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Urban Middle Class in India

The historical context of the development of middle classes in India is quite different from those in western world. It was 19th century under the patronage of British colonial rule that the middle classes beginning to emerge. During the post colonial period middle classes are instrumental in bringing about changes to the economic policy and social change by the Indian state. In India the middle class emerged in the consequence of changes in the system of law and public administration than economic development.

They mainly belonged to the educated class. During the colonial period, British had introduced railways, postal and press etc for which they required educated individuals to man these administrative institutions. So in order to fulfill the requirement they opened schools and colleges in different parts of the country.

Those educated in these institutions not only worked for British but were beginning to think like them.

Apart from this educated segment there was another section those of traders and artisans. As the economy began to change many of the merchants and traders moved to newly emerged towns and cities. Thus with the employed middle class these traders and merchants also became part of them.

The members of the middle class began to introduce social reforms and also beginning to question about the legitimacy of British rule in India. Many of them joined the national movement to oppose British rule.

The instilled the feeling of nationalism and worked towards development of India as a nation. Post independent another factor which emerged was the increasing urbanization and rise in the prices of real estate. When the urban area increased the rural areas also became urban and this increased the land. The rural people sold their land and joined the middle class. The middle class is not only an indicator of social change but also brought about the social change. They are the educated class and have started playing a major role in politics which was earlier reserved for upper and royal classes.