Opinion » Lead

Updated: May 21, 2013 00:14 IST

The conceit of the anti-democrat

Harish Khare
Comment (100)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

Those who do not subscribe to the elite narrative on corruption are considered politically backward and their democratic choices unworthy of respect

The recent Karnataka Assembly vote has apparently disappointed the self-styled ideologues of the Indian middle class. These baffled theologians are wondering aloud how voters in Karnataka could opt for the very political party against whom the entire middle class had risen to its last MBA. How could the electorate not be influenced by the two-year-old high-pitched campaign against the “corrupt Congress,” launched by the upper middle-class dominated media, both electronic and print? Was not Bangalore one of the epicentres of the anti-corruption dharmayudha, led by the very venerable Santosh Hegde? How could the voters be so indifferent to the corporate-endorsed “good” candidates? There must be something terribly wrong with the poor if they are not buying into the upper middle class quest for the nobility of an honest society.

Perhaps the Karnataka vote has come just in time. For one thing, the vote punctures the self-serving assumption that the entire country subscribes to the Khan Market-centric narrative on corruption and governance. The disappointment among upper middle class theologians is perhaps sharper because it was only four months ago that the great oracle, Thomas Friedman, visited India and announced and hailed the birth of a “virtual middle class” as “one of the most exciting things happening on the planet.” The ayatollah from the land of platitudes and pretensions had predicted that the new “virtual middle class” would dominate and determine the destiny of India! And, now, an unenlightened electorate in Karnataka has proved such a spoilsport. The voters are dismissed by the new arbiters of civic virtues as ethically deficient and politically backward for voting the Congress.

These theologians of the upper middle class supremacy are entitled to their disappointment. But what should be a matter of concern to all who value social fairness and democratic equity is the elite conceit — that those who pride themselves on their new prosperity have achieved their current superior status entirely on their merit, based on individual talent and personally acquired skills, and that these meritorious achievements ipso facto elevate the class to a higher level of nobility, a superior morality, ethics and good taste. These upper middle class ideologues would not want to be reminded that they themselves are a product of an unfair system in an unequal society. But having made it good in this tainted and corrupt system, and having gained access to the global job market, these upper middle class fundamentalists now want the state and its institutions to turn their back on the poor and the have-nots. Any attempt at inclusive politics and economics is suspect in the eyes of these promoters of the elite virtues and values.

For now the middle class ideologues assert that they are entitled to a corruption free political order. Fine. To worry about corruption is in itself a desirable social good. It is even a noble quest. The trouble is that this overweening preoccupation with a corruption-free polity is not so innocent a pose.

The proposition is that so debilitating and so pervasive has corruption become that the nation can and must suspend all its beliefs and, instead, any leader or political party, presumably unstained by corruption, can be safely trusted to take the correct position on grand issues like the nature of economic growth, social order, foreign policy issues, the terms of our relationship with Pakistan or China, the place of the minorities and other weaker sections of society in the scheme of things, nature of federal polity, etc. According to the middle class ideologues, all these contestations — the very core of our political divide — can be relegated to the back burner, and our collective energies should be devoted to a single point agenda of a corruption-free society.

Politicians as only villains

In their over-insistence on corruption, the upper middle class ideologues introduce another distortion: an exclusive focus on political leaders as the sole villains in the corrupt drama. This demonisation of the politician diverts critical attention away from the connivance, criminality and corruption of the business classes in each of the recent scams. If there has been a loot of natural resources, the most obvious instigator and beneficiaries of this unholy scramble are the corporate houses, some dubious and some not so dubious. Yet the middle classes-led narrative would like us to believe that it is only the bent politician who suborns the honest businessman’s ethics. All these innocent gentlemen need to be forced to serve a sentence of hard political education of at least three months in Jharkhand to understand the dynamics of this jugal bandi between the crooked entrepreneur and the corrupt politician.

The disappointment with the Karnataka vote reveals another charming vanity: the media is an honest conveyer of society’s anxieties and anger. Increasingly this claim no longer stands a close scrutiny. Sensitive and vigilant observers of the Indian media are worried about the emerging pattern of media ownership. It is a matter of deep democratic disappointment that none of the self-appointed mullahs of the anti-corruption jihad has ever gathered the personal courage or summoned the intellectual honesty to talk about the unhealthy convergence of media ownership and corporate houses. Nor, for that matter, has anyone dared to point out how judicial indulgence has become readily available to almost every crooked fund collector.

Perhaps the most troublesome arrogance is that these theologians of upper-class and upper-caste superiority have arrogated to themselves the right to speak for the entire range of middle classes. In sociological terms, such claims are totally untenable.

The most numerical component of the “virtual middle class” is a new and different sociological category. For want of a better word, let us call this group the post-slum middle class: this category should include those vast numbers who have just escaped the indignities and ugliness of the slums — shared toilets, open bathing space, and fights over erratic water supply — and have moved into tenements of their own, who now have the financial leeway to send a daughter to high school and a son to a computer centre. It is this group of new citizens who are experiencing for the first time a kind of comfort with some degree of economic sufficiency; and, they may be products of the new market but they still need and depend upon a caring state, a functional police force, an affordable education system, a working health care arrangement.

Certainly the dreams of the post-slum classes are not the same as those dreamt in the cosmopolitan cities’ gated communities, who organise their private security and where the “struggle” is over whether or not to buy admission for the mediocre son in a mediocre Australian university.

Middle class fundamentalists

It is obvious that our desi middle class fundamentalists look upon the American system as the ideal model of rectitude and efficiency, and good governance. They dare us to aspire to these global (read American) standards of good politics. They feel doubly empowered when a visiting American columnist pats our “civil society” for performing all those rites of anger and protest at India Gate. In this narrative, the American political arrangement and the processes are wonderfully free of corruption. What touching innocence. As if the American politicians, despite having spent more than $ 15 billion in the last presidential election, somehow remain immune to the demands of the fund-raisers; or as if successive British Prime Ministers have not reduced themselves to being salesmen for this or that London-based economic interest.

This is not the first time that democratic India has been sought to be imposed upon by an elitist mindset. Behind the breath-taking arrogance of the new anti-corruption jihadists there is a deeply disturbing conceit: if a free and fair electoral exercise does not produce a result to the liking of the upper middle class mullahs, then that very democratic process is not worthy of their respect and is of doubtful legitimacy. This elitist presumptuousness is the very anti-thesis of democratic ethos and deserves to be rejected.

(Harish Khare is a senior journalist and political analyst and a former Media Adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He is currently a Jawaharlal Nehru Fellow)


Being middle class in IndiaDecember 9, 2014

More In: Lead | Opinion

Mr Khare seems to have concluded that we should continue to vote
corrupt people to power and it is okay if people are corrupt so long
as they can practice statecraft. And clean people or even those who
oppose corruption are incompetent. To the ordinary citizen, this seems
perverse logic. Of course, our country has come a long way in debate
about corruption. From what I know of history where a mere mention of
nepotism and pecuniary gains could shock the conscience of the ruling
class (like the Mundhra case) to now, when even lakhs of crores of
loss to the nation is viewed as mere speculation and people wait for
criminal charges to be filed against them to resign. We also have a
head of Government who prefers to discourse on good governance than
act to stem the rot.

from:  Mahadevan
Posted on: May 23, 2013 at 17:46 IST

nice. the article does identify one thing: corruption is a thing for a select class of citizens who are not represented in the political class. That they are part of a growing population who pay taxes can be avoided. They should grateful to be allowed to live in a tolerant society.
Article identifies people crying coarse over corruption as ayatollahas which is interesting[any inflexible stand can be associated with ayatollah?]. Actual raise of the movement that allowed Ayatollaha of Iran to raise was an anti-corruption, anti-imperialistic movement. Next was use of mullah as in 'middle class mullah'. Now this one takes the cake.
Next one is ridiculed aspirations of mediocre people sending mediocre kids to mediocre colleges. That one is true given the mediocre people are so as they are not represented in the political class. How else would one explain elite institutions in this country filled with elite people? Read elite as those represented by political class

from:  kalyan
Posted on: May 22, 2013 at 14:44 IST

I do not understand why so much of time is spent analysing the outcomes of
these elections. Indian voters are almost always anti-incumbent because the mis-
deeds of the ruling parties are perhaps more in focus than that of the opposition
party. In reality, the Congress and the BJP are but two sides of the same coin as the
constant defections from one to the other show. They are both morally bankrupt,
have no internal democracy, lack a firmly articulated vision for India or for that
matter a national political ideology. Both these outfits like the regional parties in
places like UP & Tamilnadu are driven by a bunch of gerontocrats, goons ill-gotten
money and dynastic politics.

Personally, I wouldnt read much into these election results. Because, in reality,
despite India being described as a democracy, there are few real choices for the

from:  V.Suresh
Posted on: May 22, 2013 at 13:07 IST

UPA would be known for its strategic consulting for days to come. They have defined a new form of democracy. A Democracy not identical with the majority rule but a state which recognizes the subjection of the minority good patriotic intelligentsia to the majority of corrupt and unsocial.

from:  Mohanty
Posted on: May 22, 2013 at 10:28 IST

Journalists are sworn to tell the truth as they had seen in the camps they visited. We are perhaps being informed that Congress stigmatizes its opponents by calling them theologians. Honest society will be derided. Middle class does not matter. The ruling party would make sure that there are enough unenlightened electorate such that the party cadre can get reelected. There is recognition of “this tainted and corrupt system” a result of Congress rule for the majority of the six decades of Congress rule. Corruption-free society does not figure on the agenda. We are told that there are many winning slogans like “inclusive politics” to hoodwink the poor and have-nots.

from:  Som Karamchetty
Posted on: May 22, 2013 at 09:39 IST

Great article! Now fast forward to 2014 elections. Imagine a scenario where the poor villagers return the Congress to power — may be the 'tricky fellow' Chidambaram manages to 'lure' the voters with that DTC scheme. Imagine how crestfallen the 'middle class fundamentalists' would get then! I mean, they have more or less already 'anointed' Mr. Modi as the PM. And to those asking —>> yes, of course, Sonia Gandhi pays me a cool 1,00,000 rupees per month. P.S. I think we will see a terrifically fractured mandate in the 2014 general elections and a period of uncertainly akin to 1989 or 1996 ... I don't even remember now but I'm referring to those days when the Vajpayee govt. lasted for 13 days and when V.P. Singh became PM and Chandra Sekhar became PM and then I.K. Gujral and Deve Gowda. Those were the days right! The TV news anchors like Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai, his wife Sagarika Ghose, and SO MANY of their tribe would be SO HAPPY of course if it turns out like that!

from:  Sachi Mohanty
Posted on: May 22, 2013 at 03:57 IST

This is an excellent analysis by Harish Khare. "Behind the breath-taking arrogance of the new anti-corruption jihadists there is a deeply disturbing conceit: if a free and fair electoral exercise does not produce a result to the liking of the upper middle class mullahs, then that very democratic process is not worthy of their respect and is of doubtful legitimacy. This elitist presumptuousness is the very anti-thesis of democratic ethos and deserves to be rejected." I completely agree with this view. In a democracy everyone is equal and that status is affirmed during the electoral process. Self-proclaimed anti-corruption leaders like Kejiriwal, Santosh Hegde ans Subramaniam Swamy need to contest elections if they are genuine about their belief in democracy.

from:  Dr. S. Vijayakumar
Posted on: May 22, 2013 at 01:22 IST

"The proposition is that so debilitating and so pervasive has corruption become that the nation can and must suspend all its beliefs and, instead, any leader or political party, presumably unstained by corruption, can be safely trusted to take the correct position on grand issues like the nature of economic growth, social order, foreign policy issues, the terms of our relationship with Pakistan or China, the place of the minorities and other weaker sections of society in the scheme of things, nature of federal polity"- It is not okay to accept corruption eventhough all the other things are working fine. Our country should prosper in all these fields but without corruption.

from:  Balaji
Posted on: May 22, 2013 at 00:43 IST

The present concerns of the upper middle class citizens and TRP/publicity savvy media houses towards corruption is only an effort to grab the political space. That is why their main aim is politicians even though they know that corruption engulfs every one in this country. However, if they get the political space, they will be worse than those whom they accused of corruption. Karnataka is a very cogent example. As I understand the Anna Team, Kejrival party and Baba Ramdev group all are with similar aim to grab the helm of the nation. But people see through all these nefarious schemes. That is why they are not affected by the publicity as in the case of Karnataka where they have chosen a party which was projected as a most corrupt one. The present efforts of Modi and party also have a similar goal. But I am sure they will not succeed in fooling the people.

from:  Valerian Menezes
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 22:33 IST

Corruption will go from the daily lives of people in India because we
have an open, democratic system and the middle-class needs to be
congratulated for starting an anti-corruption movement. Mr. Khare has
said as much in his piece and may be he should have dwelt on it some
That said, his larger point- that upper-caste and upper-class India is
blind to the lives of the poor and has neither understanding of their
problems nor respect for their judgement has gotten validated by so
many of the comments here.
Congratulations, Mr. Khare for provoking this debate, for again giving
us your nuanced,unconventional wisdom based on a far deeper
understanding of how Indian politics works than simple-minded people
like Chetan Bhagat. And compliments to the Hindu for giving Mr. Khare
a platform.

from:  Dharen Chadha
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 21:44 IST

Whatever his other shortcomings Mahatma Gandhi was a down to earth person with sound common sense and that was why he wanted the Congress party to be disbanded immediately after independence. Anyhow, Nehru proved to be cleverer and we are in the situation we are today- with a farce democracy and totally manipulated elections. For democracy to succeed we need alert and informed decision making citizens. Well yes, the bureaucrats and judiciary are equally to be blamed for the mess we are in because they chose to tread the easier path of sin than virtue. It has taken more than 60 years for the apex court to realise that victims of crimes have to be compensated and that the criminal procedure code has provisions for it!

from:  P M Ravindran
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 20:43 IST

Voters are increasingly being taken for granted. They are being pushed
into corners and are left with few choices. People are also at fault,
they are no more able to understand their priorities.

from:  Javed Mohd
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 20:32 IST

Mr.Khare seems to give out the impression that only the elite middle class, and not the poor, is concerned about corruption. While it is agreed that in India there are many equally pressing issues to be addressed, corruption seems to be fundamental to many other issues. Corruption prevents the benefits of many social programmes reaching the poor who are affected much more than the middle class. Every sensible person knows about the endless level of corruption in almost every transaction involving the government on a day to day basis. Everyone knows that without greasing someone or other’s palms, nothing moves. While many entrepreneurs accumulated wealth illegitimately, could it have been possible without the active connivance of some officials and their political bosses? How did many politicians who are our rulers become multi billionaires in just five years or even less period? Mr.Khare’s views on the burgeoning middle class are quite biased and deserve to be dismissed.

from:  T N Neelakantan
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 19:40 IST

Thanks @Rajesh for pointing out the Chetan Bhagat's article "Why corruption continues to be around despite the outcry against it" in Times of India. Excellent take by Harish Khare. Those who are getting insulted by this article should read Chetan Bhagat article. It makes perfect sense. It is to be remembered that many IAC advocates like Kiran Bedi had a view that the Congress party should be singled out and attacked. This is a flawed approach. For BJP ruled states like Karnataka, MP, Gujarat are not free from corruption. The way Lokayukta is reduced to nothing in Gujarat etc. shows that almost all parties are into corruption. Instead of attacking corruption in a comprehensive way, the IAC tried to attack Congress alone as pointed out by Khare.

from:  Amit Jha
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 18:55 IST

Simple surmises from author's Garbage-in-Print : (i) He advocates a corruption-ridden UPA(ii)Only failed UPA can deliver, no other party can deliver public goods(iii) Newly empowered and highly educated middle class youth is an anathema to him(iv) He just does not comprehend that society has been undergoing a sea-change and youth who have travelled and lived in other countries have seen how citizens are looked after unlike in India where they are treated worse than cattle (v)Someone has rightly commented that in Karnataka people wanted change and they succumbed to the only available option of congress (vi) Story in the centre will be different. Corrupt will be punished by same people. (vii) His diseased mind-set belittles print and electronics media's yeoman's service of reminding public about the truck-load of loot of public funds by UPA to ensure :Public memory is not short.(ix) He says Public servants are not corrupt, business men make them so. Game played by dirty politicians.

from:  Prof K C Mehta
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 18:17 IST

I think the author wants to make a simple yet immensely important
facet of democracy as an institution. The upper middle class
intelligentsia who frequently challenge people and organisations
with regard to corruption,are seen unhappy with the Karnataka
election result and despise the ELECTION, the most healthy
democratic process. The point is clear, self-proclaimed middle class
intelligentsia who allegedly try to save the democracy from
corruption themselves doubt the legitimacy of an election - the most
democratic process in a democracy.

from:  Abhishek Waghmare
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 17:51 IST

Whose money is lost when the national assets are distributed to cronies
at throwaway prices?It is a loss of big money to govt which could have
otherwise used the same for the benefit of
minorities,dalits,farmers,women,backward castes,backward regions etc
etc.Khare,former media adviser to PM Manmohan singh and currently
enjoying the benefits of Nehru fellowship,can not tolerate any hindrance
to the continued loot of the nation by those claiming Nehru legacy.The
sum and substance of his article is to advise the people to ignore the
looting by the UPA. The readers rightly believe that the Hindu is
against corruption.But then they don't understand the quid pro quo for
publishing articles by Khare.

from:  S.Srinivasan
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 17:47 IST

I would like to remind first of all that the Karnataka votes represent how the people have rejected the corrupt BJP and elected Congress. So, they are a depiction of the current Indian mindset. Also, the notion that the current Middle class has fought the existing systems and risen and now it overlooks the poor population is wrong. This middle class furore is only because people who have endured all these hardships don't want others to suffer the same.

from:  Devendra Shukla
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 17:46 IST

Any countries health (be it a democracy, theorcracy, dictatorship,
communism or whatever) depends on three things:

1. Effective and strong government.
2. Effective and strong political opposition.
3. Educated and analytical populace i.e. people who can think about
long-term rather than short-term gains.

India has failed on all three counts. And hence this dire situation of
the country. Mr. Khare should not rejoice on the Karnataka poll results
because it is not that the people support Congress, it is that the
people of this country have no other alternatives! It is akin to
"Vaasraat langdi gaay shahani"(i.e. even a lame cow is smarter among a
group of calves). It is a shame we are in such a situation. I hope
this vacuum is not exploited by rogue elements.

from:  Ponga Pundit
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 17:46 IST

"despite having spent more than $ 15 billion in the last presidential election, somehow remain immune to the demands of the fund-raisers"

Mr. Khare has tacitly agreed that businesses[aka party fund-"donators"] has interests and politicians will appease them. Sad state of affairs. It is safe to assume that that the entire democratic representation has turned into a "for-profit" Industry while the so called ideals like self-less service and noble intentions take a back-seat. Have money? Get good governance [aka mint money]. If not, then move to the nearby queue at the PDS - Outlet.

from:  Vin
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 17:43 IST

It appears to me that the Karnataka election results prove the very point that Khare very
strenuously in colorful language is trying to demolish I.e. that people including slum dwellers,
post-slum middle class and the "despicable" desi middle class "fundamentalists" all want to
throw out parties and candidates who indulge in corruption at the cost of development. Mr.
Khare also omits the entire new generation of youth in his onslaught on the ayatollah

from:  Ramakrishnan
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 17:14 IST

This is unbridled raving and ranting. To give casteist colour to anti-
corruption campaign is intecllectual bankruptcy. Corruption affects the
poorer sections more than the middleclass. Elections are about choices.
in the Karnataka context, Congress was a better choice than BJP. We will
have to wait for people's verdict in 2014.

from:  Balachandar
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 17:00 IST

I don't have some statistics at hand, but there seem to be some assumptions here even without statisitics.
If the win is largely due to lower financial classes (mostly uneducated as can be agreed) , well, they have in some way voted for their seeming betterment, in which I do not call them wrong. I even do not blame Hindu's converting to Christians if in some cases also it brings them out of poverty, so voting for what they THINK is their betterment isn't wrong. Was it a discerning vote? No. Well,even then the middle class should just take it in their stride the fact that the lower financial cannot make that decision for long term prosperity. They live more day to day. We middle class may be peeved, but it is the nature of things. It will be a while when masses truly vote after understanding policies, ideologies and achievements. So we will have to wait.
Simplistically, again, it was just a case of BJP not doing the right thing at the right time...and BTW, Lok Sabha elections remain..

from:  AM
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 16:51 IST

Firstly, This article mentioning Karnataka vote as a disappointment to the upper middle class is not public opinion, but published opinion. Would the Congress have triumphed with out the vote contribution of the mentioned "Virtual middle class"? Yes, there are many problems concerning India. Regional ties with neighbors, women safety etc. But isn't corruption(CAG reports) one of the fundamental problems today? Are the middle class fundamentalists the only people in fight against corruption. Every citizen despite class and creed hopes to see a corrupt free India.The business class is also responsible for the corruption, but isn't it the responsibility of political class to govern corrupt free. As Mr.Khare mentioned, a view of media is to be considered as well.Being the indispensable part, the media needs to be more responsible. Finally,Yes,This elitist presumptuousness(surprising to see from a man of stature of Mr.Khare as given in the article)is the very anti-thesis of democratic ethos

from:  Dileep Raghava
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 16:40 IST

Seems Mr. Khare has become a part of UPA's Bharat Nirman Campaign. The
results in Karnataka were more of BJP's defeat than Congress' victory.
The ruling BJP couldn't contain the Reddy Brothers, Yeddiyurappa and
others despite corruption charges against them and the infighting with
in the party cost BJP dearly. Mr. Khare is an example of the typical
Indian mentality of leg-pulling. At least Anna and his team, whatever
their intentions, mobilised the middle class who make up almost 80 p.c
of our population. Besides, most of the politicians are businessmen.
Buying every vote and then indulging in some shady deals to recover
the amount lost in buying a vote.

from:  Nikhil
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 16:39 IST

After reading the comment I get the feeling that the author is fully convinced that only Congress is Corrupt.

Also we understand why BJP has lost in Karnataka and we are not shocked. We expected this result. .. Also author says that only middle class is bothered about corruption.. Very funny views..

from:  K Ravi
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 16:27 IST

Dear Mr. Harish Khare,
As an active member, booth volunteer and citizen campaigner for the Loksatta party, I can tell you that our party leaders and nominees have a vision that transcends elitish conceit, is genuinely inclusive and encouraging of aspirations of all classes. Their excellent educational qualifications, extensive public service credentials give them the expertise to solve problems for all citizens. Surely, you are not suggesting that such enlightened elitism NOT be harnessed for the benefit of the entire electorate.

from:  Sriram Chadalavada
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 16:17 IST

Mr. Khare, a great analysis of the present democratic situation. But these are some of your wrong assumptions:
1. Assumtion: Voters voted for congress, in spite of all allegations of different scams on congress.
Reality:The reality is voters voted against BJP as they had bigger charges of corruption if only Karnataka is viewed.
2. Assumption: Upper middle class does not think and does not reject the lower classes.
Reality: Rejection is done by politicians and media gurus.

Everything you stated about media both electronic and print, I agree completely to them.

from:  SZ
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 16:03 IST

I live in Bangalore. Yes, I participated in many of the Anti-
Corruption marches two years. Yes, I am middle-class. Yes, I feel the
Congress is very corrupt at the center.
No, I did not feel surprised that the Congress has won Karnataka. In
fact, I cheered it. Because the BJP was even more corrupt. Most of my
friends/colleagues (all middle-class people) in Bangalore feel the
same way. Everybody feels it will be a good lesson for the Congress in
2014, not to sweep corruption under the carpet and take decisive
I don't know where Mr.Khare gets the idea that anti-corruption activists are upset at Karnataka results. Perhaps some BJP guys in New Delhi are but for the actual middle-class in Karnataka, it is a feeling of good riddance.

from:  Ashok
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 15:50 IST

The moment I saw the name of the author, I know exactly what the article is all about. I preferred to read the comments directly which I throughly enjoyed.
Nice one guys...

from:  shekhar
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 15:41 IST

first,everyone knoews that he write to defend UPA.As he clearly
knows that middle class is totally fed up with UPA and all of its
He seems frustrated with these things and hence venting his anger
here to show his support for his masters.And also criticizing the
civil society,it seems that people like never want reform in
india,he will never recognise the contribution of these groups in
indian politics as they harm the interset of people like him.
At one time he states that middle class never experienced the
difficulties and in his opinion living comfortably then GURUJI
tell us why they are fighting and for whom????
Show some maturity if you are writing for the hindu

from:  vijay
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 15:32 IST

As per Chetan Bhagat, a self-styled ideologue of the Indian middle class, Indian middle class itself is a subset, i.e., Hindu upper caste upper class is the Indian middle class. Chetan Bhagat argues that the Hindu upper caste upper class is the only emancipated class who dreams of a farer and honest India. Rest of all, Dalits, OBC's, Minorities are not emancipated and are not interested in taking corruption as the main agenda. He further alleges that Dalits, OBC's, Minorities are mere vote banks, and it is them who voted Congress in Karnataka to power. When Dalits are killed on a daily basis, when Dalits are killed for peeling off a cows skin by the emancipated upper castes, when Dalits are killed for daring to fall in love with an upper class person, when Dalits are raped as an act to retain caste supremacy, how is it that the emancipated upper class upper caste expecting Dalits to take up anti-corruption as the main agenda? Why not the upper class upper castes take up the issue of caste.

from:  Roopesh P Raj
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 15:18 IST

I am not an elite in your league but a common middle class person
trying to climb up the economic ladder through ethical, honest and
legal means. I guess in your democratic world, there is space for my
opinion too. You are right on some counts but erred on many.
1. The voters punished corruption of BJP in Karnataka and they in all
likelihood will punish the massive loot at the Center. In that sense
the "anti-corruption jihadist" have succeeded for the better.
2. Social inclusiveness has to be done by enabling people through
education, health-care and productive jobs and not by enacting laws
and handling doles for non-asset-building work with 80% leakages to
the middle-men.
3. If BJP wins in Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi,
would you commend the people of that those states/ would your logic
then change and negate the theme of the article.
4. You have negated yourself by using fundmentalist language against
those who have a different view from yourself

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 15:13 IST

Mr. Khare should have waited for another year to make such an
analysis. The Karnataka vote clearly showed anger against corruption
and inept governance. More importantly, the electorate - compromising
middle class and not so middle class - as no sympathy for this or that
party. Middle class is no more a hostage to pseudo nationalist
ideologies of BJP or claims of being natural party of governance by
the Congress. It is unfortunate that senior commentator like Mr. Khare
is missing this point. Or is he disturbed that people no more have
swearing commitments for any political party or leader or ideology?
One may not like it but this is the political reality of India today,
denial of which will serve no purpose Mr. Khare! His entire emphasis
seems to purposefully shield the Union Government and blame the middle
class. However, as the people are becoming politically assertive and
decisive in their mandates,tactics of dividing people by abusing the
middle class will not work anymore......

from:  Parimal
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 15:06 IST

Mr. Khare's polemic against that anti-corruption movement is troubling
at many levels. That the movement is lead by intellectuals makes it
inherently elitist for him. How does he assume that the poor are
unconcerned about corruption?. After all, they are the ones who
suffer the consequences of a corrupt society, the most. He seeks to
invalidate the widespread disgust with corruption by calling it an
obsession. The election result in Karnataka is not the failure of the
fight against corruption. The mature Indian electorate has once again
shown the door to one set of corrupt politicians and given the
alternative a chance. Mr. Khare's problem with the anticorruption
movement is that it is not lead by Dalit leaders. For him, it appears,
if it does not advance Dalit leadership in society, it must not be

from:  Lakshmanan Krishnamurti
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 15:01 IST

Author is certainly right in criticizing the hypocrisy of upper middle class regarding corruption and free governance. Recent movement on corruption held politicians and bureaucracy completely responsible for the country's plight, which however may not be entirely true. However, author sorts of underestimates the benefits free governance can bring in today's context. Media and corporate misdeeds can be put in check if only there is a proper government both at the state and central level.

from:  kalyan
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 14:55 IST

Agree with some comments here that the author of the piece himself is articulating
a very fundamentalist position by dumping the entire middle classes into one
He is himself deprecating others that take a different standpoint. In a democracy, there are bound to be differing interests and points of view. Admittedly, it is bad taste when one group starts to lambast the other as "backward", but given our feudal past (and present), what else does one expect?
The central point which deserves recognition in the article however is our
overemphasis on incorruptibility. Let us recognize that power corrupts and those that haven't had it obviously have a clean vest. But, incorruptibility alone does not guarantee good governance.
We recall the BJP's "India Shining" campaign which fell flat in rural India. I believe that the Hindu had written a prophetic article in the runup saying "If the BJP fails, then Mr. Vajpayee should visit the villages of AP..."

from:  Vivek
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 14:52 IST

Mr. Khare's venom against the middle-class is not surprising - but is certainly distressing. His use of such words as Ayatolla, mullahs, jihadists is ample proof of his arrogance. Why does he feel that the middle-class / upper middle-class cannot have a strong desire for a corruption-free society and why can't they form a pressure-group to campaign for their ideas, and why shouldn't they feel disappointed if their campaign did not yield results? I find his views farcical and utterly condemnable.

from:  Phaneendra
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 14:44 IST

I just read that article and I find a very very angry man writing it. Because of usage of words like Mullahs, jihadists and what not for anti corruption middle class. He calls middle class as theologians? Is that even makes sense? Anti corruption people are being maligned the same way congress maligned people who talk about Hindu rights and dubbed them as communal people. Why Mr. khare is so anti american when our constitution is part copied from USA, why don't congress change that? What is wrong with USA politicians seeking funds from corporates atleast they are collecting it by corruption. And how Mr. khare protrays middle class as upper caste people is just deplorable. Another tactic of divide and rule of congress. The thing is as long people get rich and move up the society they are not bound by congress politicians in populist schemes like other people and this is just scary for congress and is evident from these violent articles.

from:  harsh V
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 14:33 IST

Atleast Mr.Friedman's platitudes are pleasing to the ear.Mr.Khare however, deals in pure drivel.

from:  Saravanan
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 14:22 IST

I m seeing repeated commnets saying Karntaka voting against corruption. Seems this is nothing but innocence of commenters. corrupt was not an issue,is not an issue, will not be an issue in Karnataka.
Remember Yediyurappa garnered 10% votes and BSY around 2% even after accusations of corruption in mining sector and land allocation.
Split in BJP helped Congress, nothing else.

from:  ravi c
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 14:06 IST

"economic growth, social order, foreign policy issues, the terms of
our relationship with Pakistan or China, the place of the minorities
and other weaker sections of society in the scheme of things, nature
of federal polity, etc. According to the middle class ideologues, all
these contestations — the very core of our political divide — can be
relegated to the back burner, and our collective energies should be
devoted to a single point agenda of a corruption-free society."

According To Mr Khare the government which get rids of all these above
mentioned issues is entitled to accompanying corrupt members, but as a
matter of fact he forgets that only getting rid of the corruption
might have resolved most of these issues.

from:  john
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 13:27 IST

The way, the upper middle and middle class Indians view the lower class is no
different that how Mr. Khare himself and his series of articles regard the rising
middle class - "Politically Illiterate" and "Obtuse". I can't find a better example of
hypocrisy than this. How is his unconditional and unparalleled support to UPA
different from his claims of the upper middle class and media's support to NDA?

from:  Siddharth Pandit
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 12:50 IST

When the K'taka vote was anti-corruption-centric, the author assumes that the vote was pro-Congress!

from:  aluruchandra
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 12:38 IST

In this article, the author tries to deflect part of the blame for
corruption on to the business class. While it may be true that you
need to hands to clap, we have to remember that by definition,
businessman will be profit-motivated and more often than not, he may
not mind adopting even fowl means for it. However, leaders who are in
the government are "supposed to be" motivated by the desire to serve
the public. So, if they are true to their genuine calling, they should
refuse to be corrupt and then businessman will be forced to be honest.
So, I would think the major blame must lie at the door of the
political class.

from:  kishor kulkarni
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 12:34 IST

Mr. Khare, the Lok Sabha Elections are yet to happen and it would be a premature
conclusion on achievements of UPA. Congress gaining electoral majority cannot be
attributed to its own merits (if it has any), instead it won because of BJPs imbroglio. Your
article has portrayed as if we are blessed to have a govt. like UPA. Somehow, I always find
your articles very amusing. Thanks again for helping me have my first laugh of the day.

from:  Sunil Tomar
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 12:30 IST

Excellent analysis by Mr. Harish Khare. Very aggressive and valid
points. And Kudos to The Hindu to publish the same!

from:  Ravi KV
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 12:28 IST

Nothing can explain Harish Khare's stance better than the title of his
article. The gist of his argument is that any person who wishes for a
corruption free government, is arrogant, anti-democrat, upper middle
class and American sympathiser. His hatred for America and middle class
made his thought process wander aimlessly, making his article a bundle
of contradictions and uncalled for sermons.

from:  Suresh Naig
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 12:28 IST

This is a nice fashion to blame middle class for everything. Must remember congress won in Karnataka only for one reason TINA (There is no alternative). It seems the middle class has created this unequal society and when all middle class vanish India will be an equal society. A favorite pastime in "secular" media is to blame middle class for everything right from riots till election results. Wild and generic assumptions like middle class supports American system and this and that is wrong. We all know America is a country sold to corporate and equivalent to a banana state. On what basis author makes his assumption that if some result is not to middle class liking us doubt democracy is unclear. It is more to do with his mindset of blaming middle class for everything wrong in this country. As per ownership of media and its fairness less said is better. Anybody having some sense can easily feel the bias depending on whether owners want them to be communist, capitalist and so on.

from:  Abhinav Kumar
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 12:09 IST

An excellent rebuttal of Chetan Bhagat's mediocre article that appeared
in the Times of India, "Why corruption continues to be around despite
the outcry against it". Chetan Bhagat is a toddling kid, know nothing
of what he says. His definition of upper middle class is upper caste
upper middle class. He brackets minorities and dalits as the spoil
sport. To appreciate Khare's article, one must first read Chetan
Bhagat's article.

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 12:08 IST

2014 is coming soon. The same fate UPA government will face for
corruption as BJP faced in Karnataka Assembly Elections. Corruption is
not the only issue of so called "virtual middle class".

Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 11:49 IST

Why the surprise? India's starving, illiterate, defecating-in-the-open
are carefully cultivated vote fodder. The view here merely adumbrates
the criticism of Demosthenes in the World's "oldest" Democracy:

from:  S. Suchindranath Aiyer
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 11:45 IST

The drubbing that the BJP got was because of their infighting and corruption and all the classes - the middle as well the others more or less punished the party as is evident from a mammoth 14% swing away from its vote share. A 2% positive swing is all what the Congress could manage, despite its so called empathetic stand to the not-so-privileged classes (read as populist schemes). Thus corruption and governance is an election issue and any attempt to interpret the results so as to legitimize the corruption of the INC at the centre sounds so hollow.

from:  nithinkrishnashenoy
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 11:40 IST

I wonder which source Harish used to infer that Karnataka assembly election result was a disappointment for many, especially the conceited upper middle-class and upper-caste jihadists (as he calls them). In fact, the result was pre-scripted by the majority of people soon after Yeddyurappa's involvement in corruption was reported. People did vote against corruption and certain class of politicians. It is a pity that most of the politicians belong to that class in India today. When you have to make a choice between Haris and Hareesh, you choose the same person despite deriving the pleasure of having chosen a better person.

from:  VMN Sharma
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 11:35 IST

Brilliant take on Chetan Bhagat's childish article.

from:  Roopesh
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 11:30 IST

As per the gist of comment in italics in the artical by Mr Harish Khare , the ruling class can be called POLITICALLY BACKWARD and their democratic choices unworthy of respect.It is a most unfortunate situation in the country.

from:  pandharpurkar tilak sharmapts
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 11:29 IST

Another biased article. What more can be said about Mr. Khare. No matter how much he tries to sound sensible, he is always biased towards Congress.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 11:20 IST

Why does Mr. Khare not highlight the corrupt practices of the UPA
Government and instead train his guns on the middle class for
focusing on corruption? The UPA Government should have ensured that
corrupt businessmen do not corner state resources like spectrum and
coal at throw away prices. If these resources were to have been
properly auctioned there would have been huge resources to be
allocated to pro-poor programs.

That the people of karnataka have given a decisive mandate to the
principal opposition is good for democracy and appreciated by
everyone including the anti-corrupt crusading middle class.
If the people were to have elected the divided and corrupt set of
incumbents it would have meant more of the resort politics and deal
making that embarrassed the state in the last 5 years.

If Mr. Khare is to be seen as an independent and bipartisan analyst
he must also write expressing outrage over corrupt practices of the
UPA Government and ruling party.

from:  Sampath
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 11:19 IST

Mr Khare has lost all sense of perspective. Karnataka elections was a vote against
corruption, but of the BJP. His armchair sociology of the middle class reveals a trait
common to metropolitan 'intellectuals' who make sweeping generalisations from the
impressions they form in the course of their hectic travel from one global city to
another. He almost comes close to defending corruption and legitimising it in his
efforts to denigrate the sanctimonious segments of the anti corruption brigade.

from:  M N Panini
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 11:13 IST

Mr Khare, now in JNU, is typical of the elite he talks about. But lets not forget that its all about allies in electoral politics and the Congress is a gonner without them, as we can see even now. Given the demographics of India where the middle-class is not a majority, it is still the swelling mobs who are bribed with sops and subsidies while the nation bleeds, whose vote will count. Democracies only work when an educated, aspirational middle-class holds the majority share of votes. The so-called masses get packed into their respective vote-banks of caste and religion in most of India perpetuating the saga of backwardness. While the middle and upper-middle classes live in their bubble and can only complain now and then.

from:  Neeta
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 11:13 IST

Mr. Khare has got it all wrong. Or is his stance to sell his paper?
Karnataka has overwhelmingly voted against corruption. One must congratulate the
electorate that it has not fallen a prey to the thinking of the likes of Mr. Khare that if
the Congress is corrupt under the leadership of the all mighty SoniaG at Delhi, it will
also be more corrupt than the BJP in Karnataka.

from:  Sudhir Jatar
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 11:10 IST

Why is Khare ranting incoherently about this middle class preoccupation with corruption? When did Tom Friedman become the poster child of Indian urban middle class. Friedman's best buddy, Nilekani is now a part of the UPA which Mr Khare seeks to defend strenuously. If Mr Khare's barbs are against the likes of Kiran Majumdar, and Mohandas Pai, who had the temerity to back an organization which blessed clean candidates, then they are not upper middle class - after their success as entrepreneurs. Further, going by removal of tainted ministers at center and AP, the Congress has taken the Karnataka election as mandate for un-corrupt administration and clean governance. Mr Khare should first consult his political masters first before coming up with these imaginative defenses of corruption accused. Who are these middle class mullahs who are seeking American style government? Where did they express their disappointment? In all of this why is there not one word in support of good governance?

from:  vishwas
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 11:05 IST

Probably the lower class, which constitute marginal farmers,
unemployed, rural common man and backward classes, and who dominate
the electorate, do not think corruption is an issue of urgent address
for them. For them inclusive growth, policies favoring them and
providing them benefits are more important. No doubt UPA policies are
more biased towards such class. Food Security, NREGA, health
policies, more secularism etc provide an edge to Congress as compared
to parties with industrial or communal biased agenda.

from:  rahul
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 10:51 IST

Mr Khare has drawn a conclusion that he wanted to draw .. and spun a story around it to his liking. Nice work of fiction.

The logic is more on the lines of joke when santa said water mixed with whisky or water mixed with vodka or water mixed with gin makes me dizzy .. so CONCLUSION avoid water

from:  Jaskirat Singh
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 10:51 IST

The article conveys it well that corruption should not be the only key to judge a
government as it is perceived by middle class but you might have missed the point
that in Karnataka the verdict was anti BJP and that went in favour of congress. And
why that was anti BJP, because people were taking into consideration the recent
scams done by ministers in Karnataka.
So again in Karnataka, it boiled down to same theology of uprooting a corrupt
government. However this is unfortunate that the other option they chose, which was
perhaps because they discarded first option, might prove to be worse when weighed
against their criteria of corruption free government.
Having said that I am not supporting any political party, but I want to emphasize that
"people lack the option to chose." and hence they discard and verdict goes in favor of
those who was not discarded which doesn't always mean that he was favored by

from:  Vikas
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 10:21 IST

Another excellent article by Mr.Harish Khare which hits the nail on the head! The middle class "activists" who have fattened their bank balances and raised their style of living thanks to the liberalisation of Dr.Singh are the ones that attack the ruling dispensation with venomous virulence, and go soft on corporates.
The standard response of this mob to the Karnataka results is that "oh we exepected it" conveniently forgetting that the Modi magic was a flop show.
Mr.Khare has rightly pointed out the judicial indulgence which is increasing with each passing day, not to mention the maximalist view of the CAG who did only a financial audit of the NDA regime, but thought it fit to do a policy audit for the UPA regime.Even constitutional functionaries like to play to the "middle class" gallery.
The middle class jihadists, as the author rightly points out are rude, make indecent remarks and derogatory comments.Their "mullah" is the bearded ruler of Gujarat!
Keep up the good work Mr. Khare

from:  C Balachander
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 10:12 IST

The article makes an interesting reading, concern of the author that one issue
agenda of elimination of corruption from India, is misplaced. There seems to severe
disconnect between people of so called Bharat and India. Has always in any election
people in rural hinderland decides who rules the country or nation, for the corruption
is one of the issue. Middle class is right in concerned about corruption in political
system, but same middle class reaped the fruits of globalisation. Middle class is
selective about corruption in higher places but they have not guilt when they
download pirated movies and other stuff.

Middle class influence in India will be always limited to urban areas, it will not cut
much ice with the rural heartland. Time has come to address this disconnect

from:  S.Velmurugan
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 10:11 IST

I am aghast at the supremely mocking tone of this article pregnant with arrogant
hypocrisy! I had thought that the previous article by Mr. Harish Khare was a new low.
But he has since disproved me. The sad and the most crucial point is that all sections
in India, whether high or low, or rich or poor and all things in between want a clean
and honest country. Mr. Khare's does not even understand this basic truth. His
column is full of "sound and fury signifying nothing".

from:  G Parameswaran
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 10:08 IST

My response to Mr Khare : 1. Corruption is an issue and Karnataka has voted against corruption. The choice among the five parties had to fall upon Congress on the TINA factor. The BJP/KJP was perceived to be more corrupt within the state than Congress and Congress’ corruption in the centre was more of a non-state issue. 2. In Himachal the Dhumal government corruption was affecting the state more than the Veerabadhra factor as that was perceived to be a central and a non state issue. 3. In the Lok Sabha election corruption will be an issue and the parties that take this as serious and critical and adopt appropriate strategies will benefit. Congress is bound to regress as anti incumbency and the cloud over corruption hangs squarely on its head. 4. The people of this country notwithstanding Mr Khare’s middle class fundamendalists will vote against corruption but since the choice is limited the parties that offer a credible alternative like giving tickets to good candidates will win.

from:  t n vaidyanathapura
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 09:59 IST

One must take lesson from the last such "anti-corruption movement" took
place,i.e. Bofors scandal. Has anyone being punished yet? How many
parties ruled India using that issue?
One must look at who is running the circus with a remote control and
what is their motivation. Whether they are as corrupt as ones they claim
to fight against or they have recently kicked out via elections for
being corrupt?
Why they are hiding behind NGOs and "social workers"running the show?

from:  Sanjay Misra
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 09:44 IST

There are "the self-styled ideologues of the Indian middle class" in media - popularly called "columnist" or "veteran Political Analyst" who fit the description as depicted by Shri Khare! They and their "indignant" followers occupy the most space in media discussion, writings and give a erroneous impression that their voice and opinions are the "popular" and "mainstream" ones and should matter the most in framing social programs of the govt and political parties! I am surprised at the vicious way they attack contradictory voices and opinions , lampoon all pro-poor programs and institutions as populist and wasteful and taunt/insinuate any person(deserving or undeserving) who rises from his lower birth's status as corrupt, incapable and a shame and undignified eye-sore for them! AND On-line edition of Newspapers, even a progressive newspaper like The Hindu, also puts of invisible "moderation" to block the voices that may sound offensive to this class of viewers and readers!

from:  Haradhan Chandra Mandal
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 09:43 IST

Excellent analysis, Mr. Khare! And thanks to The Hindu for publishing this - given the links of various media houses to certain people/groups. Its high time this breed of fundamentalists are shown their place and develop a better understanding of the real society.

from:  Thomas
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 09:34 IST

The underlying themes of this article is :
1. My ex-boss's party has won against all odds.
2. The MBAs and their likes are armchair activists and hence nothing is going to be changed by them.
3.Not all politicians are bad but all corporate houses have an eye for the fast buck.
Harish, politcians are elected by the people (gullible or not) to protect the interests of the owners of the land (people). Corporate houses are in the business of amassing wealth for the individuals who own such enterprises and they will try to get away from paying taxes, duties, fair price for the produce, minimum wages to the workers and so on. Elected politicians should protect us from these predators. Yedduarppa and Gali brothers formed an unholy alliance and BJP was punished (by a swing of -14%).
Congress got elected by default and not by a positive vote. Assuming that the common man/woman has ignored or condoned the corruption in Congress is a wrong notion.

from:  mani sandilya
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 09:28 IST

To say that poor people of India do not want a corruption free society is naive. While
the elitist middle class for whom Petrol subsidy is absolute necessity but food
subsidy is populism, can afford to talk about high sounding ideals and even vote on
that basis in some circumstances the poor simply can't. If the author has made an
attempt to find the voting pattern in village, he would have known that so much is
made of the winnability of a candidate. Congress victory was not a blow to anti
corruption aspirations of Indians but a reality check. It was due to lack of any
winnable candidate with good backgrounds. It was between three evils and evil at
state level always trumps evil at centre. Congress victory was for the least evil among
the three. Nothing more and nothing more should be made out if it.

from:  Sam
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 09:02 IST

The author seems to have tried all the tricks in the book to generalize
and smear the K'taka success to the entire C party...everyone knows the

I guess articles of scorn and of concealed agenda are a waste of time!

Talking abt the the election speeches of 80s and
90s...except few dates..the same can be used even in much so
for the upliftment!

from:  Bala Pavan
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 09:01 IST

Mr Khare, You are being elitist. You want us to accept the status qou, hence the rule by congress.

from:  suneel
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 08:47 IST

While i agree with the author, I wonder if this article is actually going to be read by
the people you are talking about. This article is going to be of any interest only to
those of us who are sitting on the fence (neither here, nor there - assailed by doubt).
Which is quite a pity, as you make some really interesting points.

from:  Mayank
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 08:46 IST

It is the same middle class whom Khare decries which led the freedom struggle with a successful conclusion. Our democracy is still blossoming and when more people become middle class, only then will it mature and demand accountability from the ruling elite comprising the netas, babus and business. Until then we will have to slog on, keeping the likes of Khare happy.

from:  narasimhan
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 08:45 IST

I totally endorse the line of thought of Harish Khare. The self styled meritocrats gamed the system to establish a Mutual Admiration society based on the twin pillars of nepotism and favouritism. I wonder how many of the candidates backed by Mohandas Pai and Kiran Shaw Mazumdar won. More than that, it will be instructive to know how many of the constituents who form the audience of these two worthies, cast their votes.

I wish Harish Khare had used his writing skills, subtly sarcastic, to counter the detractors of Dr.Man Mohan Singh when he was assisting the latter as his media advisor

from:  R.Sundaram
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 08:43 IST

To the Hindu,
The last time Harish Khare wrote an article on CBI autonomy and you would have seen the
comments from people. The essence is that, he does not substantiate his sentences with any proof.
His articles more or less look like a 20 mark essay question answer or rather a thesis which stays
in the library. We need practical suggestions or atleast examples. Only rhetoric does not serve any

from:  Rajesh Reddy
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 08:16 IST

How many belong to the upper middle class, mostly the highly paid politicians and
government employees in high places. The hard working law abiding tax paying
middle class has stopped casting their votes. The only ones casting the votes are the
people who are being paid and transported like cattle in trucks to the voting booth.
Come on please do not talk ill about the educated and law abiding citizens. As for
Karnataka it is only one state. Every state that congress supported has more scams
but all covered up.

from:  Anjaneyul
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 07:54 IST

I wonder why this esteemed author who is unhappy with the attitude of middle class, never writes anything against or even mildly critical of Congress. If only this was some other state, and was about some other party, he would have spit venom. 'The Hindu' is doing itself no good by publishing such overtly biased pieces. So moral of the story is that 'you shouldn't ask for a corruption less society, as there are bigger issues that plague the country. the so called corrupt leaders might actually be experts at something else. Who will do that stuff if we axe them accusing them as corrupt?' . Middle class shouldn't protest against anything, obviously!, how can they! .. they are have exploited the inequalities in the society and benefited from it.

from:  Kalyan
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 07:45 IST

The author has stated the e.g. of karnataka, the middle class don't have much choice on which party they should vote. They have choosen the less corrupt party of the two/three when considered the state issues. Hence i feel we have still voted less corrupt people. If the election would have held for loksabha people would have given a different mandate. In 1977 it self people have voted against autocratic people. Instead of scolding the elite the author had to talk about how big parties can give ticket to more serving people.

from:  Rajesh Kumar N
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 07:37 IST

Sincere request to the HINDU editor , please dont publish such Biased
article . The same renowned guy wrote many OPINIONS in THE HINDU till
date POST UPA-I and I dont think even one of them is accepted by its
readers with dignity. This article is just a critique of Entire Middle
Class Philosophy without discussing the importance of such philosophy
. AND GOD , THIS IS NOT THEOLOGY !!! We are discussing about
CONGRESS . This article dint discuss about CASHFLOW during
elections. It dint discuss about smuggling of liquor and other stuff
during election. All it finally showed that THE ENTIRE MIDDLE CLASS IS
MIDDLE CLASS people dont think about National Economy , Foreign Trade
etc and only discuss about Corruption . But , when the National
Exchequer is losing Lacks of Crores to this corrupt politicians and
businessman, thats the only important issue

from:  KSVM Koundinya
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 07:22 IST

All the problems plaguing the Elite classes minds were neatly summarized but no solution to the present embroil was suggested...

from:  K.Prashant
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 06:39 IST

What a pathetic writer this guy is. I couldn't understand the point of
this whole article. The anti-corruption noise going on is being done by
"upper middle class - upper caste people"? Disappointed to see Hindu publishing such a senseless

from:  chinmay
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 06:33 IST

It seems like an article out of the fantasies of the author, for he
has declared that their is elitist "virtual"-middle class that seems
to have created demand for a corruption free society. Isn't it in
interest of India's poor that India becomes a corruption free society.
BJP removes a tainted chief minister just an year before elections and
takes a gamble but still looses so badly.
If you are suggesting Pakistan and China are bigger issues than
corruption, well then aren't you degrading the very basic issue that
affects every Indian may he be of the virtual middle class or the poor
from the slum.
In Punjab Akalis won even when the locals are well aware of the
rampant corruption and goonda raj. Its time the rural India wakes up
and realizes that we are going down the drain with mandates like

from:  Arjun Kaushal
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 06:17 IST

Harish Khare ,this time around has got it wrong. While his disdain, typical of the ruling elite,for the middle classes is not new, what he has chosen to gloss over is that it is the same middle class which is responsible for the rout of the BJP.Remember the BJP lost in Bengaluru. The people in Karnataka were sick of the double dealing and corrupt BJP leadership in the state. The results and I suspect Khare knows that would have been different had the elections been for the Lok sabha.

from:  anil kotwal
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 06:11 IST

Mr. Khare sounds very angry that middle class people should care about corruption. Congress won an election by buying more votes than the other party -- is this any evidence that corruption is not a problem?

from:  Raju Rajan
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 06:02 IST

After a very long time, a sensible article by Mr.Khare.
he makes some very valid points.

from:  Krishna
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 05:23 IST

what a depth you have sunk to?
you are worse than our politicians. what makes you worse is that you are
assuming an apolitical avatar. you castigated every body except the
officialdom; may be a lingering affection to the tribe that you belong

from:  raj
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 05:11 IST

This article is written in just as extremist a spirit as the writer
hypocritically seems to resent. The gist of which is that - India should
aspire to the lowest common denominator and should not make hard choices
so necessary for its long term health of its economy. These are the
kinds of people - that resent India sending satellites into space and
insist on keeping Railway fares at the same rates since 1960s.

The author should go read Ayn Rand!

from:  Sanket Korgaonkar
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 03:30 IST

This is an illogical article. So, does the writer say it is OK for a party to be corrupt as long it can win a democratic election? The conflict is not between corruption and democracy - a country, state city or village can be – and should be – democratic and at the same time, not-corrupt. The writer skillfully presents a false choice between “corruption” and “democracy” as if they are mutually exclusive, and says condemning corruption is anti-democratic and is therefore elitist. Yes, the election in Karnataka was democratic, but yes, the winning party was also corrupt. In this case, it is the duty of right thinking people to stand up and say, yes, you won the election, but we do not condone your corrupt past. That is an honorable, not elitist position. By the way, it is not clear why the writer drags in the name of USA into his twisted unreason.

from:  Mukundagiri Sadagopan
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 02:38 IST

If this author is a senior journalist and a politican analyst for the Prime Minister of India, then I despair for India's future. This is nothing but a shrill, demented put down on U.S. and U.K. India will be blessed if its politicians are half as honest as American politicians. This article comes across as an immature defense of criminal activities of corrupt politicians of India.

from:  K. Raghunathan
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 02:11 IST

A brilliant article, sir. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

This 'conceit' is turning into a self-righteous monster.

from:  Neeraj Dikshit
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 02:04 IST

So, education makes you stupid. Surely this is in line with the Congress strategy of keeping people poor and ignorant so they can be manipulated using caste and socialistic rhetoric. Unfair advantage came from private education. Govt schools which created that middle class of the 60s/70s are now useless. The society has become more unequal and even poor try to some how afford private schools. Who do we blame for this growing inequality in education, surely not corrupt politicians.

US system has loopholes (some deliberate). But in last 5 years, a very powerful senator went to prison for 5 yrs for corruption involving a paltry sum of $2,50,000. He was 85. Another house member who was a decorated Vietnam pilot was sent to prison because he was living on a boat owned by a defense contractor. Both were from ruling party.

The article should have focused on the aristocratic elitists who are really to blame : Chidambaram, Sibal etc. They seem to really know what the poor want.

from:  ashok
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 01:37 IST

I understand the ire of Mr. Khare towards the today's urban affluent, who look at the American model as the beau ideal since they benefited from it, and who are the beneficiaries of globalization.

With no shame, they attribute their success to their intelligence -- and their DNA -- while their success is largely on account of their access to resources, contacts, networking, and their urban exposure ahead of others.

But the same thing can be also said about the Indian leftists and Marxists of the Nehruvian era who only had total contempt for India's contribution to literature, philosophy, psychology, and ethics, statecraft... ... Mr. Khare would recognize the damage these people inflicted on India.

India needs the courage to develop governance and social priorities inspired by the conditions on India's resources, demographics, culture, and history, This is unlikely to happen given India's education system. India will only be swinging from one extreme to the other.

from:  Kollengode S Venkataraman
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 01:33 IST

While reading this article, one immediately realizes that it has been
written by someone close to congress. But being a neutral person, I
admit that it surely voices some true opinions of Indian middle class.
PS: of course along with some very good quality english!

from:  Akhilesh Gopal
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 01:10 IST

I wish The Hindu would choose writers whose main language is English or at best, find someone with English as a first language. The author of this Opinion tortured his way to the final paragraph to finally attempt to make his point. Double affirmatives, mixed metaphors and just a plain rant.

The gist of the opinion appears to be:

"Democracy in and itself is not necessarily good. After all, those Gang Rapes in India, is democracy in action."

Democracy puts a very potent tool in our hands - the right to choose. The most basic concept of democracy is ‘majority rules’.

It does not matter whether the choice of the majority is morally right or supports the overall good. It is simply accepted as a case where more than half have spoken and so, it must be.

Instead of this "mobocracy" we should strive for a thoughtful, moral and enlightened democracy, where we each make our decisions based on what is right, what is moral and what is beneficial for us, for our family and for India.

from:  sathyavrath
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 00:49 IST

I have learned the art of guessing a Harish Khare article from the
headline and so I think have many others

from:  Adi
Posted on: May 21, 2013 at 00:41 IST
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