Molestation and mass attack on ‘youth of higher socio-economic class’ is becoming a prevalent trend in Indian urban cities which is unsially coined as ‘social stigma’. Though the blame is on ‘social perverts and mob behavior’ but the real cause remains somewhere else.
The varied economic and socio-psychological difference between the “have” and “have not” in India are widening faster with the rapid wealth accumulation among the ‘creamy layers’. As per an article published in India Today (dated. Oct. 23rd, 2011) “India is shining for only a select few. The impressive economic growth of our country has brought smiles on the faces of the rich and the powerful even as the rest suffer in distress and drudgery. This was revealed by the human development report (HDR) released by Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia”. The report also stated “In India, the distribution of assets is extremely unequal, with the top 5 per cent of the households possessing 38 per cent of the total assets and the bottom 60 per cent of households owning a mere 13 per cent. The disparity is more glaring in the urban areas where 60 per cent of the households at the bottom own just 10 per cent of the assets. It is not just the gaping income inequality that is alarming. The difference in the consumption expenditure between the rich and poor households has also increased both in rural and urban areas between 1993-94 and 2004-05. The report paints a grim picture on the poverty front. It clearly states that despite the economy growing at 6 per cent this is not enough to reduce poverty in the country. In fact, the rate of decline in poverty in India is not in sync with the high rate of economic growth, which is evident from the fact that the number of poor people in the country has barely fallen over a 30-year period. In 1973-74, the number of poor in India stood at 332 million. The figure remained the same in the next decade, registering a marginal decline in 1993- 94 (320 million) and witnessing a stagnancy in again 2004-05, the report states.”
80% of your likely income is determined at birth by your citizenship and the income class of your parents, says Milanovic, an economist at the World Bank’s Development Research Group. With intelligence, hard work and luck, you can move up in your country’s income distribution, but it may do little to improve your ranking among the almost 7 billion people in the world unless your country, too, forges ahead. Sometimes, if constrained by access to education and income mobility, you can’t even pull ahead in your own country. That, in a nutshell, is the story behind global inequality. And, at a time when the incomes of the world’s top 1.75% earners exceed those of the bottom 77%, it raises all sorts of questions, such as the role of development, international migration and the global equality of opportunity, says Milanovic, one of the world’s leading experts on inequality.
The Right to Education Act in India, passed in 2009, mandates that private schools set aside 25% of admissions for low-income, underprivileged and disabled students. This act, though ensures that the children of varied class / socio-economic status study together but it doesn’t ensure that there will not be any ‘frustration’ among those kids from low-income group seating in the same class with higher income group and understanding that their parents are actually ‘poor’! The article published at The Wall Street Journal presents the case of Sri Ram school in Delhi. “Yet the most notable results so far are frustration and disappointment as the separations that define Indian society—between rich and poor, employer and servant, English-speaker and Hindi-speaker—are upended. This has led even some supporters of the experiment to conclude that the chasm between the top and bottom of Indian society is too great to overcome…Shri Ram itself is challenging the law in the Supreme Court, arguing in part that the government exceeded its authority in imposing the quotas. "We have a social obligation to bridge the gap between rich and poor," says Manju Bharat Ram, Shri Ram's founder. "But sometimes the gap is just too wide."… Some parents, having encouraged their household staff to enroll their children, are also grappling with a profound change in the nature of their relationship with their servants. The article quoted Ms. Sharma, the 51-year-old principal, who felt this jolt herself two years ago when Chan Kumari, a floor-mopper in her home, enrolled her son, Vipin, at Shri Ram. That's when the school first adopted a similar quota for underprivileged kids under a local Delhi law, increasing it to 25% this year, when the federal Right to Education Act took effect. "I was horrified. A parent in my school, mopping my floors—I just couldn't handle it," says Ms. Sharma. "I can't sit across the table from someone who sweeps my floors."
The ‘dikhawa’ of wealth as a growing need of exhibitionism of one’s belonging is rapid among the younger population of ‘creamy layers’. Saldanha (2002) articulated well in his article “MUSIC, SPACE, IDENTITY:GEOGRAPHIES OF YOUTH CULTURE IN BANGALORE” : “By driving away from parents and school, the car provides the possibility of creating own space and time. The car is fetishized, specially by boys, who integrate the technics and aesthetics of the thing into their sexual culturesince the car stereo has been widely available, driving around became driving on a soundtrack. In the car, you play music for friends. It can be played louder than at home, and loud music urges the driver to speed up, and speeding up makes the outside seem even more hectic. In the car, you can smoke and drink and make out. For the wealthy youth of Bangalore, driving around is a very urban, very modern, very non-Indian matter.. In Indian cities, motor vehicles symbolize strong classications of social groups. Rich youth have enough time and money to enjoy driving around – petrol is relatively costly. Rich youth can afford a bribe when any problems should arise with the cops. Rich youth give a cultural (as opposed to functional) meaning to these rides through what they do inside the car: playing Western pop, gossiping, flirting, preparing themselves for the evening out. They don’t just go somewhere… Driving around in a cooled ivory tower. A solipsistic inside that coheres when you know that because you’re there, you’re eluding something. Often, young Bangaloreans skip school, homework, tuition or family get-togethers to go for a ride. And thus, at least phenomenologically, the conspicuous consumption of the car creates a break-away from everything that the old India stands for: poverty, chaos, ignorance, useless education, duty, fanaticism, collectivism, sexual segregation, sluggishness and the absence of style… The pleasure of being looked at interacted with the pleasure of dancing. Sexy clothes are pretty pointless if you don’t let yourself be admired from all sides while dancing. Hence the comparison was made quite quickly, both by myself and by the participants, between the Whitefield pool party and the MTV programme The Grind. The Grindis basically a collection of good-looking youths in swimwear, dancing suggestively in a summer setting, all trying their best to attract the camera lens. Only, in Whitefield there wasn’t any camera. There were peepers, though. Over the surrounding walls, poor workers from neighbouring farms were watching the party bustle. An interesting, perverse form of exhibitionism/voyeurism came into being. The global youth knew very well that they were being watched, that these local others had probably never heard such loud pop music, never seen so much liquor and tight tops together before. They knew that every three free-of-charge vodkas they drank added up to the weekly salary of the peeping Toms behind the wall. But they feigned an indifference for the fascination they produced amongst the lower classes, just as they do when they drive around. They feigned, because they were thoroughly aware of the visibility of their Western fashion, music, behaviour and wealth. To a certain extent this visibility is inevitable in a modern space like Bangalore. And provoking culture shock can be fun for both sides. Yet, the workings of power in this situation are undeniable. There was, in Whitefield, an ambiguous balance between exhibitionism and voyeurism, a delicate consensus on the rationality of power; the poor devils could also have been rudely chased away…”
Incidentally, till date most of the ‘mass molestation’ cases in India took place outside the bars / pubs or in some places that can be noted as ‘places of socio-economic discrimination’ (ie. rave party houses, resorts, gardens, malls etc.)! In one of the recent incidents that occurred at Guahat a 17-year-old girl, who is pursuing studies in fashion designing in the national capital, was attacked when she was returning home after celebrating the birthday of her friend, a teenaged girl, at a bar. The girl was subjected to assault and molestation for nearly half an hour before being rescued by some passers-by. The similar incidents occur every year in the capital during the “new year bash” (mostly outside, after the party gets over and drunk girls wait for the drive home). In one such incident at Gurgaon a young girl was allegedly molested by a group of New Year revellers. The police had to resort to lathicharge to prevent the group of 25-30 people from harassing the girl outside a pub, media reports said. While the ‘creamy layers’ were celebrating inside the clubs, at M.G. Road, in public space the ‘mass’ started celebrating “new year”. Windscreens of more than two dozen cars were smashed, hooligans danced atop cars and traffic was held up, before some policemen baton-charged the crowd. The victim stated “I was horrified to see boys touching me and passing derogatory comments. They were many of them and they lifted me up. They were taking me away but the police saved me that night or I would not have been alive today,” she said. An eyewitness, Rajesh Kumar, said, “They were touching her initially and ended up tearing her clothes. They were passing lewd remarks in the middle of the road. I was shocked to see what could happen on Gurgaon roads.”
The anguish is majorly among the fastest growing middle class and lower middle class. Them, who is in the duality of lifestyle due to the rapid economic growth,.
The so called ‘extremist’ religious-political groups such as “Ram Sene’ are also attacking the places of socio-economic discrimination in the name of ‘purification’ of the society as ‘moral policing’. These political parties understood that the fastest way to gain popularity among the ‘have not’ in India is the social bashing against ‘have’ in the name of moral policing.
The mass molestation and planned moral policing in India are varied ways to take ‘revenge’ and express anguish against the ‘other’ socio-economic class.
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