The New Class
The last decade witnessed the growth of a new class in Bengal and I witnessed the inception, growth and evolution of this class. A friend of mine, a freelancer, very critical of this new class, told me, while quoting a urban limerick of Calcutta ( untranslatable and essential is critical remark on entrepreneurship):
“যার নাই পুঁজি-পাটা / সে যায় বেলেঘাটা।”
“যার নাই কোন যন্তুর / সে হয় আন্ত্রপ্রনর।”
This new class, apart from everything should be interesting to historians of Bengal who can examine this class to find how this new class has been developing from the ashes of a class-struggle ridden society – at least for a society where class and struggle both are embedded in the psyche as a mental construct.
A Sub-class of the new Entrepreneurial Class – “Glory Hunter Class“
A close friend of mine – a self-made business owner asked me to examine this sub-class and I find the following symptoms of this sub-class of entrepreneur class :
- This is a Lifestyle statement and nothing much to do with business, entrepreneurship or enterprise. Generally, their shelter, food and sustenance are ensured, either by parents or by husband /wives or by government pensions.
- The motivation of entering this new class is to have some alibi to go out of the house, spend time, have some socialization and through all of this, some kind of assignations and revenue accrued, so be it.
- All of them claim to be offered (note the word “offered”) great contracts and Purchase Orders and leads but none have any motivation to build a company / legal entity with all regulations but satisfied to be operating as a sole trader. Their is no match – they talk of crores but state that GST-IN is too cumbersome a process and they are not very interested.
- I masqueraded as a client to one of them and it is always “me, me, I, I, I….” and very little of “client” ; one quickly comes to the conclusion that this is not business but a means to generate “glory” and spread it. The virtual world makes it spread easily. I have asked 25 such class people to submit an one page proposal of the work for a RFP I was going to send but no reply ! Observation – Experiment – Theory.
- Finally, the overall model is this (I borrow from my friend, once again and paraphrase) : “... to have a semblance of a business that enables one to attend meetings, conferences, trade shows with no direct pressure on sustenance. To have the ego of being an “entrepreneur” and looking to get perks of being so which is liberal lectures, feel-good-motivational posts, not very much interested in the client requirements, capital tax, regulatory compliance and all other works that a business owner needs to do. And the last one is to earn glory. “
The same friend summed up the whole class as per their modus operendi by an idiom of Bengali – poetry is the most compressed code (Bengali parents who are enrolling their children to Coding – endorsed by CEOs, Bollywood actors and Celebrities etc may note that their native language has created greatest of codes through her experience and literature and if their children can master the code inside the everyday software they use, the other lower class computer software will be much easier to master- ) :
“ধরি মাছ না ছুঁই পানি।”