Mayawati and Middle-classy Citizenship

Why I am afraid of Mayawati - by Hindol Sengupta

"We, the middle-class, educated, metro-bred,Christian-education raised, young. We, the backbone of the knowledge,entrepreneurial economy. We, who have no representation. We have no voice.We have no one who speaks our language, our idiom."

Hindol Sengupta represetns the invisible middle-class voter, who is also the vociferous political economic agent. Sengupta seems to have assumed the 'objective' point of view (that the middle-classes are supposed to be capable of) in imagining that the middle-classes are immune to corruption. Cambridge-educated leaders, judges, bureaucrats, corporate top bosses across the world have not exactly lived up to the rational, squeaky clean, mega-efficient, accountable portrait that Sengupta seems to have painted.

I think Sengupta hints at something more than the 'objective' middle class worldview- he mentions the enormous power wielded by the middle-class- in terms social capital, economic power, access to global economy and opportunities arising through the global window, but does not seem to think much of it. He mentions that the middle-classes don't matter as a vote-bank, but forgets that our higher judiciary and top bureaucracy is entirely middle-class, and hence, a large part of the middle-class worldview resonates in the state machinery already. Sengupta seems to have ignored or underestimated the role played by agencies like the Planning Commission, other non-elected governing bodies, which are significant avenues of power and influence especially in an unwieldy democracy.

On the other hand, had a Mayawati or Yadav been the key solution to caste-marginalisation, UP and Bihar would not pick up guns everytime an election was around. Had the CP(I)M been representative of the 'proleteriat' it would not be feeding land to big corporates today. I think our intellectual urge to analyse drives us sometimes to simplify power equations, because the other option would be to leave the puzzle unsolved, which is an urge I identify with but wish away...


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