The Concept Of An Indian Middle Class Sociology Essay Example
The Concept Of An Indian Middle Class Sociology Essay Example

The Concept Of An Indian Middle Class Sociology Essay Example

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  • Pages: 14 (3645 words)
  • Published: August 21, 2017
  • Type: Case Study
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The Indian Middle Class, often referred to as the Indian in-between category, is a significant group that has grown in number and plays a significant role in driving the development of the country. In the pre-independence era, it was a minority, but now it forms a huge bulk of the population. The book 'Mother Pious Lady' by Mr Santosh Desai vividly portrays this group, providing detailed insight into its culture and characteristics. Economic reform has been instrumental in affording the Indian in-between category an improved standard of living. Over time, there has been a continuous shift in cultural markers and symbols, such as the disappearance of pig tails for girls, leading to an increased freedom of mobility through scooterette, and giving seniors their own personal space. With the development of telecommunication and explosion in the auto industry, the way people


dress has also evolved. For instance, girl’s ponytails, once considered symbols of desirable feminine reserve, have become shorter and less significant.The act of shortening one's hair serves as a metaphorical display of personal control for women. The introduction of scooty as a means of transportation has given women a sense of independence and the ability to expand their boundaries without relying on male family members. As a result, the auto industry has adapted to accommodate more compact vehicles. The shift from gasoline to electric and LPG-based vehicles reflects not only a change in efficiency but also a desire to keep up technologically.

Dhoni, an iconic figure from a small town, has altered the way Indians perceive individuals from humble beginnings. His "can-do" attitude, fearlessness of failure, and disregard for hierarchy have been pivotal to his success.

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The Indian middle class can draw inspiration from him in the way they handle pressure and perform without fear of failure.

The increase in disposable income has led to a shift in attitude towards life and savings. The Indian Middle class is not afraid to take risks to get a better return on investment. Money has become the language of power and is the driving force behind the economy, with the Indian middle class playing an important role.Arranging a marriage in middle-class households falls into an in-between category where it is not openly accepted. This may be due to a preference for a bride from the same caste, which may not be guaranteed in a love marriage. It could also result from the unfamiliarity or discomfort with other caste customs being brought and practiced in one household. Arranged marriage is viewed as the union of more than just two individuals, but rather two families. The idea of the prospective bride and groom getting to know each other before marriage is not favored since spending time together is rare in joint families. Moreover, social pressure plays a significant role in forcing one to consider a same-caste bride or groom. The preference for selecting a bride or groom is quite typical in middle-class households, and the exchange of dowry, which comes as an unexpressed bundle, plays a significant role in this decision. The education attainment of higher-ranking professionals such as engineers or physicians may generate sufficient dowry to cover lifetime expenses for all family members, but this money often only changes hands when the same family has a daughter to be married off. All these factors limit the

freedom to choose a bride by the prospective groom himself. The power to choose needs to be closely guarded, and the sense of freedom even needs to be made felt by the groom.Additionally, the practice of matching the horoscopes of prospective brides and grooms for official acceptance of marriage proposals also impacts their determination. Going against the family's belief of marrying someone who may not technically fit on paper can lead to societal isolation. "The present has become a poor index of the future" suggests that current reputation, social status, and family acceptance are preferred over the future happiness of the couple. The middle ground of arranged love marriage seems to offer the best solution for the current middle class society, providing the best of both worlds. Although this may not be happening at an encouraging rate, it encourages other families to adapt for the benefit of the couple in question. Another reason for further acceptance of this phenomenon is the trend of increasing numbers of nuclear families. The tradition of new brides staying with their families is becoming less frequent, allowing both individuals to start their lives with their own rules. The importance given to caste is also decreasing due to increased emphasis on education and economic status in society. The essence of middle class can be truly experienced while traveling across the country via any means, whether it be train, bus or even airplane.Train is the agency that best represents the middle class in India. Indian Railways carries millions of middle class Indians across the vastness of the country every day. For a typical middle class passenger, train travel is not just a

means of transportation but also a ritual. They are more concerned about their fellow passengers than themselves and the train coupe offers a blend of various cultures and customs, particularly visible during meal time. Gujarati families, for example, travel in groups of at least four to five members and bring a wide variety of food with them. Cutting and preparing salad, arranging plates and serving pre-made food are all part of their daily routine. Stainless steel is another item that holds great importance for the typical middle class Indian family, following gold. It represents pride, trust, and confidence and stands as a reliable carrier of memories. Stainless steel plays a vital role in the everyday life of the middle class family, through vessels, utensils, and other utilities that reflect aspirations for service and endurance on a daily basis.Due to the recent advancements in polymer engineering and station liberalisation, Stainless steel is being easily replaced by cheaper and easily replaceable elements like plastics and aluminum. This shift demonstrates the changing attitudes of the middle class towards everyday life as there has been a constant movement away from durability towards options that provide the best value for money. This change is due to the fast-paced nature of life and lack of belief in long-term commitments. The ease of fabrication, handling, disposal, multi-functionality, and cost-efficiency contribute to this shift. Communication is highly valued among Indians, especially middle-class families. The desire to stay connected through any means possible creates a strong bond among geographically dispersed communities. Postcards evolved into launch of competition postcards, travel postcards, etc., which became an essential part of a typical middle-class household. In pre-telecommunication era,

postcards were perfect carriers of messages not only for individuals but for entire families from other families. The postcard served as a Facebook wall for the whole family.After the era of telecommunication, communication shifted from text to audio. However, the use of electronic mail has resulted in a detachment from the spirit of composing heartfelt messages to loved ones. While it has made life easier, the shift from paper letters to email has diminished the value of the message. The middle class is known for excelling in times of scarcity, which is rooted in the culture of joint households. In Marxist institutes, the fruits of labor are shared among household members, promoting a strong sense of unity. Every member works for the household rather than themselves. However, there has been a constant erosion in this concept due to the rise in land claiming issues in joint households and the continuous shift from joint to nuclear families and from rural to urban areas. This has led to a change in attitudes towards living through sharing, resulting in significant changes in lifestyle.During the summer break, people typically took a break from school and went on vacations with their family. It was a time to spend quality time with loved ones and indulge in hobbies like reading comics, taking art or music classes. However, the true essence of the break was to connect with one's roots, culture, and self; a chance to explore new things and rejuvenate. Growing peer pressure and a desire to stand out has shifted the focus of the middle-class from leisure to serious activities during the summer break. This has led to an increase

in summer camps that offer sports, music, and art classes for children. Parents aspire to instill a multi-faceted personality in their kids. In any human relationship pyramid, a mother's role is universally regarded as crucial, and in an Indian middle-class family, the mother's gender role holds even more significance.She is responsible for managing the household, maintaining its wellness, and providing guidance. Her role in a household encompasses multiple tasks with varied duties. She is particularly anxious about her son's exams. She embodies the middle-class values by prioritizing her family's aspirations over her own life. The use of white fabric in a typical middle-class household portrays their desire for recognition in society, signifying purity amidst corruption. This aspiration is comparable to the thin layer of elite culture represented by ultramarine dye applied to white fabric. Despite not aiding in whitening the fabric, ultramarine dye provides a blue coat to hide yellow stains. It represents the constant desire of the Indian middle-class to stand out through continuous efforts. The recent shift from ultramarine dye to cloth dye highlights the change in time. Additionally, the middle-class's obsession with order and discipline is apparent. Finally, the sense of belonging is an implicit need of the Indian middle-class, which can be seen from their demand for English medium schools and associating their children's education with Western culture to hide their true identity.The demand for order is symbolized by well creased and Fe apparels, which empower individuals to contend against nature's chaos. The victory of humanity is represented by the Straight Line. In the past, prior to liberalization and before the onset of Attention Deficiency Disorder (ADD), people had a variety

of entertainment options such as coffee house debates, fishing, travel, or friendly conversation over tea. Even watching gestures was considered entertainment. The window played an important role in opening up imagination and allowing creativity to speak. Nowadays, the media's expansion has increased entertainment options but decreased interest in the outside world. The window's role has changed from taking an interest in the real world to secluding oneself from society. It used to be a common habit for middle-class families with geographically scattered members to visit relatives and loved ones without prior announcement or intention. However, due to changing relationships among people and growing one-dimensionality, visits are now associated with intent and even UN-declared visits aren't welcome.The tendency for arranged marriages within the middle class can vary, depending on factors such as advances in communication technology, smaller family sizes, and a focus on individuality. One notable hub for the middle-class seeking arranged marriages is the four pages of weekly matrimonial ads found in daily newspapers. These ads are arranged according to caste, making it a selling platform where success in finding a match is based on a few highlighted words. In middle-class arranged marriages, the process doesn't just involve two individuals but their families and their relations. Intra-caste matrimonies are often preferred, even if it means settling for an unsuitable partner, which can have unwelcome consequences for both individuals and society at large. To mitigate these effects, priority should be given to personal attitudes rather than caste when selecting partners. In the middle class, scooters are often associated with families and seen as an alternative to cars or bikes due to their strength and ability to

transport passengers and goods.The scooter is the ideal companion for middle-class Indian households, offering both versatility and a sense of safety. It perfectly embodies the characteristics of the middle class. Its ability to carry more than its rated weight, transform from passenger carriage to goods bearer in both front compartment and side deck, and require minimal upkeep while providing the security of a spare wheel make it a superior vehicle on Indian roads for any middle-class household. The auto rickshaw has become an integral part of our lives, providing personalized transportation at an affordable price. It offers freedom from delays in public transportation and provides door-to-door connectivity. As a symbol of the growing aspirations of the Indian middle class, it fills a necessary gap in affordable yet comfortable transportation between two-wheeled vehicles and unaffordable four-wheeled vehicles. Despite improvements in public transportation and the increasing availability of car transportation, the auto rickshaw remains a unique mode of transportation with its own distinctive qualities. In the pre-liberalization era, purchasing any household contraption was an event itself.The contraptions that were purchased became an integral part of the household, including items such as television, electric refrigerator, tape recording equipment, scooter, cooker, and a sewing machine. The head of the household paid special attention to their care. They were even wrapped in polyethylene and handled with guided supervision. However, with the rise of consumerism and increased rates of purchasing and replacing contraptions, the emotional attachment to them has diminished. Instead of being centrally used by the family, contraptions have shifted to personalized use. Individualized devices such as mobile phones, music systems, and vehicles have replaced the need for shared ones.

This change has further reduced the need for caring for contraptions as new models are introduced frequently. The regrettably low access to medical services remains a luxury for many segments of society.In many societies, medical services and physicians are seen as unaffordable or unfamiliar, with household wellness left in the hands of either God or local medical specialists. However, in some places, physicians are highly regarded. The Indian middle-class faces a dilemma between affordability and belief. Recently, many from this group have tried to "outsmart" trained physicians through online research, valuing advice from unknown sources on the internet over that of doctors. Radio was once a powerful medium for connecting people across geographies and businesses, but popularity computation has shifted with consumerism - not only in radio, but also in television. Popularity is now based not only on an artist's performance but also on the number of SMS messages received during an event. The Indian middle class is now a major participant in consumerism and has increased its loyalty to events through voting for favorite performers.The typical Indian middle-class individual derives pleasure from observing someone else performing well and excelling in an event. Cinema is attempting to attract this demographic by providing them with much sought-after comfort through a variety of shows. Traditional Indian street food is a representation of the country's culture. Whether one is eating paani poori, idli dosa or Chinese food, it is a place where hygiene is often overlooked in favour of taste. It is where health-conscious individuals can indulge and forget about their calorie intake. Furthermore, it is a place where people of different faiths, castes and races come together

without any complications. Films and music are highly appreciated by Indians, where heroes play a fundamental role. However, there has been a recent shift from emotion-based poetic songs to meaningless lyrics that are gaining more popularity in society. People no longer seek meaning through songs; perhaps the middle class turns up to cinema just for entertainment, rather than solving real-life issues. Cinema provides a brief escape from the struggles of daily life. The aim should be to encourage actual heroes who can bring about positive change in society. The middle class must strive towards true heroism by becoming entrepreneurs or innovators that can advance the nation forward.Helping to create jobs and generate income for individuals, whether through work in social development, is important. In India's middle class, there is a preoccupation with power, which can be difficult to attain and often short-lived. This is evident in the political hierarchy, where power is associated with official cars, sirens and security checks. Perhaps this stems from the belief in power distance in the culture, where it's necessary to demonstrate power to gain importance in society. Public Sector Units were originally created with a socialist ideal but they are now seen as the powerhouse of Indian industries. However, the entry of MNCs in India has led to a paradigm shift, as they preach openness, transparency, performance over age-based seniority and office spaces that are less hierarchical. The transfer of legacy occurs through institutions such as film, politics and corporations. The Indian middle class was out of place during the License Raj era, where connections to bureaucrats were necessary for survival. Now, companies prioritize performance over nepotism and this

can be seen in the transfer of leadership roles. This change must also occur in politics.The Indian civilization has an in-between category which is the true bearer of the ancient Indian civilization, as evident in their relationship with food. Food is the centerpiece of their lives, with the stomach being the place of their soul. This could be due to the varied civilizations that settled in India throughout history, which has enriched their food culture. One unique way of serving food is through Thali, which contrasts with the Western culture of serving food in linear courses. Thali allows diners to choose their order and offers a sense of chaos which is pleasing to the Indian palate. Another unique food form is Internet Explorer Pickle, which is a key element in the typical in-between class diet. Pickle preserves its ingredients in an interesting way, acting as a distillation of culture. The availability of Thali and Pickle reflects changes in society brought about by urbanization which limits dining opportunities at home.The eating habits from Indian to Western cuisine have undergone constant change. The need to keep up with a fast-paced lifestyle has influenced changes in food and catering culture. Previously, Americans were hesitant to express their affection through words and celebratory gestures. This was seen as foreign. However, with the acceptance of Western customs, there has been a shift towards verbal and visual expressions of love and care. The emergence of card culture through brands like Archies and Hallmark has made occasions like Father's Day, Mother's Day, and Valentine's Day more accepted and vital. The growing generational, cultural, and spatial gaps among family members may be a

reason for this change. The middle-class now replaces Bhai Dooj with Brother's Day, daily unspoken care with Valentine's Day, and parental respect with Father's Day. Public displays of affection are now necessary for every occasion. In some cases, love is measured by the value of gifts exchanged.The infatuation of the Indian middle class with English is not a new phenomenon, whether it be in the form of English nicknames, preference for English medium schools, or the impulse to communicate in English. This market is well-served by various tutorial classes promising to impart fluency in English within 30 days. Though this excessive obsession has led to erosion of India's native cultural heritage, it has also helped the booming IT outsourcing industry and created greater job opportunities for Indians. Despite their belief in sharing and community spirit, the Indian middle class often neglects others' inconvenience; this is evident in their lack of mobile etiquette and tendency to litter public spaces or watch TV at loud volumes in residential areas. This may be a result of their sense of oneness with society. Although this issue may seem insignificant, it is important to educate people about respecting others' feelings and personal space for peaceful coexistence. Certain social customs may appear peculiar to outsiders in middle class Indian society; for example, the traffic system reflects a chaotic but harmonious blend of individual interpretation of road regulations with drivers focused solely on their end goals.The selfish acquisition of driving at the expense of causing traffic jams is a common occurrence in India. Honking is used to assert power, disregarding safety. The traffic culture in India mirrors the country's middle-class mentality. Many

cities operate without traffic signals or police officers, yet drivers seem to have an innate understanding of one another. Indians often struggle to follow rules imposed upon them but are inclined to establish their own. Sadly, this 'chalta hai' attitude impedes progress toward a permanent solution. A lack of desire for quality may stem from a lack of drive for lasting change. Indian politics is a primary beneficiary of this forgiving and forgetting mentality, with criminals repeatedly re-elected and fraud overlooked. Recent events, such as the 2G telecom scandal, expose India's political corruption and the middle-class's indifference. Even sports are not immune to corruption, as seen in cricket and the Commonwealth Games.The populace's neutral stance on the death penalty may be the foundation. Educating the masses on the significance and advantages of adhering to traffic laws is the need of the hour. Additionally, the Indian middle class must acknowledge their power to elect qualified and competent individuals. Liquor has consistently been viewed as a threat in the Indian middle class, often linking it with losing control over oneself. Nevertheless, for the middle class, it is frequently used for relaxation and socializing. Hill stations, where families go to escape city commotion and heat, have always been associated with family trips in India. Indians have always revered the sun, though its harshness is often criticized in contrast to Western cultures' welcoming sun. Amitabh Bachchan has remained an iconic figure in India for four decades. He has brought all his roles to life and given every Indian a sense of their own existence through his on-screen characters. He has become a symbol of trustworthiness for most of the

Indian middle class and can be relied upon by any brand, ranging from Gujarat tourism to the Cadbury worm controversy.

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