Most of the middle class has been the largest beneficiary of the system on all counts since India’s independence and perhaps even before. On a daily basis, we witness the public being silent spectators of accidents, rape, violence, murder, stalking, road rage and the list goes on and all of us feel outraged at the declining standards of quality of life.

Over the years we, as middle class, have lost our sensitivities to the misfortunes of others and are content with our narrow self-centered issues. We justify our actions on the grounds of fear of being harassed/ targeted or on the rationale that the system does not allow or care for such interventions. So, even after the Nirbhaya outrage, life was back as usual,with no visible impact of the protest.

Every now and then the middle class demonstrate their anguish and anger in some candle light vigil or make a few speeches and engage in discussing and criticizing all its political leaders, security personnel, administration and institutions for all the country-ills from the comfortable environments of our homes over beer or dinners?

While this has become characteristic of Indian ethos, it raises serious questions about the educated middle class responsibilities as citizens, nationalism and our roles in nation building.

Who has to build the nation? Is it the sole responsibility of the political leaders? Can they do that without the active support of the people? If we, as educated, well to do (compared to the majority of the population) privileged people with adequate connections and background do not lead, much less participate, can we expect the poor person, struggling to even the basics of life, be able to stand up against the ills of the country? If the country is on a downward spiral, without the middle class standing up, can this spiral be reversed?

“Democracy Cannot Be Run Without A Strong Middle Class”

It has always been the middle class who have stepped in and led to change the country direction and its development. Allowing leadership to remain in the hands of the miscreants, pursuing narrow myopic objectives, perpetuating lack of transparency, fairness, ignoring ethics, morality etc. or allowing the increasing gap between the haves and have-nots unchecked will only widen the distrust and angst. Even if viewed from a personal selfish perspective, if the downward spiral is allowed to continue, it would only result in further deterioration of society and ultimately end up in a revolution.

It would be unfair to say that the entire middle class is bereft of their responsibilities or concerns. Most of the people are in many ways contributing to the society development in their own fields and careers. Can that be enough or is there a responsibility of people towards the society other than their own efforts?

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Rightfully, one must acknowledge the undeterred efforts by many unheard of individuals, organizations & Institutions who have been working hard on changing the society. They neither get the encouragement nor the financial support to support for the yeoman service they have been doing in their quest to change the gross injustice or violence in the society esp. on issues of women and children. This results in even depleting their resources, energies and enthusiasm over a period of time and turns them into skeptics or reluctant volunteers.

Of all the issues, there are two critical problems that now confront us  – Violence esp. on women and children and apathy of the citizens to intervene to stop the miscreants or tragic issues being witnessed. Do we have to wait for our own to be victimized before we feel outraged? How unacceptable it is to video a women being molested or people beaten by few people when 50 people passively stand by to watch (helplessly?????). It defies logic, ethics, and morals. Displays the basest instincts of human character. More than anything else, these issues that have serious impact on each one of usand should shake us out of our slumber. Yet this has become a daily affair.

People understand the issues and also empathize with the issues but do not know how to act. A case is not being made that everybody needs to get involved (even though that is the most desirable in building a strong happy nation) but there are a number of things we can do that could help tackle these issues:

  • Make it a point to motivate those working on issues even through a small message to endorse our support. That takes only a few minutes.
  • We can certainly take the effort of re-tweeting others initiatives to our circle of friends to make the issues viral.
  • We can offer our expertise by listing our names with those working on issues that we want to support and offer help that would not take more than 4 hours a month. Is such a small contribution not our responsibility?
  • When they organize an event, demonstrate your commitment by showing up. It is not everyday that events are organized. Just participating for even 1 hour could not only help in encouraging people who put in long hours but also highlights the issue for the press to take note and further the cause.
  • We can contribute financially to those working on various issues. As middle class every one has a financial crunch and can only do to a limited extent. One event cannot solve an issue and requires numerous and repeated events to drive change. Contributing even small amounts can help the cause and does not take time from your life. Even if 5 million people gave Rs 100/- each it can go along way.
  • Standing up for our rights and not justify the pragmatic approach of working in the system, itself, can be a big step in the transformation of the country.
  • Being educated, it should be would seem possible for us to engage in debates based on logic and openness to counterviews, evidence presented etc. However, we tend to avoid people with opposite views and/or indulge in emotional rhetoric. We are not open to facts but justify our opinions on experiential antidotes to justify our stand. Then what is our education worth if we cannot take a balanced view of issues?
  • We can avoid substituting showmanship in place of hard work.No country can be built without extensive hard work and discipline. Herein lies the problem of the country.
  • If nothing else, lets show our nationalism by taking the trouble of casting your votes even if we feel the vote would not influence any election. At least we are doing our Dharma!!!!!

“Real Patriotism Is A Willingness To Participate In Reversing The Downward Spiral ”

Nation building is everyone’s responsibilities. Nation building is an exercise that requires citizens to discharge their dharma and actively participate in building its future. We have all become too complacent and demand others to deliver things to us. If we cannot rise above our narrow perspectives and biases or have the courage to demonstrate our outrage, anguish and scientific temper, can we build a strong nation?

The nation needs the middle class to once again rise and put India on a strong developmental track based on trust, honesty, dedication, and fairness. A country that looks forward to shape the future and not bask in the past glory!

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