Wednesday, June 23, 2021
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.

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.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Related Articles

Trending now

From cover up to conspiracy to murder: Some unanswered questions about Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s death in Kashmir

Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee had died mysteriously days after he was arrested in Jammu and Kashmir for entering the state without permission

“Prepare to be sued”: Former IFS officer Lakshmi M Puri shuts up Congress supporter Saket Gokhale for misleading allegations against her

Alleged activist and Congress mouthpiece Saket Gokhale made baseless allegations against Lakshmi M Puri, wife of Hardeep Singh Puri

Ever Given: Ship that blocked Suez Canal has since been held by Canal authorities, they wanted 916 million dollars

After demanding 916 USD initially, the canal authorities had later lowered the demand amount to 550 million. A final settlement is expected to be reached soon.

Trinamool MP Mimi Chakraborty duped by fake IAS officer’s fake vaccination drive, one arrested

Mimi Chakraborty was reportedly duped by a man who claimed to be an IAS officer and requested the TMC MP to be chief guest at a COVID-19 vaccination drive organised by him.

Telangana: Woman working at Christian priest’s home dies in police custody, officer suspended

Mariyamma, who used to work as a domestic help at local priest Father Balaswamy's house in Govindapuram village, breathed her last on June 18 after cops allegedly assaulted her.

Kanpur: Hindu families put “for sale” signs outside their houses after being forced to convert to Islam, SP MLA accused of shielding the goons

10 Hindu families in Rail Patri colony in Kanpur live under constant fear as they have been threatened either to covert to Islam or leave the area.

Recently Popular

Ravish Kumar appears massively frustrated as India administers 85 lakh COVID vaccines in single day, this is why he does not make sense

Ravish Kumar goes on a ranting spree to hate on PM Modi by camouflaging propaganda as 'criticism' over COVID-19 vaccination

How Venkatesh Prasad is winning hearts with his ‘Sanghi’ posts, one tweet at a time

Venkatesh Prasad demonstrated the Surya Namaskar for his followers, performed in deference to the Sun God.

‘Is your father a mali or chowkidar? I will cancel your license, H*r*m*zade’: Maneka Gandhi threatens vets in viral audios

The Indian Veterinary Association in a letter have condemned the unruly behavior and unparliamentary language used by Maneka Gandhi against animal doctors.

Oxfam says reporting rape cases harms black and marginalised people, blames ‘privileged white women’ for root causes of sexual violence

Oxfam says that fighting against sexual assault legitimises criminal punishment, which harms black and other marginalised people

After being slammed by Bombay HC for lack of evidence, Mumbai police names Arnab Goswami as an accused in second TRP chargesheet

Republic TV had submitted before Bombay HC that Mumbai Police have deliberately not named Arnab Goswami in charge sheet to keep the investigation open
- Advertisement -

 

Connect with us

255,564FansLike
555,501FollowersFollow
24,400SubscribersSubscribe