Posted by: Neeraj | September 14, 2008

The diminishing divide

The economy opened up in the early nineties. It gave people more avenues to make money and slowly but surely brought upgrades to the class they belonged to, horizontally as well as vertically: horizontally because the numbers began to swell from mutation from within the class and vertically because more people began to leap from the class just below (read upper, middle and lower class). This in turn redefined the social fabric. Let us see how:

Empowerment of women and the advent of the nuclear family
In bigger cities, as more job opportunities  arose, women refused to sit at home, producing and raising babies. They sought and got jobs, bringing more money to the great Indian middle class. This in turn allowed them to make bold decisions, breaking away from the joint family system (sometimes consensual sometimes not) and buying their own houses necessitated by the need to make that statement of independence and move away from a relationship which was frost at the best of time. The new found freedom also brought in its wake the challenge of running a nuclear family sans all the benefits of the joint family: security for children and outsourcing of housekeeping chores being the biggest of them. Almost all the nuclear families needed back end support.

This catalyzed the migration process from the interiors facilitated by the already well entrenched in the cities migrants with strong connections back home. The trickle turned to pour to a irreversible chain reaction. The newly arrived lot became a part of the mainstream and were absorbed as drivers, house keepers and the good performers were transferred to assist in the businesses of the owners.

The job explosion
In the start of the 21st century, the job market became overheated. There were many job opportunities and few skilled people to take it. As businesses needed to grow, people, through training, were made to take jobs which they would never have been offered early. The salaries began to increase and more disposable income brought the culture of eating and shopping out. The retail explosion sucked the more presentable ones from the lower middle class into the the retail structure – malls, big bazaars, retail marts, they all began to absorb people in heaps.

Education
Living with intelligent people taught many that to break the glass ceiling they need to be educated. So they sent their children to school and gave a very strong impetus on their education. The second generation children of the drivers, plumbers, carpenters became decent graduates, some became engineers and many acquired computer skills paving the way for their entering corporate in one capacity or the other.

I work in an IT firm where the biggest assets of a company is its intellectual property – the people. I know of many cases where the IT professionals belong to a very humble background but after having been absorbed and accepted they have their foot firmly in and the future very clear. The only differentiating factor between the people who work there is the house they live in and to a lesser extent the clothes they wear. Education, the great leveler, has made the son of a millionaire work with the son of a Carpenter and the only thing they compete for is writing a better code. The class divide is indeed diminishing.

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Responses

  1. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4237353244338529080

    The myths about the developing world. and how it happened in our country is very well explained

  2. I have always thought that there is a different type of divide in India.

    There are those who are considerate of their fellow human beings wherever they go. These are the people who will drive properly on roads, who will not blast music at 3 am in the morning, will not push you when you are standing in the ticket line at PVR or McDonalds, will make sure that they don’t leave the public toilet dirty.

    Then there are those, who will always drive on the wrong side of the road, will cut-in in front of you, will have bhajans going louder than rock music all night long because they wanted to have puja done, will consider it an insult to their existence to be considerate to their fellow human being.

    Of course, there are those who bridge this divide by being considerate when convenient to them.

  3. The progress and development in the field of Education is something incredible and commendable because it is the only key to success (according to me), gradually helping people find better jobs to suit their aptitude but as far as women empowerment is concerned women have made themselves more accessible and vulnerable rather I should say an easier prey to exploitation in this male dominated society. Women have overstretched themselves to maintain equilibrium between professional and personal life and no one else but only they have suffered in the name of liberation. Women in older times were not as enterprising as we are today but they always led a better life in terms of health and family which ultimately leads to contentment and peace of mind. Today it is not women liberation but slavery of our own ambitions and competition with ourselves. So women empowerment is nothing but term used to satiate our vanity.


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