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Protest, Politics, and the Middle Class in Varanasi

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Looking at public protests in Varanasi, this paper focuses on associations representing four middle-class occupational groups - traders, lawyers, teachers, and doctors. It finds that they perceive the state to be unresponsive to formal, contained means of making demands, and see disruptive action as the quickest means to force it to deliver on its promise of good governance. The contentiousness is often highly politicised - bound up with political ambitions and rivalries, electoral expectations, and patronage relationships with political figures. There is also a strong element of assumed class privilege in the outrage that they bring to the street.

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