The hard-working urban middle class sees politicians as the antithesis of its values
Photo- illustration by Jayachandran
Straddling a narrow ledge between the vast abyss of poverty and the crests of wealth of the uber-folk, the Indian urban middle class feels cruelly shortchanged. It has faithfully paid its taxes, only to find itself entangled in a nightmarish web of corruption and deceit. It has played by the rules, only to find the rule-breakers getting ahead. The world, it feels, unfairly favours villains. And the architect of its miseries: the diabolical neta clad in crumpled white khadi.
In fact, when the middle class sees itself in juxtaposition with the politician, the result is a black-and-white montage. If the middle class is hard-working, educated, productive, conformist, tax-paying, law-abiding, patriotic and god-fearing, the politician is its photo-negative: a self-serving, venal, parasitical, power-hungry, morally and intellectually deficient upstart.
Indeed, politics itself has become little more than a spectator sport for the urban middle class, says author Khushwant Singh. "It’s a circus...politics is at best a source of shock and amusement. It’s possible to surmise...