Bangalore’s middle class show serious visual, auditory, oral, cardiac and neurologic deficiencies.

The middle class in Bangalore (as probably in the rest of India and the world) are wrapped in a self serving delusional bubble. Into this bubble, they allow occasional snippets of information which entirely suits their closed middle class apathy.

 The information inflow is tightly controlled to advance their own interests. In the event that some news drifts in or is so in the face that it simple CANNOT be ignored, the middle class, as an animal by itself, will seek ANY means to negate this news. It will negate this news by believing even the unbelievable. It will convince itself, through a series of internal consultations and exchange of notes, that its belief is the truth.

 This is why the middle class needs a reality check.

 In Bangalore, the reality check is right there in one’s faces. 2000 homes have been destroyed in broad daylight by a combination of a filthy MLA called Harris, hundreds of lathi wielding police, rowdies hired by the BBMP, an obscenely blatant company called Maverick holdings and a morally dead middle class. MLAs are known to be filthy and corrupt, the police are known to be rowdy and brutal, rowdies need no explanations and private companies such as Maverick holdings will live off and eat off a dead corpse if it offered them a benefit. While all these are known and accepted, what is not known and not yet accepted is that everyone of these vile agencies exist because they are sanctioned by the morally dead middle class of Bangalore.

 Bangalore boasts of malls and pretty faces and funky dudes and glitzy pubs. Bangalore kids are smart and talented – what with their music classes and fancy schools and air-conditioned cars. Bangalore society is vibrant and active with their habbas and their cultural glitz and their ever welcoming smiles to rich visitors. Bangalore is the pretty face of a conscienceless, amoral, greedy and insensitive society. This society believes that every resource belongs to them.

 When Bangalore had a garbage crisis, all that most of them did was complain. Why did so much of Bangalore complain about the garbage crisis? It was for one reason and only one – because they didn’t like their city smelling and they were worried about what illnesses THEIR children would have and the inconveniences THEIR families would go through.

 Yet over the last five days, houses have been demolished through a most blatant transgression of every human right that man could think of and Bangalore didn’t notice?

 Is Bangalore blind or dumb? Has Bangalore no moral character? Do Bangaloreans live in such a surreal world that they absolutely and doggedly refuse to comprehend that they need to see?

 The EWS forced eviction has converted a productive, functional community to unhealthy beggars. People who said they didn’t need any kind of medical help five days ago are now queuing up in swelling numbers. Children who were well five days ago now have respiratory, gastrointestinal and skin diseases. What has Bangalore’s response been? The response has overwhelmingly been a lack of response. That somehow seems even better than some of the banal and pointless responses. “They weren’t supposed to be there in the first place’ says my Catholic friend whose family migrated to Bangalore from Mangalore several years ago in search of ‘better prospects’ and living on unlawfully acquired property. “That place looked bad and its good its gone’ says another friend whose face itself is a cause for concern.

 Maybe the Hindus in Bangalore have karma to blame and I don’t know enough about the Muslims, but the Catholic middle class needs to know that this is the poor who one has been asked to love as oneself, these are the poor who are promised blessings, these are the poor that the New testament asks them in almost every line to love as oneself. Where is the response of the Catholic or Christian community of Bangalore? You should have been there at the forefront objecting to the humiliation that the poor dwellers of EWS are facing. You should have been offering them food and water and clothes and moral support. Instead you have the indecency to say that they should not have been there in the first place??

 There are people who are now absolutely destitute. They have no place to go to. They live in large cement pipes exposed to every element. Harris said to them “Why are you living in these pipes? Do you pay a rent for them? People bring you food and water and you are getting comfortable” I want to ask him ‘Darling, if it is so comfortable why don’t you come and live here for a week or a month or better still forever?” He has the absolute audacity to become an MLA and forcibly evict people from their homes and then add insult to injury by throwing them even out of the streets where they have been forced to move to.  Where does this audacity of an elected representative come from? It comes from the insensible middle class that is already glassy eyed with the prospect of a beautiful mall over the tombstone of a hundred different families. It comes from a middle class that has no social conscience, from a middle class that is so classist and casteist that it is an aberration of humaneness.

 Where do the police get the audacity to abuse with the most demeaning of invectives, the women of the EWS quarters? How do police barge into homes with lathis and forcibly throw people’s things out? Again they get their sanction from the middle class that tut-tuts and says the police are only doing their job. Is the middle class so uneducated and so ill-informed that it cannot comprehend gross human rights violation when it is so in their faces? This is the same middle class that jumps up and down when some western nation does them some great perceived  insult.

 Where do the rowdies get their courage from? What gives them the courage to barge into homes and break them down? They are paid rowdies. They are paid by the BBMP to destroy the houses even as people live in them. What gives the BBMP its courage? Well, the middle class of course.

 According to the middle class, there is a group of people who is sub-human. This group is comprised of their domestic help, their drivers, their vegetable vendors, their street cleaners and their ayahs. According to the middle class they can be kind to these people as they would to an animal. According to the middle class, if one of them or the rich acquire property through illegal means, it is fine.

 In the middle class head, there is a divide between the rights of the educated and the non-educated, the rich and the poor, the upper caste and the lower caste, the urban and the rural. Those who are sub-human should not expect rights. This is the tragedy of the middle class in Bangalore. They will violate every human right, child right, women’s right, minority rights if it serves their own purpose.

 Contrary to all the imagined understanding by the middle class of the EWS issue, the fact remains that the site BELONGs to the Economically Weaker Sections of society. The BBMP had to build houses for the EWS people. The BBMP sold out to Maverick holdings who stupidly say that people will be allotted houses in 8 months and should come back then.

 Where are the Right to Education experts demanding that children cannot be allowed to miss school? Where are the Right to Health experts condemning the fact that a healthy productive community has been reduced to ill people?

 Where are the Right to Food experts demanding that people cannot have their right to cook food taken away from them?

 Where are the Right to water experts condemning the BBMP for destroying the water taps and water tanks at the very first blow?

 Where are the Right to sanitation experts demanding that women need the dignity of having a toilet to go to?

 Where are the Right to livelihood experts demanding that women and men be allowed to have the dignity of a job?

 Where are the Right to shelter experts?

 Where are the Women’s rights groups?

 Where are the minority rights groups?

 Where are the religious groups?

 Where are the child rights groups?

 Where indeed?

 This is one eviction the middle class of Bangalore CANNOT pretend not to know. This is one eviction in Bangalore that the middle class HAS to respond to. For every person who enters the mall built by Maverick holdings, there will be a thousand curses heaped on their heads.

 If the middle class had even an iota of conscience, they would not allow the mall to be built at the site where the EWS people used to stay.

 

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6 thoughts on “Bangalore’s middle class show serious visual, auditory, oral, cardiac and neurologic deficiencies.”

  1. Middle class apathy is legendary. Its a real shame. Similar thing happened in Sector 44 of NOIDA about 8 years ago which was a slum. Several attempts were made by land mafia naturally helped by politicians with the police goons to force evacuate the settlers but it was too visible to be done overtly. Then suddenly the whole settlement of about few hundred households was set on fire at night and was made to look like an accident and overnight people were evacuated in the pretext of their own safety. Within a week plots were cut in that area which sold at very expensive rates and now a posh colony stands there completely belying the horrible tragedy of hundreds of lives of poor destroyed earlier. Classic middle class apathy played out there too. In India rights, opportunities, law and justice are for all the rich and most middle class. To be born in a poor family in India means to lose respect and dignity for ever. It is a life of pain & suffering, abuse and violation of self respect and dignity on a daily- basis. In every strike or bandh declared fancily, the poor daily wage labourers are the worst hit.

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  2. This post is one of the most dogmatic posts I’ve ever seen. Throughout this post, you refer to just two issues – forced evictions and the garbage problem, and that apparently is enough for you to judge the city. Also, it is very apparent that you’re seeing and judging the city from one narrow Eastern sliver of a catholic dominant area, possibly around Ulsoor.

    Here are some insights into the city, and historical reason why Ulsoor is what it is –
    1) Ulsoor represents a non-Kannada speaking Bangalore, almost entirely. It also represents a poorer section of society, a section that came all the way from Chennai when the railway line was built by the British. Now while most EWS communities try to integrate with local folk, these people try do the exact opposite. We saw them asking for a Thiruvalluvar statue when housing, food and health was a big problem – this is symptomatic of a colonial pride that has no place in the current society. No politician will work for someone who just doesn’t care. People must push.

    2) Most of Bangalore has solved its garbage problem. Perhaps you’re not aware but in North Bangalore itself (Malleshwaram), there has been great strides in garbage segregation and management – in fact whole of the city and India has followed that model.

    3) You speak as if forced evictions are something endemic to Bangalore- EVERY major city with slums and illegal establishments have forced evictions. You can’t help it.
    And to support the Blore cause, a number of NGOs a re working with the slum dwellers and I’m sure they’re doing their best.

    Your view is extremely narrowminded to say the least. Please explore Bangalore – go to jayanagar and Malleshwaram and Yelahanka and JP Nagar, and perhaps then you can comment.

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  3. I belong to the middle class and I do not think I did any wrong in being concerned over the garbage problem that affected our city. And for your kindest information darling! We do not believe that any human being deserves the so called “sub-human” treatment that you’ve blamed the entire middle class for. Do you have any idea how we are middle class?? We are neither poor nor rich. We are an equally beleaguered section of the society with problems of our own and battles of our own. Why is it that people who champion the cause of the poor always have a blind eye for the problems of the middle class? Why are our concerns belittled? I do not deny that having a roof over our heads and some money in the bank gives us some comfort, but does not make us an ultra privileged class and neither has that made us cold to the problems of other human beings.

    What do you wish the middle class does?? Do you have an answer? Should we quit our jobs and chase our politicians. The elected representatives? Do you have any idea how difficult it is for me, a middle class woman, to procure a voter’s id? And take a look at the poor who have been evicted, I’m certain so many of them have the voter’s id and have voted too. So shall we start with the blame game now? Lets not kid ourselves now, what happens when the politicians pamper the poor before the elections with the goodies and food and blankets and what not that have been procured from the taxes we pay! I would have felt proud had the same taxes been utilized to build houses for the weaker sections.

    Care to tell me how infuriated I must feel when I have to pay taxes through my nose at every commodity I buy and the income that I earn painstakingly? I want to have good health care facility because I pay taxes for it. I deserve good roads because I pay for it. I deserve clean drinking water because I pay for it and I have every right to fuss over the garbage that was not cleaned up. Can you tell me which clean, hygienic and efficiently run government hospital can I go to? Which Government school has proper desks and benches and teaching aids and well qualified teachers for my children? Are you going to blame the middle class now for not shoving their children and their sick into the hospitals and schools that have not been maintained well and as a result the condition is so bad! If you have a voice to question my conscience I have the right to ask so many people as to what they have done to alleviate their poverty. Why don’t they turn down the goodies given by the conniving politicians and ask them to sanction houses, hospitals and schools for them and ensure they are built.

    I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth and my parents have seen very tough times. But we worked and continue to work for a better life despite all that threatens to eat away from it. And the government did nothing for me. No reservations, no scholarships. The only thing that the government can take credit for is the student bus pass that facilitated me to go to my college from home.

    Before you conclude I am some blood-sucking, pathetic capitalist, I am a human being too and struggle to make a living and survive. I also pledge I will never step into that mall that is if it does come up.

    I have one request for you, apart from being infuriated at the so called “apathetic, blinded middle-class”, why don’t you suggest anything that can be done to make all sections of society feel more included.

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