Rudyard Kipling, We and They
All good people agree,
And all good people say,
All nice people, like Us, are We
And every one else is They:
But if you cross over the sea,
Instead of over the way,
You may end by (think of it!) looking on We
As only a sort of They !
People-Like-Us, we tell ourselves that we are the common men and women of Pax Indica or the Republic of India.
But let’s face it. Readers of English newspapers and blogs cannot really be commoners. They belong to the upper echelons of Indian society (and use highfalutin words like ‘echelon’).
This is not meant in any self-congratulatory way. It is just a plain observation of the socio-economic state.
People-Like-Us are relatively and reasonably well-off. We don’t worry about making ends meet. Unless we are in a Yoga class.
We are mostly urban-dwellers and professional-class swellers. Despite some recent flirting with the Aam Admi Party, we are mostly apolitical.
People-Like-Us, often don’t vote in the elections. But if we do, we’ll be sure to flood Facebook with those selfies.
Our main contribution to the Nation building project is paying taxes. This may not sound like much. But it is, because less than 3% of Indians file income taxes.
That, and we’ll sign numerous online petitions. Occasionally, we’ll also donate to some charities. Provided they give a tax deduction certificate.
We understand the difference between equality and equity. Not automatically and not always. We nod our heads in agreement and hit the “like” button when we see pictures like this.
When it comes to taking care of the poor and the needy, we acknowledge that our country has miles to go (many more than the distance to Mars).
We grudgingly accept the fact that our government will should work only for the poor. Nay, we actually want the government to dedicate itself to improving the lot of the poor people and we hope (against hope) that they succeed.
People-like-Us, we are prepared (or left) to fend for ourselves. Private schools, private hospitals, private water tankers, private …. We pay private organizations to fill in the vacuum in the public sphere.
Call us greedy or rapacious, but we will find workarounds when the system comes up short. It costs us hard-earned money. Gladly or grudgingly we bear that cross.
Our real demands of the government are very few. We mostly want to be left alone.
We, The People Like Us.