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A Tale Of Three Indias And A Bhaarat

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By Vishal V Kale:

India is known as a land of diversity; one of the most clichéd descriptions about India has been its unity in diversity aspect, and this can be readily seen in the varied linguistic and cultural traditions that span across our land in addition to the religious diversity. This is a known positive about our motherland, and widely acknowledged as such. And yet, within this diversity, within this cultural cosmos that is India, is hidden a set of several “Indias” whose divergent agendas are a cause of concern. I call them Three Indias and a Bhaarat.


The first India is the so-called upper strata, the educated elite — and by that, I mean the educated English-spouting elite of the cities. Specifically, the educated elite in the top cities of India, who are discernibly a distinct identity group, and are a pretty exclusive group. These people stick together like glue on most issues, and breaking into this select group is extraordinarily difficult for someone from Bhaarat. These are the people who read The Economic Times, The Times Of India, The Business Standard, India Today etc. These are the people who frequent your pubs and CCD outlets. These are the people who can be spotted in malls and cinemas. These are the well-dressed and nattily turned out ladies and gentlemen in swank offices, and young boys and girls in elite colleges that dot the landscape of the bigger cities in India.

To the members of this exclusive club GDP growth, economic growth, posh cities, swank highways are the important parameters of a nation. To these people, it is the companies and the salaries and PL statements of these companies that determine the real status of a person and by extension, the country. These are the people who would readily pay up a bribe to achieve something, on the specious argument that “My job depended on it/everyone does it/without it approvals don’t come etc”. These are the people who are too important to vote, or don’t consider anti-corruption an electoral agenda and say nothing of inclusive growth. In fact, most would not even be aware of the need for inclusive growth, and are staunch proponents of the trickle-down theory.

The first India is in a majority as compared to the second India. These are a set of people identical in language and attitudes to the first India. But there is a significant difference, these citizens of the second India are beginning to get frustrated with things as they are, and are just beginning to root for change. The members of the second India club are getting more and more vocal in their demands for clean governance, zero-corruption, effective administration and swift punishment for defaulters. Some of these Indians are beginning to realize the pull of Indian culture, and are increasingly throwing off the western masks for a distinct pro-Indian outlook and identity, with an increasing preference for all things Indian in terms of culture. The second India is the one which is asking the real tough questions — where are we, where are we headed, how to solve these problems, how to clean politics, what is real growth and what is the political alternative?

This, the second India, is an amazingly complex group, as it has many sub-groups with widely diverging views and demographic profiles. The vernacular speaking successful businessman is as much a part of this group as is the anti-corruption brigade. The optimistic go-getter who leaves the first India to try to make a difference in Bhaarat is as much a part of this India as is the Indian-culture-is the-best claimer. The one defining characteristic of this group is that all of them are unwilling to accept the status quo and are rooting for change.

The first two Indias represent the creamy layer, the top 5%. The third India is the set of people who just don’t care, or are a part of the establishment. Here you will find the people who vote their caste. Here you will find the fundamentalists. Here you will find the political class. Here you will find the babus of the government. Here you will find the people who look at the problems, shrug, and move on. Here you will find an easy mobility between the first and the third India; they are in many cases interchangeable. Here you will find both the bribe takers and the bribe givers. Here you will find the I-Me-Myselfers. Here you will find the people who are not in the top rung; who were unlucky to miss out on the advantages of a metro upbringing, or of a top college. Here you will find those urban Indians who just don’t care one way or the other.

And with that, we come to Bhaarat. The only thing common in all the 3 Indias above is that all three don’t care about, or are not fully aware of Bhaarat. It is only in the second India that there is the beginning of an awakening towards Bhaarat and its plight. The First India is not even aware it exists, let alone how it lives. In Bhaarat, you will find the real problems of India. Here you will find the farmer who commits suicide. Here who will find the farmer who cannot make a profit from his farms, and who has to double as a laborer, whose wife has to work as well as whose kids miss school so that the can work and earn to eat and fill their stomachs. Here you will find the starving beggars form Urban India. Here you will find the malnourished children. Here you will find the uneducated and unfortunate, who has nothing to do and nowhere to go. Here you will find the woman who has only 1 saari, sometimes even less. Here you will find bad roads. Here you will find despair. Here you will find hopelessness. Here you will find struggle, a struggle that has no end for generations to come. Here you will find the landless laborer. Here you will find the low-hygiene slums which the first three Indias do everything within their considerable power to avoid thinking of , let alone looking at. Here you will find the villages that still look like time has stopped. Here you will find the real India. And these Indians outnumber the other three Indias by a factor of at least 3 to 1, maybe more.

Unless the three Indias can come together, and take care of Bhaarat, unless the three Indias and Bhaarat can unite as one in political vision, national outlook, attitudes and access to basics like health and education — a developed and superpower India will remain a pipe dream. Unfortunately, The First and Third Indias don’t care; and it is they who have the power. The second India is our only hope, it has the momentum and the will. Let us all do all we can to ensure that all of India stands in solidarity.

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  1. balayogiv

    I remember a wonderful quote
    “Get out of your own way… stop the paralysis by analysis… decide what you want, create a simple plan, and get moving!” – Steve Maraboli.

    Let us not try to over generalize and oversimplify anything in the process of our analysis especially when we are going to end up being judgmental and are doing it in the process of trying to influence mass opinions through the media. The fact is that Indian as a country has immense variety in everything, which is a very interesting and big topic by itself and therefore cannot be confined to fit into our scope of vision which changes according to our own prejudices , especially more so in case of ,some media personalities who use different scopes to see and hear different things sometimes they use telescope, sometimes microscope, sometimes stethoscope, sometimes a binocular, sometimes an ordinary magnifying glass, sometimes dark glasses, sometimes just a mirror etc

    And I would like you to read this link as it talks about the general traits not problems of identity in everyone’s life everywhere and the inadequacies of any perception, incompleteness of any experience and many more things presented in fair depth.

    In fact I wrote this as a New Year message.

    New Year with a New Realization of Reality

    1. vishalvkale

      It is a generalization – but not an over-generalization. The article is based on long observation, and extensive touring in all types of places from Metros to small tiny villages in outlying places like Jhabua, Raigarh, Basti, Maunath Bhanjan etc. I have observed this reality stated above in the past 15 years; there is a clear and present divergence as mentioned above. Is this getting broadened and smoothened? Yes, it is – as I noted in the conclusion. Further, this is actually a follow-up of a much older article, which did not have this resurgent Modern Indian Youth (who I refer to as the second India).

      Fact is that the Metro and Large City individual – as a general rule – has no conceptualisation of village life; you have to be there and experience it and its attendant problems to understand. Fact also is that the babu class exists, as well as those who dont care. Sure they have reasons – some logical – but the fact remains that they dont care! The English-spouting class exists – I was one of them; glued to Hollywood and all things Western; treating all Indian cultural items as second-class. Read opinions on these items in social media – and spot the trend of the commentors. I did. Or read Pawan K Verma’s becoming Indian, which deals extensively with this class. The divisions given above are basis personal observation over a period of 15 years on the move as a sales and marketing professional in MP, UP, AP, Gujarat and Maharashtra – across Mumbai, Pune as well as villages and tehsils like Aunrihar, Gautampura, Sanwer and Ratanpura

    2. balayogiv

      I too was born in a village slum area, studied in a village school and of course went on to travel to many places ,including some other countries in different continents,interact with many human beings from the simple,humble folks to the haughty and mighty, rubbed shoulders with presidents,prime ministers, worked in various capacities and various places speaking different languages including three European ones. But the fact is no one can be omnipresent or omniscient or omnitolerant or omnipotent and unfortunately identities are created by various factors starting from the geographical milieu to the socio-cultural environs to appealing ideology etc and these identities end up framing and forming us and our views of the world

    3. vishalvkale

      That does nothing to change the fundamental point of my article!

      The fact of the matter remains that firstly, the metrosexual person of the Metros of India hasnt even an inkling of the problems of the interiors; this person is aeons away from what we can call Indianness, and is more a caricature (IMO a bad caricature) of the Western stereotype. To these people, inclusive growth means nothing but a waste of time – forgetting that the bottom 40% in our nation has shown even 1% increase in consumption as against the 3% for the others. These people tend to completely ignore the signs of rampant poverty that are to be seen everywhere; speak in flawless English – even in places that have no need for it – like a Chai Ki Dukaan! These people can find nothing good in India, and usually disparage everything Indian, and glorify everything Western.

      Then there is the awakened Indian, as evidenced by the developments of the past 2.5 years – comprising the middle class people – Doctors, Engineers, Advertising Specialists, Marketers, Shopkeepers, Businessmen, Students, Young Professionals who are now frustrated at the current state of affairs.

      Then you have the Babus, the govenment servants, and the others who willingly pay a bribe – denying others and so on and so forth. They are the real culprits that are dragging India down. How difficult is it to say no I wont give a bribe? I havent paid a bribe in years, and have found no problems that I cannot handle! And I am not alone, either! These people are the real criminals in India!

      And then, you have rural India. What I have seen in rural India has shaken me to the core of my being. Then you also have the poor people in the urban sectors – the beggars, the no-hopers, the pavement dwellers. I have seen horrible behaviour from the what I call the First India; brutal steriotypes, and shocking ill-treatment of these people. I have seen apathy, a general all-pervading apathy towards these people. I have seen the toil of landless labourers in fields; I have seen the farmers and other people in villages. I have seen pain and hopelessness in their eyes. I have seen despair in their eyes. I have seen hunger in their eyes.

      And I have also seen genuine happiness and smiles in those same eyes – a smile and happiness that I havent found too often in the First and Third Indias.

      These divisions exists; and are real. Whatever be the reasons- the fact remains that unless the bottom 60% can partake in growth – there can be no hope for improvement in India. And no reason can excuse the Upper Middle Classes and the Richer sections of society for the total apathy and ignorance. It is in front of their eyes – and yet they do nothing

      I have seen a labourer giving a 10-rupee plate of Puri- Bhaaji to a poor beggar – and a car-waalaa shooing away a similar young beggar. And i have seen it not once – but over and over again, hundreds of times.

      I dont find this behaviour forgivable. There can be no excuse. None Whatever – and this is a simple truth, based on cold hard facts.

    4. balayogiv

      Indianness how can you define it? it has many facets. The very fact that Indianness is eroding is because of trying to extrapolate values and mores drawn from the western orientation rather than overall human and humane happiness, benefit and social economic development manifesting model of education,emancipation and governance with enough importance and publicity for all types native cultures and local activities. Here is one important facet of Indianness which we have allowed to get eroded through several means

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