Indian middle class indifferent to hunger: Harsh

sandesh prabhudesai, panaji | 13 February 2010 19:48 IST

“The middle class in India has expelled the poor class from its consciousness.”
“Children of the Dalits and underprivileged are still ‘educated’ to sleep hungry in our country.”

"In the name of secularism, we ‘celebrate' our religious differences in India."

"Educated Indian has developed more prejudice than the poor Indian."

This is the way Harsh Mander, who resigned in protest after Gujarat carnage is 2002 from his IAS service, described today's India. At the D D Kosambi Festival of Ideas, he spoke on the "Long exile of India's Poor."

Mander runs "Aman Biradari", a people's campaign for secularism, peace and justice. He is a special commissioner appointed by the Supreme Court of India to advise it in the Right to Food case on hunger and state responsibility.

According to him, it is the basic duty of the government to feed the hungry. But it is not happening. We have largest number of people in the world, who sleep hungry. India is worst than Africa.

Along with the government, Mander felt that religious institutions like temples, churches, mosques and gurudwaras should also take the responsibility of feeding the hungry.

Hindi Bollywood cinema is the best indicator of public consciousness, Mander pointed out. Unlike in the past when films used to portray the condition of the poor sleeping on the pavements, Indians in Hindi films nowadays live in designer houses, wearing designer clothes.

Middle class in India has become indifferent to the suffering and hunger of the poor. Education should actually thrive for greater equality. On the contrary, it primarily teaches how to compete in the market, thereby spreading further inequality.

Describing the inequality in education system, Mander said our rich kids go abroad to study, middle class goes to private schools while the poor to the public schools.

The story of upper caste guru Dronacharya teaching only the privileged and lower caste Ekalavya deprived of rightful education is still prevalent in today's India, he opined.

He asserted that the government should spend more on basic education system at grassroot level than in IITs and IIMs.

The soft-spoken former bureaucrat also came down heavily on the communal prejudice and hatred  getting prominent among the educated and highly educated middle class. "Comparatively, the poor is less influenced with hatred," he added.

The education system is getting away from teaching values of rationality and humanity, he pointed out.

Mander also criticised the SMS campaign of hatred like "all Muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims".

He reminded the audience that India's Mahatma, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and even Rajiv Gandhi was killed not by Muslims but the fanatics belonging to other religions, especially the majority community.

Three demolitions have affected the development of mankind in the world, he said, pointing out at the demolition of Berlin wall in Germany, demolition of Babri Masjid in India and demolition of the World Trade Centre in USA.

While Berlin wall demolition affected the spirit of equality, he said with the demolition of Babri Masjid, we demolished the solemn promise we made to each other. Demolition of WTC began a new era of war of hatred worldwide.

In comparison, Mander appreciated the spirit of communal harmony prevailing in Goa, though it is being disturbed time and again. He appealed to the Goan audience to preserve it at all costs. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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At most of the places in India, especially the rural places like Bihar,M.P etc, lot of discrimination can be seen on the basis of their class..

A person from a higher class family gets more respect than from a middle class????

Why such things happen???Who are responsible for it???

It's we people who are responsible..

Although there are no certain reasons for it...but it's 101% true that we are responsible...

Children of the poor are not getting proper education, they cannot opt for higher studies..What's the reason?? The reason is that all the institutions require a lot of donations for admission....

In addition to the donation, the authorities also need be bribed for admission even if a student comes in merit...

We have to try our best to stop such discrimination or some societies in our country will always remain backward..

- Mangallya , Kamat | 16 th February 2010 20:36


Education should not be the exclusive domain of a privileged few! However, today's education makes the youth to shy away from manual work. Every educated youth looks for a white collar job, may be because a primary teacher working in a school earns many times more than a person working hard in sun and rain in fields and farms without any holidays, leave, vacation and the terminal benefits like pension, gratuity etc! The education system should not generate parasites on society! It should not generate graduates, who shy away from manual work! It should not generate a product which will exploit the poor masses!

- vishwas.prabhudesai, Loliem | 15 th February 2010 09:21


India's elite class discriminates against the poors in one more way, by denying them education in English. To accomplish this, they have raised the hype of mother tongue as a medium of Instruction. As pointed out above, the super elites go abroad, middle class go to English medium schools and the poor to Mother tongue based schools. This way the competition to their children is kept to a minimum

- Kalidas Sawkar, Goa-India | 13 th February 2010 20:26


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