The New Class and the New Party
Who were the people who provided the physical envelope for the mind of the new India? They were for the most part, in the nineteenth century, men in modest positions in society though of good caste status. In India these two can often be wide apart. Modern India has not many examples of the log cabin to White House type.1 But the bulk of the new class came from the subordinate strata of society and occupied, in the first generations, subordinate positions. There they would have remained in a purely Indian society. But the British, by measures and means already related, obligingly removed the classes above them, either by reducing them to poverty or by pushing them aside into a social backwater. As the class rose, it therefore found its only obstruction to be the alien governing class. It could evoke the new sentiment of nationalism for the officials' removal and so step into their place. Thus political change did not involve social displacement. This is one reason why the Indian revolution, if we may call the attainment of independence in 1947 by that term, did not involve a social revolution as well. The violence which accompanied it in the north had a racial-cultural rather than a social character.
This new class had the unique qualities in India of possessing characteristics which gave it homogeneity and of being spread in patches throughout the subcontinent. We may first inquire into its origins and make-up and then note the factors which brought the diverse elements together. The class owed its origin to the British, for it was their presence and activities which called it into existence and their deliberate measures which later expanded and solidified it. The first traces of the class were to be found in the Presidency towns among the people who ministered to the needs and wants of the Company's servants. So we can trace the origin of this class in Bombay to the Parsis, who controlled the Bombay dockyard for several generations, and in South India to men like Ananda