Economics is a small section of what has made the Indian middle class but it is continuing to grow out of equipment of routines & behavioral nuances that went on to become typical of the world and ingrained into the mentality of a particular section of society. There probably is not one Indian who hasn't experienced the Indian middle income in some way or the other; from the upper class business tycoon who supports is reigns in the corporate world to the typical Indian community man who gets a visit from a shehari babu from Indian town.
So what is the Indian middle class?
One cannot really define a middle class in a phrase in a collection, a paragraph or even an entire essay would fall short of doing justice to determining this section of society. However an attempt to take action lead us to analyzing these nuances from personal activities as Santosh Desai has done in his book "mother pious lady"
One word which most of us pay attention to in everyday activities but we could so used to it that we don't even pay attention to is the term WE. The typical middle income family since ages has lived jointly. All the so called chachas, tayas, buas, mamas have all resided together. Till a few years ago nobody realized the meaning of personal space in a residence. You were always surrounded by your nephews, nieces, all the bhaiyas, didis asking you personal questions, pursuing you wherever you travelled. Even the concept of marriage within an Indian setting is definitely that of union of two young families rather than two individuals approaching together. Earlier Television set looking at was more of an activity which the complete family used to do together, await the serials like buniyaad, chitrahaar to start, wait for that Friday movie when only 1 of the individuals in the village used to have the television and this person's house would turn into a cinema theater with the complete of community flooding that house; but nowadays that principle is changing. Tv set viewing has become more of a person centric activity wherein hundreds of channels is there to cater to every individual's choice. The whole concept of joint-ness is fast dissolving.
Actually this idea is fast dissolving with the advent of the 20th century and the matching technology and other associated enhancements that it has taken. Indians are shying from being alongside one another; it is quite obvious in any urban Indian middle income home. Everyone has their own different rooms, their own personal world, but somehow deep down there, no subject how much the technology results in the changes, most of us will be connected to the other person like the old Middle income joint family.
There are so many idiosyncrasies (generally used for folks) which may be qualities to the 80's and 90's. Bell bottom pants, long solid side melts away, those polka dot apparel popular; redi ka khana, the await the postman to arrive with the words rather than e-mail. That delay, the expectation, that connectedness was all common during those times. When you'll get to know that there's been an addition to your family, your cousin has topped the IAS exam, then the await the reply to the letter which you would have delivered. Then along emerged the telephone, one of the biggest inventions of the twentieth century. The ranges were reduced to just a call away, although the wait was still there initially when you would book you trunk call and wait for the operator to revert back to you, but it wasn't much as compared to the old letter days. Then little by little the innovations paved way for the technology. Showed up on scenes the mobile phones which revolutionized the way we connected with one another. We started carrying our friends inside our pockets that were only a call away. The delay has almost disappeared from the world altogether, regardless of the lapse will there be in answering the call is because of the personal reasons of the person on the other end.
All folks know what reactions a beggar would give if we give him 50 paisa gold coin today. Most of them would refuse to take it, plus some could even retort back again that "paisa nahi hia sahib kya, humse le lo". This shows how much we value profit the modern world. Everyone from our era would remember just what a 50 paisa coin supposed in the 90's. 4 chocolate toffees, a nicotine gum, a pen, u name it and you would get it for your price. A pen costing Rs 10 would garner commentary from the family that "paisa ped pe ugta hai kya" & "paise ki factory hai kya ghar pe". And when we return back in time a bit more, say 70's & 80's, one rupee will be the pocket money of the school going kids for your month. The salary which our grandfathers used to pick up from the government office buildings used to end up like 50 rupees per month where the whole family of 10 (yes 10, it used to be the average size of the individuals in 50's) would make it through the complete month with the repeated & regular in-pour of all the so called relatives.
What the managers all over the world are learning today about the learning resource management of the scarce resources, we middle class Indian families will always be doing that. One family using that one quilt to sleep in, clothes being passed on to all or any the chotus of the family from your bade bhaiyas. We understood the efficient use of the products too. The mom inside your home would teach how to get the last drop of the toothpaste from the tube by reducing open it, how to use the cleaning soap to wash hair when the shampoo used to get over. These things you will only find in a typical Indian middle class family which we so lovingly call the normal Indian category mentality.
The marriage within an Indian environment is more than a union of two souls somewhat it is just a union of two young families coming along. Before marrying you will need to have the authorization of the all your next to and not-so-near relatives. Love matrimony used to be a big NO in the Indian culture. And marrying your girl will be a herculean task, more of a bojh on the bride's daddy. The idea of dahej, but not prevalent in the metropolitan india today, would make or break your proposal. Nonetheless it doesn't end here, if the girl's father isn't that rich, the girl should be blessed with the fairy looks, should be a specialist at baking and doing all the other basic house chores. And then the largest factors which would make a decision your communion: religious beliefs and caste. Right now the matrimony advertisings would read like "wanted a Punjabi, Brahmin woman, reasonable, between 20-24, basic qualifications" reiterating the actual fact that Indian middle class is still not free of the so called customs of finding a match.
Even after finalizing the match the true headache starts off, all the family members come together at a place and the complete house turns into circus, huge costs on the hospitality of the guests. After the matrimony the family runs bankrupt, the daddy spending all his life's personal savings on that.
It all began in early 80's when the TV struck the Indian markets. Soon implemented shows like buniyaad and nukkad which exhibited and emphasized on typical middle income beliefs. Whereas the shows that happen to be shown on Tv set are more saas-bahu jhagda oriented. The target is shifting from the family as product to individual's needs. Even the feelings (love) which used to be a taboo of types is now being exhibited in a good light and a in-thing on Television nowadays. The other show which altered the focus from K-serials and modified the way the complete medium was seen. The show was KBC - managed by one of the primary icons in Indian theatre: Amitabh Bachhan. The moment the clock used to reach, the whole nation would come to a standstill.
And another big thing on Indian Tv is Cricket. It's the religion of all Indians, adopted ardently by the 120 crore Indians. Every Indian, whatever his religious beliefs he employs, be rest assured that he would be an ardent follower of cricket. And for that matter, Sachin Tendulkar has been the god of Indians because the time god made his debut in 1989. Till night out when this little professional comes on crease, the complete country comes to a standstill. Regardless of how educated one is, to which area he belongs, what religion he follows, you can always have a dialogue on the preferred topic of each Indian. The channel which has got the privileges to telecast the cricket fits, garner the best TRP's.
The middle income Indian is definitely fascinated and amused by the big screen. The connection has been there since the pre-independence era which was primarily dominated by magicians like master dutt & nargis, down the road by the likes bachchans and dharamendra. Whatever they did, whatever they wore became a style affirmation for Indian junior. In recent times where I grew, it was always the Khans: the trio of Shahrukh, Salman and Aamir. No other acting professional was as big a legend as these three were. The names of the three khans were synonymous with the bollywood industry. They changed just how how youth enjoyed in India. It was as a result of movies set in international locales and the magnanimity of the models which captivated the Indian youngsters. They were not timid of exhibiting and admitting their love now. It became a fashion declaration to maintain a relationship. Since it always happens that what the kids want parents have to adhere to that, so that it did. Love relationships are now more prevalent than arranged marriages.
After cricket movie is the other area where you can have conversation with anyone in India. People revere their stars, they are simply their Gods. Amitabh Bachchan and Rajnikanth will be the two big superheroes of India, the latter being the larger one in terms of the follower's craze for him. Temples have been built for them, where in fact the people from the middle class contemporary society go and worship them. Offerings are thrown on displays when rajni's movies are being screened. Our middle class people (from the small section of Southern India) go hysterical. They weep, they laugh, and they laugh with the legend on screen. It is because unlike west where in fact the protagonist is normally someone with an awesome physique, Indian celebrities are usually who will be more emotionally stable (this is just to hook up to the average Indian junior). They might not possess superhuman capabilities, but they could have an intellect, a center which would solve any concern regarding his day to day problems. This is the reason why Indian youth go several times to view the same movie again and again.
Indians like you or me assign some feeling/memory with the objects. They are not just the means of satisfying the material needs. You would have observed your fathers and grandfathers keeping their old chetak, your moms going sentimental over the first sewing machine they had bought or even junior like us in the first twenties cherishing their old collection of tattoos, handmade cards and showing off with their friends right now. It is because of the emotions which have been instilled in us by our forefathers to value things, to value money rather than to waste things.
This again causes another idiosyncrasy of the Indians. Showing off or flaunting is what they prefer to do. They would compete with their neighbors, their friends and even their siblings and they would feel very pleased to have things that are better than folks described. In the beginning for a good example people used for taking pride in owning radios, then came up the black color televisions, after which arrived on landscape the plasma Televisions. Similar thing occurred in the area of mode of vehicles. People used to use pleasure in their Hero cycles, they continued to taking take great pride in in going by the autos, then came enough time when the yezdi or rajdoot was the most valued possession of the whole family, then arrived maruti 800 referred to as people's car and today the infant of the whole family will be a Honda City or Safari. This is so innate to us, the delight which we ingest showing to the globe that we will be the best, second to none.
Also there are other things which you would associate around Indians (read middle class Indians) only. As Santosh Desai exactly describes in his book Mother pious Lady
"Whenever we crease our clothes or comb our scalp partitioned exactly in a straight line, we reaffirm that we belong to an organization and follow the guidelines. This does not always happen, but so long as we believe, desire lives. "
The things such as mother instead of buying a new pair of socks would put rubber band to safeguard them from slipping down, clothes transmitted from one technology to other, old undergarments used as dusters to clean the whole house, mothers, aunts, neighbors resting alongside one another and making a sweater for one member or the other, instead of buying a pickle from the store or a mart, everyone aiding the elder females of the family to place one. All this you discover only in the centre course and I am re-emphasizing that it is not only the people who earn less but even the business men with pots of money exhibiting the same tendencies (difference would be that they would have servants to help the women)
To estimate again from the same publication, Santosh Desai highlights,
"it is interesting to note our sense to be "Indian" reaches its peak when we are in special event mode. We need the emotional most of festivities to permit us to step outside our narrower local identities and immerse ourselves in a more inclusive countrywide one. "
People tend to mingle with one another; they overlook the caste, the religion, the spot etc. when they want to share their delight with others. Regardless of whether there have been some dissimilarities with some relatives and all, await a festival or a married relationship to come and everything the variations would vanish as if there were none of them ever. People cry along with you in your miserable times and they get happy with your happiness even though you are not related by blood vessels; this is what India is made for you.
Another aspect which I think is vital according if you ask me is the training system in India. You can view young children taking school handbags with the weight of catalogs more than their own weight. Metaphorically this weight of literature is the weight of the expectation which the Indian parents have using their kids. Every father or mother in India desires his/her child to be a top quality doctor, an engineer and nowadays a top class MBA. Most of them have this herd mentality which sometimes is good but largely they don't realize the probable of the youngster. Even if a kid is good at music or fine art, he won't be allowed to pursue the profession of his choice. At maximum he would enjoy it as a spare time activity but not a career. The parents in India so desperately want their kids to be one of the above mentioned professionals that they would go to any magnitude to have them registered in a good school. This phenomenon according to me is due to two reasons - one being that profession gets the maximum money and izzat and the other being the point which I defined above: showing off to the globe that. I so say so because as unlike what happens under western culture, here parents usually pay for the kids education till post graduation, so that it is a kind of returns that they expect/get and that they want to show to the entire world that their decision was wise. They might pay bribes to get their children the backdoor admittance to these colleges, which bring us to the topic of problem.
On the verge of sounding negative, I'd say that corruption - to get things done by paying bribe (products in some instances) is also innate to Indians. We learn it from our parents because everyone is either involved in the process of taking bribe or offering bribes. Bribes which range from a beedi ka packet to the hostel chaukidar to paying lakhs to get your child admitted in a renowned college or university. And we are not even ashamed of it because it has been ingrained in us from decades. But inform me where it doesn't exist in the world? So I would ignore it.
The middle income is aware of their constraints, but never shy from dreaming, this is the eternal positivity in them. They dream big, they dream of brighter pastures in foreign countries. Each one of these characteristics stated are not only regarding the Indian middle class citizen, they are noticeable in people owned by higher classes as well. This is because the middle course stage of the family era is the one that everyone goes through and even if not experienced directly, it is obvious almost everywhere around them. The center class culture is an integral area of the Indian culture and one that may adapt to any change in the contemporary society yet maintain some of the core values that have been passed down from technology to era.