Home Opinions Urbanization and Politics - Lessons From Gujarat

Urbanization and Politics – Lessons From Gujarat

In the recently concluded state elections of Gujarat, the stark difference in the response of urban electorate and the rural electorate to caste politics could be seen. This raises immense hope for those who subscribe to progressive politics and oppose regressive and tribal concept of caste-based vote-bank politics. It also highlights that caste-consciousness could be a huge stumbling block to a modern India. This article tries to analyse the relationship between urbanization and political discourse in the country.

Urbanization encourages individuality, a society based on an earned status of individuals as opposed to a rural society that subscribes to ascribed status of individuals. The lack of social mobility in a stagnant rural economic setup reinforces caste loyalty. The multiple social divisions of caste, religion and language tend to break down in urban and cosmopolitan areas. Most of the times, in urban areas individuals are usually respected for their personal achievements rather than their lineage or social identities.

Urbanization means different things to different people. As I am using census data in this article, I would like to quote the definition of ‘urban area’ as per Census of India :

1.  All places with a municipality, corporation, cantonment board or notified town area committee, etc.

2.  All other places which satisfied the following criteria:

  •  A minimum population of 5,000;
  •  At least 75 per cent of the male main working population engaged in non-agricultural pursuits; and
  •  A density of population of at least 400 persons per sq. km.
- Advertisement - - Article resumes -

The rate of urbanization of India has been steadily increasing though it is not as fast as other developing countries like China and Indonesia. The census says that the percentage of urban population in India is 31.16% in 2011. There are reports of under-estimation of India’s urbanization based on satellite images, but I would like to set aside that aspect as the information is not from credible sources.

The percentage of urban population has nearly tripled from 10.8% in 1901 to 31.16% in 2011 at an average of 1.85% per decade. During the period we have seen a slow degradation of caste consciousness in the country among the general population (with the exception of Mandal politics of 90s) . From the year 1951 to 1991, an era of socialist economics and Congress domination the percentage of urban population has increased from 17.3% to 25.7% , an average rise of 2.1%  per decade.

However, in the two decades after liberalization, urban population has risen from 25.7% to 31.16% , an average  rise of 2.73% per decade. Unshackling the country from chains of Nehruvian socialism has contributed to faster urbanization in India. With growth of urban population, the tendency of people to respect dynasty and lineage is also decreasing.

According to the 2011 census, Gujarat is among the few big states that have breached 40% mark in the state wise percentage of urban population. The other big states which have more than 40% of population in urban areas are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

In such states, it will be more difficult to divide or mobilize any dominant community or caste for deciding an election in future. This is because, the urban setting forces individuals to think out of their tribal mindsets. In addition to that, it also becomes difficult for caste based leaders to ensure compliance of the community to their diktats. Compare this to Bihar, where only 11% of the population lives in urban areas. The state prefers caste based leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family even if the leader is convicted by courts for corruption.

The fact that Congress won 71 of their total 77 seats from rural areas shows that the caste factor had an important role in its victory. BJP’s victory in 36 of 42 urban seats (85% of urban seats), shows that urban areas are slowly moving away from caste-ism.

Better incomes and social mobility that urban areas offer, tend to reduce the connection to caste identity, unlike a rural area that forces people to hold on to their caste identities. A small shopkeeper in an urban area like Ahmedabad can hope to own a big store in future, but the same is usually not possible in a stagnant village. I would like to conclude by saying that faster urbanization is a good thing for society, development and the politics of India in coming years as it forces politicians to move towards development issues rather than caste based hankering for votes.

Share This Post With Your Friends & Fans:
We need your support to survive in the media industry. Please consider paying us for the content we produce:

To know more about these payments, please click here.


Most read articles recently

Sri Lanka attacks

Sri Lankan millionaire’s family was an ISIS cell: Suicide bombers shatter shameless excuses peddled by ‘liberals’ to justify Islamic terrorism

All over the world, the terrorist attacks by radical Islamists is immediately served with long and extensive excuses about how social ills, discrimination, poverty, hardships, and atrocities lead to terrorism.

Meet the Photoshop artist whose work Akshay Kumar showed to Prime Minister Modi

While mostly people have been appreciative of his artwork, suspended bureaucrat Ashish Joshi has threatened him with police complaint about his cleverly Photoshopped image
If you believe Google trends, this election is a runaway win for Modi

If you believe Google trends, this election is a runaway win for Modi

It’s fairly clear: Congress hasn’t managed to get its message out.  If you ask Google Trends, this election is over. The writing is on the wall. PM Narendra Modi is all set to win

Propagandist Dhruv Rathee mocks Manohar Parrikar’s death to score political brownie points

Earlier, too, Rathee was caught speaking the same language as that of Pulwama attack terrorist by mocking 'cow urine drinkers'
The Quint lies, twists and tortures CVoter data to make it say that the Modi wave is over. Here is what the data actually says

The Quint lies, twists and tortures CVoter data to make it say that the Modi wave is over. Here is what the data actually says

Leftist portal The Quint published an article headlined "Modi wave over? Why pollsters are scaling down projections for BJP" based on CVoter data, where the data itself was twisted, selectively quoted and misrepresented

Two AAP MLAs lunged towards Kejriwal and one punched him such that his glasses fell off, claims Kapil Mishra

AAP MLAs reportedly beat up Kejriwal so much that he has injured his knees and could not walk properly

Mamata Banerjee sends kurtas and sweets for him says PM Modi in a freewheeling chat with filmstar Akshay Kumar

Prime Minister Modi's informal interaction with film star Akshay Kumar leads to a meltdown of 'journalists'
Tehseen Poonawalla mocks people for using chalks to clean their shoes

Robert Vadra’s relative mocks Modi’s memories, exposes why Congress could never understand needs of India’s poor

Tehseen Poonawalla mocked PM and others who claimed to have used chalk to whiten their dirty canvas shoes and called them dumb.

Naxal sympathisers, ultra-left wing activists and Congress beneficiaries among ’eminent’ people seeking inquiry against CJI

We look into the background of some of these people part of the 'eminent' group which has now asked for a probe against the sitting CJI for sexual harassment

Twinkle takes out all her anger on Tweets against me, so your family life must be peaceful: PM Modi says to Akshay Kumar

Twinkle Khanna, daughter of former Congress MP Rajesh Khanna, in the past has used false equivalence to take a dig at some of the initiatives of Prime Minister Modi.

Latest articles

Connect with us

157,373FansLike
130,463FollowersFollow
54,910SubscribersSubscribe

Don't miss these

Share This Post With Your Friends & Fans: