DO MIDDLE CLASS HAVE THE RIGHT TO CRITICIZE? ITS TIME FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS TO INTROSPECT
Most of the middle class has been the largest beneficiary of the system on all counts from its independence. Almost on a daily basis, we witness the public being silent spectators of accidents, rape, violence, murder, stalking, road rage and the list goes on and all of us feel outraged at the declining standards of citizenship. Over the years we, as middleclass, have lost our sensitivities to the tragedies of others and are content with our narrow self-centered issues, on the grounds of fear of being harassed/ targeted or on the rationale that the system does not allow or care for such interventions. We witnessed in the Bhopal gas tragedy how the INTOs outrage got dissipated after so much outrage back into the our daily life with no visible impact of the protest.
Every now and then the middle class demonstrate their anguish and anger in some candle light vigil or make a few speeches and then get back into their regular life and prefer to engage in discussing and criticizing all its political leaders, security personnel, administration and institutions for all the country-ills from the comfortable environments of our homes over beer or dinners? nation
While this has become characteristic of Indian ethos, it raises serious questions about the educated middle class responsibilities as citizens, nationalism and our roles in nation building.
Who has to build the nation? Is it the sole responsibility of the political leaders? Can they do that without the active support of the people? If we as educated, well to do (compared to the majority of the population) privileged people with adequate connections and background do not contribute, can we expect the poor person, struggling to even get a job, be able to stand up against the ills of the country? If the country is on a downward spiral, without the middleclass standing up can this spiral be reversed?
It has always been the middle class who have stepped in and led to change the country direction and its development. Allowing leadership to remain in the hands of the miscreants, pursuing narrow myopic objectives, perpetuating lack of transparency, fairness, ignoring ethics, morality etc. or allowing the increasing gap between the haves and have-nots unchecked will only widen the distrust and angst. Even if viewed from a personal selfish perspective, if the downward spiral is allowed to continue, it would only result in further deterioration of society and ultimately end up in a revolution.
It would be unfair to say that the entire middle class is bereft of their responsibilities or concerns. Most of the people are in many ways contributing to the society development in their own fields and careers. Can that be enough or is there a responsibility of people towards the society other than their own efforts? It would be reasonable to acknowledge many unheard of organizations & Institutions who have been working hard on changing the society. They neither get the encouragement or the financial support to support the yeoman service they have been doing in their quest to change the gross injustice or violence in the society esp. on issues of women and children. This results in even depleting their energies and enthusiasm over a period of time and turns them into skeptics and reluctant volunteers.
There are two critical problems that now confront us - Violence esp. on women and children and apathy of the citizens to intervene to stop the miscreants or tragic issues being witnessed. Do we have to wait for our own to be involved before we feel outraged? How unacceptable it is to viedo a women being molested or people beaten by few people when 50 people passively stand by to watch (helplessly!!!!!!). It defies logic, ethics, and morals. Displays the basest instincts of human character. Yet this has become a daily affair. More than anything else, these issues that have serious impact on each one of us to shake us out of our slumber.
A case is not being made that everybody needs to get involved (even though that is the most desirable in building a strong happy nation) but there are a number of things we can do that could help tackle these issues:
Make it a point to motivate those working on issues even through a small message to endorse our support. That takes only a few minutes.
We can certainly take the effort of re-tweeting others initiatives to our circle of friends to make the issues viral.
We can offer our expertise by listing our names with those working on issues that we want to support and offer help that would not take more than 4 hours a month. Is such a small contribution not our responsibility?
When they organize an event, demonstrate your contribution by showing up. It is not everyday that events are organized. Just participating for even 1 hour could not only help in encouraging people who put in long hours but also highlights the issue for the press to take note.
We can contribute financially to those working on various issues. As middle class every one has a financial crunch and can only do to a limited extent. One even cannot solve an issue and requires numerous and repeated events to drive change. Contributing even small amounts can help the cause and does not take time from your life.
Demonstrating our responsibilities to the nation by going and casting your votes is important even if it does not influence any election. All we are doing is discharging our Dharma.
Standing up for our rights and not justify the pragmatic approach of working in the system can change the way things will happen.
Being educated, it should be possible for us to engage in debates based on logic and openness to counterviews, evidence presented etc. However, we tend to avoid people with opposite views and/or indulge in emotional rhetoric. We insist on our biases more than an willingness to see what is good for the nation.
We can avoid substituting showmanship in place of hard work.
Nation bulding is brs responsibilities. It does not require too much effort from anyone to engage in nation building if we can view it as our duty and not a favour. If we cannot rise above our narrow perspectives and biases or have the courage to demonstrate our outrage, anguish and scientific temper, can we build a strong nation?