did you speak up for a rickshaw puller today?

a comment on a recent post on the indian economy blog:
The Dhirubhai Ambani’s of today don’t need a license to open extra businesses, but rickshaw pullers in Delhi cant have more than one rickshaw, auto rickshaws need to be licensed. the license raj is very much present for these people.
i've seen slight variations of that comment expressed on sundry blogs- it's offered as a pithy critique of the reforms process in india. how genuine is this love for rickshaw pullers and other members of the great unwashed among that section of india's chatterati which can only be classified as opposed-to-but-as-silly-as-the-shining- india-advocacy group? i've an answer, i think: of the 5,100 employees working in ecil, hyderabad, only 150 belong to the scheduled tribes and most of them are employed as drivers.

that's not an answer? how about this one- it's a comment i'd made around an year ago on a post at kafila:
so, why do these servants come to delhi? because there are in delhi these huge neighbourhoods with huge homes in which live people who own huge businesses which service huge numbers of salaried people and their families in their huge homes…whose income and tenure is guaranteed by the government.
so the servants come to delhi because their income and tenure is not guaranteed by the government in their villages..nor can they work at huge businesses because there are no salaried people there whose income and tenure is guaranteed by the government.
and there are no middle class people there who can point their fingers at other middle class people and gloat over their own finer sensibilities…because they don’t ill-treat their servants even though the government guarantees, in a way, their right to do so.
that isn't an answer either? try this one:
In fact the checkered history of industrial capital shows that this class has followed this ‘veil of ignorance’ principle rather selectively. For example, the textile mills owners in Bombay in the 1930s did not bother to follow the modern criterion of recruiting mill workers and even managers. Relatively more unskilled upper caste mill workers barred more skilled workers from the dalit castes from working in the weaving sections of Bombay based textile mills. The upper caste workers opposed the entry of dalits, not on grounds of merit but on the line of purity-pollution.
how about this last offering: citizens of hyderabad city had access to piped water supply 24 hours a day in 1947. well?

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