We want to be considered a "civilised society" but we don't want to act like one. We want to be called "educated" but we don't want to learn. We want to be called "modern" but we also want to act in medieval ways (because culture). We want to chest-thump about "democracy" while supporting despots.
The defining characteristic of the Indian middle-class - its hypocrisy - is apparent in every aspect of its public behaviour. Be it the value we assign certificates over skill, to our hang-ups about family honour and reputation overpowering our sense of right and wrong. Things just have to look nice, not BE nice.
The price we pay for this shallow approach to our social life is everywhere to see. We have "educated" adults incapable of critical thought. We have "qualified" professionals who can't tell their heads from their posteriors. We have law-enforcers who are actually law-breakers.
But hey - at least they look the part. At least they wear the right clothes and have the right certificates framed on their walls and own the right amount of land and the right number of cars and children. Internal reality can go F itself.
The price we pay for this fantasy land is that we live in a hollow society. A structure that is not really standing but we think it is. That tilt is part of the design, we tell ourselves.
And when a part of it crumbles, we are full of amazement. How could this happen, we wonder? Does that person not know it is wrong to do this? Does this person not know her job?
The answer is no. They don't. Of course they don’t. They were never really taught anything more than the colour of their uniform and the design of their name plate. They are cardboard cutouts that only look like the real thing. And the rest of us - we were never taught how to disagree with them because authority. Heck, we won’t even let journalists - whose job literally it is to question authority - disagree with them.
So we are faced with the reality of this hollow system routinely. The fact that we have no regard for education or law or even life, that this is a house of cards that only looks as if it is in working order (because that's what we prioritised for generations - appearances).
So congrats I guess! Everything is pretty and looks just right. And we don't need to change the way we teach because that all looks pretty too. Debate? Bah! Critical thinking? Fuck off! We are fine. We know how to add and subtract and that's enough.