The Politics of Inclusiveness: Taking it too far?


Do they Look like the Victims? Protesting with Alcohol!

Inclusiveness for the Aam Admi: the slogan has won many votes and built many political fortunes. Inclusive growth has been a focus area of our policy making ever since we gained independence and very rightly so.

The 9% GPD boom is a boon only if its benefits trickle down to the lower sections of the society. Otherwise, there is bound to be social unrest. And perhaps that’s why we still employ non-market forces to distribute wealth like NREGA, and other schemes. Ever since 1991 liberalization, we have believed in the power of market economics. We recognize that socialism was holding us back and it is only the market that has given us the miracle boom. And I have reasons to believe that this perception will continue coz it is indeed true.

But what is not true is India Shining and yes, India is moving forward but is it carrying every with it? While some of us have reached new heights, there are still some Indians who are at the level they were when we got independence and worse still, a few of our people have fallen to even lower standards of living.

It is stark realities like these that prompt the media to question the inclusiveness of India’s growth story.

Vir Sanghvi has written an interesting article in today’s HT about inclusiveness and the Indian middle class’s reaction to it. This is what he has to say:

My sense is that the middle class consensus has now shifted slightly from this absolutist position. We are prepared to accept, both consciously and subliminally, that inclusiveness is a major problem. We see this most clearly in our attitudes to land acquisition and to the tribals whom the Maoists claim to represent. In both those cases, we are no longer as sure of the infallibility of the market as we once were.

You can perceive the shift in the middle-class consensus if you look at our willingness to listen to the farmers who descended on Delhi in their thousands on Thursday. The farmers say that the UP government is confiscating their land, allegedly for a highway, but actually to hand over to favoured industrialists. They may or may not be right but given a choice between the views of desperate farmers and the implacable determination of Mayawati to seize their land, it’s not hard to see why so many of us are willing to believe the farmers.

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And I have to agree with him, Indian middle class has begun to care. But now the thought in my head is; how is this We-do-give-a-damn realization going to impact the future dynamics of our society. I don’t see many positives.

This growing obsession with inclusiveness is dangerous. It makes people biased against the system. As Vir Sanghvi pointed out, most of us are willing to believe the farmers when the opposition is Mayawati government. We have an inherent tendency to believe that the system is at fault and that is why we are more likely to support the farmers. Just coz one side is wrong doesn’t make the other side right! (Read: Why are people so logically disabled?) This is why it becomes dangerous.

A wide base support for the farmers legitimizes their cause even though it might not be ( it just might be a ploy of the politician-land mafia nexus, like it usually is ). But alas, we prefer bashing the system.

I am not saying that the system is right, in fact I am a rebel myself. I am just saying that it would be wrong to give credibility and support to any anti-system protestor in the name of inclusiveness.

As if said before this growing obsession with inclusiveness is dangerous But it’s necessary at the same time. There needs to be a balance. The system is not always right but its not always wrong. The difference is in the perception. It might have been wrong to remove farmers from Singur but that doesn’t mean that it is right for the farmers of UP to demand land rates at par with Delhi.

Next time you see a protest on the road, think before you blame the government. The solution to poverty is not a bandh or a road block. It is inclusive growth. And only the system can bring it, not a chaotic mob.