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Great Indian Middle Class

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  164 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
"Updated with a new introduction"--Cover.
Paperback, 232 pages
Published April 30th 1998 by Penguin Books Australia Ltd. (first published January 1st 1998)
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Neeraj Bali
Jun 12, 2014 Neeraj Bali rated it it was amazing
I read this book 12 years ago and came across my notes this morning. I think that this book remains a very important work towards understanding the attitudes, inclinations, compulsions and impulses of our nation's middle class. Here are the notes:

The book argues that the lack of social concern of the Indian middle class is detrimental to the health of the nation and the class' own long term interests. The complete apathy towards the unwashed masses as the nation continues to march down the road
Feb 10, 2014 P rated it it was ok
This reads like a boring monologue from your pompous uncle about 'kids nowadays' replete with banal truisms [grumble, grumble]. The author excuses himself in the preface by explaining that he was under a tight deadline from the publisher and enjoyed writing this book in a hurry while he spent time at home, hanging out with his children. Apparently this explains why he only had time to cite quotations of other people's work, including articles he read in the newspaper and quotes from Nehru that ...more
Aravind P
Nov 22, 2011 Aravind P rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Watan ki fiker ker naadaan! moosibat aanay wali hai
Teri berbaadiyon kay mashwaray hai aasmaanon may

Na samjho gay to mit jaao gay ai Hindoostaan waalo!
Tumhaari daastaan tak bhi na hogi daastaano-n may - Iqbal

This is how the book "The Great Indian Middle Class" by Pavan K Varma, started. I had many doubts clouding over my head, my conscience was waging war between ‘Randian’ selfishness against an individual’s social relevance. I could remember only one phrase that engaged in this tussle - Middle C
Hema Rajashekar
Aug 13, 2013 Hema Rajashekar rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for all all Indians, particularly those who belong to the middle-class. Although the writing style is not so great, the author has a fine mind..he convincingly shows up the middle class as horribly selfish and insular.
Pradipta Saha
I'm no longer proud to be Indian...
Tanvi Chaturvedi
Apr 03, 2014 Tanvi Chaturvedi rated it really liked it
good read.. thought provoking and debatable in group! :)
Jul 29, 2016 Prashanth rated it liked it
As Karan Thapar puts it,"An excoriating critique of the middle class" is the perfect desrciption for this book. The author, a diplomat with the IFS, is scathing in his indictment of the middle class(which in any case can only be amorphously defined in India)- for having forsaken completely any pretensions to idealism and ethics especially post liberalization,(unlike in the immediate post independence era when it was inspired by the Gandhi-Nehru ethos), and bemoans the emergence of an ...more
Parikshit Nema
Jul 13, 2013 Parikshit Nema rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a meticulously researched work on India's middle class, only to conclude that it doesnt exist anymore post 1991 reforms. Much has been written about the demise of ideals and morals among this strata, and how changing political scenarios only hastened it. However it misses out on the role of World Bank and other international agencies in triggering the consumerist wave responsible for the seduction of the middle class. But its spot on in singling out the middle class as the biggest ...more
Siddharth Shankaran
Nov 15, 2012 Siddharth Shankaran rated it it was amazing
One of the books that tears apart the mystical halo around the "Indian Freedom" and exposes it in its true contours, shorn of all idealism and pretensions of a nationalistic fervour. Pavan Kumar Varma's language is prose like and the flow of book grips the reader disabusing him/her of blind nationalistic middle class exhortation, in the process. His scathing attack on consumerist middle class ethos and culture appropriating the legacy of revolutionaries in the narrow context of Indian freedom ...more
Anyusha Rose
Oct 31, 2012 Anyusha Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting history of the middle classes in India, showing the post-1947 consensus as an unsustainable elite project that needs to be changed if economic growth is to continue in India. Focussing on social justice and the way this is now overlooked by the vast majority of middle class Indians in order to satisfy their own increasingly materialistic needs, the book suggests a number of political reforms to ameliorate the position of the poor. A fascinating insight into the emergence of the ...more
Aruna Kumar Gadepalli
Jan 21, 2013 Aruna Kumar Gadepalli rated it really liked it
Reading s non-fiction needs patience as non-fiction tend to describe so much about the topic sometimes making it boring to continue reading. This book is totally different. The subject that is taken is contemporary and apt. From the introduction part the books made me hook to the book. Though I read book on history of freedom mo movement and the role of middle class in general and the books on middle class in particular. The way the subject is treated in this book really interesting and thought ...more
Sarath MK
Most of the criticism in the book are valid. But the irony is that solutions suggested to it was not realistic at all. For example is that even though the author made it clear that India accounts a large mass of illiterate rural population, one of the solutions suggested include a e-learning website for the farmers. How can an illiterate community make you of a web portal? Also the author points out the failures in Gandhian ideas of social restructuring after independence,but the book ends with ...more
Jan 24, 2011 Manish rated it liked it
Starting off with a hypothesis behind the reason for which Nehru addressed the nation on the eve of independence in English, Pavan Varma goes on to trace the rise of the Indian middle class and it’s deep correlation with the changing times and corresponding ideologies of the decades following the Mahatma and Nehru. This is a highly recommended read to understand better the India we deal with day in and day out both consciously and unconsciously.
Joseph Sverker
Varma is heavily critical against the Indian middle class of today and he seems to have good reasons for it. The book is perhaps somewhat one-sided and it would be nice if his argumentation was a little more balanced, or maybe it simply is as bad as he is writing. I also detect quite a Nerhuvian idolization, which I wonder can be toned down somewhat.
Abhinav Agarwal
Jan 04, 2013 Abhinav Agarwal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr Pavan K Verma gives a very acute analysis of why the middle class as a whole does what it does, taking into account factors from political, regional, religious to economy. On the whole this is more like collection of essays that analyzes the happenings in out country and its progress with a common binding theme of the urban Middle class.
Sep 26, 2012 Deepak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must read book for every educated Indian to have an informed opinion about the Indian middle class which has been the most important collectivity behind shaping of India's destiny in the modern time.
Anil Swarup
Apr 16, 2013 Anil Swarup rated it really liked it
Another outstanding book from Pavan Varma. He knows the ground reality and articulates it lucidly. His feet are firmly on the ground when he suggests the way forward. A must read for all those who are concerned about the country and its future.
Decent. Although I respect Pavan Varma as a thinker, commentator and ex-bureaucrat, this is not his best work. A good insight, but nothing spectacular. A lot of historical context that seemed quite unnecessary.
Aug 03, 2013 Vivek rated it it was ok
Though some of the points he makes are valid, but the reasons he ascribes are shallow. The book suffers from a very judgmental and "holier than thou" tone. Not very insightful. Give it a miss.
Arun Batra
Jul 11, 2013 Arun Batra rated it it was ok
Boooooooring, stuffed with details I will be able to enjoy only when I will be 70 years old, probably...btw, I could never finish this book.
Ankit Agrawal
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Apr 19, 2011
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Sep 14, 2012
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May 14, 2007
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