Saturday, July 12, 2014

Rana Dasgupta on his book

Capital: A portrait of twenty-first century Delhi, published in early 2014, "Capital is about the members of the rising, moneyed sections of the Indian urban population who see themselves as primary agents - and beneficiaries - of globalization. It has become common to refer to these people as 'the new Indian middle class', and I too employ the phrase. But while their lifestyle has come to bear some resemblance to that of the 'middle classes' in Europe or America,the phrase sits uncomfortably with the Indian situation. At the time of writing, those Indians whose families earned more than Rs. 500,000 [$10,000] per year represent less than 10 percent of the population, which meant that middle-class' accoutrements and ideas belonged, in the Indian context to the elite. Since the Indian economy was being restructured around the spending power of this emerging class, and since the entailed conflicts over land and resources which often punished the much greater number of the country's rural poor - many of whom earned less than $500 per year - it is important to retain this sense that the interests of the Indian middle classes were not lowly or innocent. The phrase 'bourgeoisie' , in fact, which I also sometimes use, more accurately describes their condition.'

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