As an Indian, I am proud of past, present and the future. It does not stop me from criticising Modi, Hindu/ Muslim and any other fundamentalists, communalism, bad administration, corruption and the like. When you or me, criticise some issues in the country, that does not mean everything has gone to dogs, rather means everything else is fine. Criticising Govt. and its policy is a democratic right and duty of each and every member of the society. That is why democracy delivers its best when its citizen is effectively educated to differentiate between good and bad, and armed to criticize.
India’s economic and social policy may suffer drawbacks here and there, but overall, it is helping progress India, none the less. There is a huge economic upliftment , especially of the poor, weak and downtrodden. Daily people from bottom layer are crossing the poverty line. This makes me happy.
It is my personal experience that a portion of money coming from real estate price rise. Price of real estate has increased many fold over last several years. People like labourers, hawkers, chai-wallahs , venders who bought wayside shops in cities and suburbs in 5/10 thousands, some 30 years back, now owner of several lakhs of rupees, which a ‘honourable common employee’ of Govt/Private do not own, because their effective income from salary has not gone through that many-folds like real estate.
I know of cases of servants/ maid-servants/ labourers now aging 60/70 years, bought properties in the seventies in Andheri area of Mumbai, with rupees 5/6 thousand, that too with a loan from friends, now owner of one and half crore of rupees due to price hike. It is the same common stories of challis in Mumbai. Govt has given them modern residential flats in the prime area of Mumbai, under Slum area development project by BMC, costing 40/50 lakhs, which many readers of this blog cannot afford. There has been a great churning in the society in terms of wealth.
Not real estate price alone, Govt’s economic and social policy to uplift those downtrodden paid off. Now, they earn and spend handsomely. There is a huge burgeoning middle class with a great disposable income. Both our businesses and the world, trying to catch this flourishing market. This middle class in India is the attraction of whole world, and I would say influencing the foreign relations of India even. Europe, America pampering Modi and India to capture this consumer market of our neo-middle class.
Such is the force and strength of neo middle class and their wealth– first time in India. While Gopinath, the industrialist, used to travelling in local trains, he would see a common sight–that lines of thatched houses equipped with antennae at the roofs. He saw in it the first potential of introducing low cost airlines, and the result was ‘The Deccan Airlines’. In the meantime, that section increased in wealth and power many folds. India is now power house of the world .
But there is a catch in it. This neo rich is not without its negativity. There has been a cultural mismatch. Their wealth has suddenly increased over a very short period of time, but not accompanied by necessary cultural upliftment…. they are well dressed, in ultra-modern short dresses, spending extravagantly, showing off their wealth in an ugly manner, spreading hatred. They are culturally empty. They listen to ‘ munni badnam hui’ , high frequency noisy disco, rock music but none of those melody , classics/gazals that earlier cultural elite were used to. This is because developing taste for melody, classics or gazals , requires a long exposure, but making money aided by circumstances of the society, can be done in a very short time. These neo rich have access to power, and making use of this power, resorts to corruption without compunction.
I do not say that all these neo rich are corrupt, many have right value system, honest and responsible citizen of the country. Their new position of the society has not gone to their head, they are just like others.
Hope, this ills of the society will mend on its own, and society will develop both in wealth, and culture, in one piece, both should be compatible, one with the other, then there will not be any more ugliness in their new found wealth. A country is great only when all its citizens are great.