Do the Elite of India recognize India’s diversity?

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Diversity is a fundamental characteristic of life itself, and therefore, that of the people of India who represent one sixth of humanity. Really, it is impossible to talk about the people of India without bringing up human diversity, but the Indian elite have begun to manage to do so. Wherever they are in India, the elite have succeeded in almost entirely cutting off their association with the common man. The Kannadiga among them has distanced himself from the common man of Karnataka, the Tamil among them has distanced himself from the common man of Tamil Nadu, the Hindi among them has distanced himself from the common man of say Uttar Pradesh, and so on and so forth. And together as India’s elite class, they have distanced themselves from the diversity which defines the commonfolk of India, when taken as a whole.

Together, the elite have established an India-wide uniformity which is limited to the boundaries of their elite class, with the outer world being untouched by that uniformity. We give this uniformity names such as unity and national integration, but it is in reality the dead monotony of that darkness into which unbridled self-interest takes blindfolded men. Usually, one who is in a dark room can recognize even the faintest light that the eye chances upon, but so blinded is the vision of the elite that it fails to recognize the dazzling brilliance of India’s diversity. Blinded by the feeling that everything outside their own class is one mass of impenetrable darkness, they fail to recognize any distinguishing features among the common-folk. This Idea of India has successfully created a disunity between the elite and the real India, and achieved a nationwide disintegration between the haves and the have-nots.

India poverty. Photo Credit: Padmanaba01 via cc

Interestingly, the elite have begun to use the word India to refer to the elite class alone, leaving out the common-folk in a matter-of-fact way. Their India is, as it were, an India in spite of the real India. This is not only their vision of today’s India, but also the future towards which they are very proudly and patriotically steering the country. The fate and the existence of the larger India with its teeming population of more than a billion have slowly slipped away from their discourse. Will they all be dead? If not, what part will they be playing when the India of the elite’s definition rises and shines? These discomforting questions are not being asked in elite circles any more.

This divorce from the common-folk is finding increasing acceptance among the elite, and is being flaunted as the foundation on which a new and prosperous India of the twenty-first century can be built. Nobody seems to ask the question “prosperity of whom?”, since the implicit answer is their own prosperity, that is, the prosperity of the elite. Further, it is very clear to them that the common-folk have no active role to play in the proposed prosperity. They even assume that the absence of any active role for the common-folk is a prerequisite for that prosperity. At best, they expect the common-folk to sit and receive alms at the periphery of the rising and shining India that they build.

The weak everywhere are expected to sacrifice their lives for the noble goal of India’s development, to suffer because of their incapability and make way for the better breed of Indians, as it were. In the rush for development there is no time for the strong to wait for the weak to become strong, or to spend time thinking about what can make them strong. Many among the elite subconsciously believe that it is even genetically impossible for the weak to improve their lot. The only option they have is to dig their own graves and silently lie down in them while India rises and shines above ground, with pomp and gaiety.

When it is just a perception, the idea of an India devoid of diversity is merely incorrect, but when it is a mantra for development, it also becomes unethical. The latter is because the next logical step taken by the elite is that of implementing the spread of a dead uniformity on peoples who are inherently diverse. And such a uniformalization is made possible only by the silent silencing of the weak and diverse, by the strong and uniform. One can ensure that only tigers live in a forest only by killing every other form of life.

I am not merely presenting the popular argument of the struggle between the rich and the poor. That argument is certainly valid, but in the context of a country as large and diverse as India it takes on the additional and ever important character of a struggle between the forces of diversity and uniformity. This is because, while the people on whose sufferance the India of the future is sought to be built are extremely diverse, the elite themselves are infested with the dead uniformity of self-interest devoid of all color and life and held captive by its demoniac political avatar which beats its chest and responds to the names ‘nationalism’ and ‘patriotism’.

Written by Kiran Batni >>

Author of upcoming book The Pyramid Of Corruption. IIT-D alumnus. Always local, always global. Respect Indian spirituality, not societal structures.

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Indian Exponent: Do the Elite of India recognize India’s diversity?
Do the Elite of India recognize India’s diversity?
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