Of onions, potatoes & vegetables!

Inflation and the economic downturn have spelt doom for an incumbent government  

Ram Ugrah Delhi 

“We have no acts of parliament against combining to lower the prices but many against combining to raise it.” This [sarcastic] aphorism of Adam Smith’s seems to hold true even today. 

The rise in prices and the corresponding fall in the life of the middle class and the rural populace are driving them to despair.  

With inflation soaring to an all time high, there is a big     surge in both retail and wholesale prices, worrying policy-makers.

Housewives have been forced to become onion-eyed. So is anyone who thinks it is essential for the gourmet’s delight.    

Even the humble potato has turned into a hot potato, currently being sold at such a high price that crisps, chips, French fries and namkeen flakes are seemingly more affordable than the vegetable! 

Tomatoes, too, are in a messy state. Vendors charge according to their whim for this another essential Indian cuisine ingredient. Vegetarians are pretty dismayed too – kebabs, steaks, and mincemeat seem immune to the sky-rocketing inflation. 

Enough is enough. 

Sharad Pawar, the man supposed to helm the situation from above, is apparently oblivious of the messy situation on the agricultural front. Is he aware how everyone from every class of society is bearing the brunt of rising prices?

Keep aside inflationary trends, and look at the national scene.

Unemployment, smugglers, hoarders, black marketers, tax dodgers, international lobbies, private pressure groups, a press committed to business houses, flabby political parties in power without direction, irresponsible bureaucracy, expanding and chaotic cities, ghettoisation of villages, general unrest and discontent, the breakdown of services, slums and filth and squalor, supreme importance of money power, collapse of idealism and moral values ­– all these form the stuff of daily life in India. Anyone reading about the events of the day will be wondering how long things are going to last.  

Apocalyptic visions are already being seen by people with different political views. The breakdown of law and order, rampant vandalism, rapes and murders, violent outbreaks are of no concern. Such visions suits the temperament of particular people, particularly those of the middle class who think the world will end when their own position is threatened.

Undoubtedly, the government is to blame for a lot of things. There has been no worthwhile political leadership for many years. There is no commitment to a set of goals. All that the government wants is to muddle through somehow. 

Besides, it is distorting the political credibility of the system by resorting to any means to get funds for its party purposes. Some of this may be exaggerated but people believe that the country’s destiny is not in safe political and administrative hands. 

But people have a basic, rough commonsense notion as well. They know that the opposition parties themselves are not great examples of innocence. They have seen the Left and the Right in action and they are no longer dazzled by the vituperative slogans and outbursts of either. They would rather be fooled by inept but not evil persons rather than coldly efficient but corrupt groups.