Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chidambaram speaketh

Chidambaram speaketh, nation listeneth. Chidambaram, honorable that he is, recently commented that “the Indian middle class is willing to splurge on ice-cream and mineral water without fuss, but protests against a small increase in price of wheat and rice.” This comment is totally out of context and has raised tremendous hue and cry throughout the nation and rightly so.

Here is why Chidambaram’s statement is outright blunder and silly. First of all, not only the middle class, but even the rich are wary of sky rocketing prices, what the honorable minister puts as ‘small or marginal’ rise. He has mentioned small increase in prices of wheat and rice. What about sugar and petrol and all other essentials? The prices have increased four hundred to five hundred times. Perhaps in Chidambaram’s dictionary many fold increase is ‘small increase.’

Secondly, Chidambaram has mentioned only ‘middle class,’ conveniently forgetting lower middle and poor class. Or perhaps he does not consider them class at all. He should know that the poor people do not get ordinary potable water to drink and cannot afford wheat and rice to eat, leave alone mineral water and ice-cream. There can be no comparison between them.

Third and most important-survival does not depend on mineral water and ice-cream. You have no choice there, take it or leave it. Survival does not depend on them. Wheat, rice, sugar, travel are essentials, no choice there. You have to have them whether you can afford them or not. Mr. Chidambaram would do well to remember that poor, middle and rich, all classes need wheat and rice for survival.

I wonder if a man of Chidambaram’s education and back ground thinks the way he does, how can one blame Lalus and Rajas and Kalmadis and the likes?

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Header image credit: adapted from David Niblack

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