rulers dropped the pennies in, smiled indulgently and moved on, impervious to our plight. So, in 2019, let’s look ahead to another reign of the dowager queen and the clown prince. Long live the family, long live the ecosystem that survives on its crumbs.

And I know what I am talking about. Because for 30 years, I too was a blind Nehru-Gandhi loyalist.

  1. abhiray59 says:

    Agree with you. I think present government should stay if they can implement universal Healthcare as promised and rein in goons.

  2. rummuser says:

    What enabled the present dispensation is disgust with the old one’s hubris. Unfortunately, I find that the former is beginning to develop hubris too and the election results in Gujarat and now Rajasthan are indicators. I would like the NDA to continue but unless they quickly change and draw up some viable strategy, they may not get elected in next year.

  3. Dwijendra Srivastava says:

    I think unlike Congress who have administration experience over 6 decades and know how to game the system also we know that with adequate time on their hand they did not serve Indian diaspora well. Now with Namo stymied in the upper house and slowly getting hold of the center we can expect him to throw out the Congress cronies in NDA2 and last but not the least the probability of Indian people getting most out of him as he does not have any conflict of interest (read family)

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