Aam vs Khaas Aadmi : Attitude Makes the Difference

India has many contradictions and many fault lines. It is a country that is burdened with thousands of years of history, yet a young nation that wants to spread her wings. Indians come in many castes, follow many religions, speak many languages, and exist in a variety of socio economic strata..
India practices democracy. Dilemma of Indian political class is it needs vote from majority poor to come to power. Polticians promise to tax rich and subsidise poor. They promise subsidised food, fuel and gasoline. Once in power, politicians need rich and powerful to run the country. Rich wants India to reform her economy and merge with global economy. This will create more wealth, more job and remove poverty. Anyone with a sense of economics believe this to be bad economics, but it is considered good politics.
Till 1992 India was following a socialist economic model, where government used to control all aspects of our lives. Post 1992, India could not afford to practice socialist economy anymore, opened the economy to capitalist system. Because of liberalization of economy, several avenues became evident. New business came up. Job opportunities improved. Many people could look at their lives in a different way.  Economic liberalization brought many people out of poverty, though many still remained poor. Transition was not total and government retained control of several key sectors. Using this grey area, many used their proximity to political power, for their personal gain by colluding with big business houses. Scams after scams came out in recent years that show complicity between politicians, big business and middle men, usually related to politician.
As more and more scams started tumbling out, exposing apparent collusion between politician and business man, people who have not benefited from economic liberalization started becoming angry at politicians, big business and fat cat middlemen. All such unscrupulous politicians, middlemen and business houses that prospered through a symbiotic relationship at the expense of common people, who demand special privilege, will be called Khaas aadmi, as against Aam aadmi, who is represented by common man on the street. However, we must understand that there is no water tight way to brand Aam and Khaas aadmi. Depending on where we stand in social ladder, we are Aam relative to many and Khaas in comparison to many more. We may not have red beacon on our car, yet based on our standard of living, our connection, our lifestyle we are also given preferential treatment at many places, provided someone bigger than us is not present there at the very moment.

In this context it is unfair to talk about aspirational India leaving poor India behind. It is probably not right to divide India among rich and poor, Aam and Khaas. Every Indian that pays tax, has a right to expect certain services. However, in our public lives most of facilities that we get, even after paying additional toll, is not good / efficient.

If we talk of traffic management, it is poor in Indian cities. Roads are bad. Full of pot holes, and bottle necks. Already congested road is made narrower by dedicating a portion as bus corridor.  People driving their personal vehicle spend considerable time on the road and may miss important meeting. As a tax payer, any person is within his right to ask why better assessment of the problem was not made before the corridor was assigned and why such a corridor not be abolished. However, such a petition cannot be construed as abandoning poor by aspiring class. If government is so inclined that majority of population must use public transport, it should provide the such transport facility first and then make use of personal vehicle unviable economically. Mere sermonising about virtues of public transport and curse the people using personal vehicle may not help.

However, it is also true that many people with a lot of money, are morally bankrupt. A case in point is owners of King Fisher airline. How come owners be out of the country, when their employees are starving and some even committing suicide? Such a behaviour cannot be taught in school, cannot be framed by law, but it has to come from heart.  The same goes for Robert Vadra. The guy does not feel any compunction about taking panchayat land, changing its land utilisation, and selling at ten times the price to DLF. All this time our elected representatives are at their beck and call. This indicates pure morality vaccuum.
Any one can appreciate that a diverse, huge, multilingual, multicultural country like India can never have one size fits all policy in area.  I am not a supporter of glorifying poverty. However, I am equally against someone flaunting his wealth on my face. It is equally uncouth.Here comes the role of law makers. They must frame laws that are objective, transparent and that have very little scope of individual discretion. As much as no one should go to bed hungry in the country, no should take away using money, muscle and network power national resources for personal gain. Poverty is not a blessing, richness is not a curse, the way we project either can make a difference.

1. Why aspiring India has started hating its poor

2.More equal than us: Why netas face the rage of the aam aadmi


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