Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The great Indian middle class

Below are a few selected polls, from the last month or so, from the Indian Express daily opinion poll. It was outrageous to see more than 50% of the responders agreeing with the Shiv Sena take -- girls are asking for it with low-waist jeans and mini skirts -- on the recent Marine Drive rape incident. What does this say about our Inglish speaking middle class? (I understand that an opinion poll in a news paper doesn't say too much. Still I thought it's worth looking at how people responded in the past.)

What is your reaction to Shiv Sena blaming 'page three' culture for rising incidents of rape? [Link]Horrifying -- 16.54, Irresponsible -- 29.17, Correct -- 54.3
Do you approve of Maharashtra govt's crack down on bar dancers? [Link]Yes -- 50, No -- 48.06
Do you approve of the Government of India's decision to declare a three-day mourning period for Pope John Paul II? [Link]Yes -- 26.21, No -- 72.71
Who do you think Ramvilas Paswan should side with to give Bihar a stable government? [Link]NDA -- 66.89, UPA -- 20.57
Is the US denial of a visa to Gujarat Chief Minister uncalled for? [Link]Yes -- 59.07, No -- 40.69
Will President's rule be good for Bihar? [Link]Yes -- 84.62, No -- 12.57
Does India need a missile defence system? [Link]Yes -- 88.12, No -- 10.46
Do you back the Maharashtra government's slum demolition drive in Mumbai? [Link]Yes -- 84.48, No -- 13.91
Should the EC prevent parties from using Godhra during the Assembly polls? [Link]Yes -- 81.07, No -- 18.75

Looks like, at least for many of the Indian Express readers, Lalu bashing, Mumbai beautification, moral policing, all go together!

13 Comments:

At 1:18 PM, Anonymous curious said...

Dunno about the sena n stuff cause the've always been a bit off center ( if u know what I mean ..).. but its a strange country we live in and I guess one should expect it to take a few hundred years of evolution before civilized behaviour becomes the norm instead of the odd shining example .With the latest on stem cell research in the All India Institute Of Medical Sciences promising extended life spans upto 150 years for everyone I should imagine we're all going to be around long enough to maybe even see some of this evolution ... what I cant fathom is how the Laloos and Rabris are going to evolve ?? more horrifying is the prospect of having to put up with them for another 50 years or so ! Poised on the brink of this drastic change in lifestyles for the entire planet and faced with the prospect of having our population explode like never before ( since no one will die ) but babies will still be born ; I shudder to think where this country is headed .

 
At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Harini Calamur said...

The Sena view on "morality" unfortunately, is shared by many.
A friend of mine quoted a line out of the film dostana which AB says to Zeenat - "aap ko dekh kar seethi nahi bajayenge to kya mandir ki ghanti bajayenge!"Zeenat is wearing what the Sena will term "less clothes" and is complaining to a cop - played by Mr.B - about eve teasers.

 
At 8:25 AM, Blogger Anand said...

Curious & Harini -- Thanks for the comments.

Shivam Vij (of Mall Road) writes in, saying that perhaps we shouldn't be blaming the entire middle class as "takers of online newspaper surveys are a very small number, largely a vocal, politically inclined group."

Absolutely. And usually these minority vocal groups determine the political agenda for our media. Remember the days when everybody bought "India Shining"?!

 
At 8:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those who voted are mostly from upper middle-class, Hindu upper-caste ppl. They are mostly rabidly communal. Just take a look at their comments in the IE.

 
At 1:09 AM, Blogger Vulturo said...

Err Anonymous,

How exactly did you arrive at that conclusion?

And what makes you think the *Hindu* Upper Middle Class is rabidly communal? So the Moslem (or Sikh or Christian or Buddhist) Upper Middle class is not communal you mean to say?

I thought that the Upper Middle Class was actually more openminded (due to access to better education/better society/etc) - Aren't all of us Bloggers "Upper Middle Class" (okay Upper Middle Class or Just Middle Class). Do you think Indian Bloggers are communal?

 
At 9:57 PM, Anonymous charu said...

Anand, how many people take these polls for us to take these responses seriously? but thinking about it, I guess this would be the general trend of thought among what you call the middle-class... spurred on further by a government which seems to have its priorities topsy turvy - so caught up with moral policing - ignoring basic more urgent needs - like infrastructure

 
At 3:00 AM, Blogger Rajagopal said...

Did the same people answer all these questions?.

If you had a choice of staying in Mumbai or going to a similar paying job in a Laloo/Rabri ruled Patna, which would you choose?. Between Patna and Ahmedabad which would you choose?. If you wanted to start a business, where would you do so - Patna or Ahmedabad?

 
At 10:50 PM, Blogger Dilip D'Souza said...

Don't know if anyone is still reading this... but anyway:

If you had a choice of staying in Mumbai or going to a similar paying job in a Laloo/Rabri ruled Patna, which would you choose?. Between Patna and Ahmedabad which would you choose?. If you wanted to start a business, where would you do so - Patna or Ahmedabad?

How does this answer Anand's post about the polls, I wonder?

In any case, I remain in hope that I will never be asked to choose between Ahmedabad and Patna. I say that after having lived for a spell in Ahmedabad.

 
At 11:09 PM, Blogger Rajagopal said...

Dilip,
Anand titled the post Great Indian Middle Class and then said the same people who condone the rape also bash Lalu, among other things. I am a member of said Middle Class and while I don't take offense, people say the darndest thing on the net, I have to say this thesis is bullshit. From a few polls on IE (or was it IE.com?) he now claims for most IE readers they are the same thing. Does he have any data on the demographic composition of the people who took the poll or the methodology of the poll or the marhin of error. Nothing. This is just another post to slam the bourgeoise.

 
At 11:25 PM, Blogger Anand said...

Rajagopal -- Please read the full post before accusing me. Read what I wrote in paranthesis in the first para. Also I wrote: "at least for many of the Indian Express readers."

As Dilip said I don't see the relevance of your question. Nevertheless I do not mind answering irrelevant questions. Between Mumbai and Patna, Mumbai. Between Patna and Ahmedabad? Both do not offer me what I want. But before you conclude anything, let me add: between Allahabad and Pune or Delhi, I would choose Allahabad. Now does that say sth to you?!

 
At 5:22 AM, Blogger Rajagopal said...

I don't think I accused of of anything. Be that as it may, correct me if I am wrong, but you implied that the people (G I M C)
who are condoning the rape are the same people who indulge in Laloo bashing (anyway I don't see Laloo bashing in the polls you cited). So if Laloo is being bashed unfairly, I didn't think it was unreasonable to ask you if you would mind living in Patna.

 
At 5:49 AM, Blogger Anand said...

I said, and I repeat: Looks like, at least for many of the Indian Express readers, Lalu bashing, Mumbai beautification, moral policing, all go together!

I thought that was a reasonable conclusion to make from that table.

 
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