The Middle Class Syndrome


In the days of Celina Jaitley- I used to watch beauty contests. On one particular show Derek O’Brien (yes, the celebrated quiz master) asked would-be beauty diva Celina what sort of man she would never marry. She said ‘Lalu Prasad Yadav’ and giggled. O’Brien laughed in response. Had they left it that I perhaps never would have caught on to the joke; fortunately or unfortunately O’Brien decided he would ask her a clarifying question. She said this: “He’s got hair in his ears you know, and he’s uneducated and he’s got an awful accent…” and then she laughed. The auditorium, O’Brien and countless others joined them from their middle-class homes.

While am not pro-Lalu in any particular manner- or against Celina Jaitley, I think this showcased in public space one of the most ugly aspects of the Indian middle class. A class of people desperate to joint he elite, devoid of sophistication of the truly distinguished or the sensitivity of the common man. I ask what is so particularly bad about Lalu that doesn’t apply to other Indian politicians? Is Vajpayee’s poetry anything better than trash? Are his speeches punctuation by three minute long gaps particularly profound or erudite? Are they not all corrupt? In fact I would add that Lalu is still distinguished by a loud passion- a passion the Indian middle class wants to conceal because it doesn’t match up to fake standards of etiquette.

I admire Lalu when he takes the communal right of this country head on- ” Kaun kehta hai yeh Hindu rashtra hai…. main uski chaati phad doonga” (Who says this is a Hindu Nation….). I admire the fire and the passion, I see beyond the crudity of the language and recognize the finesse and courage of the emotion. I see a fierce love for diversity, the only thing left that India can claim to proud of, slowly losing itself to a growing communal and fascist movement that the Indian middle class cannot and would not like to admit to.