Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lesson From Nepal

A stunned world blinked. The comprehensive victory in the recent polls in Nepal by the ultra radical Maoists has shaken democratic countries, especially India. Much has been said and written on the implications of this Maoist win to India but very few have tried to analyze why Nepalese preferred the Maoists over the mainstream political parties. Nepal being a land locked country depends on India for all commodities. And like India, Nepal has more than two-thirds of its population earning less than a dollar or two a day. When prices of grain and all other food items spiraled in India in the last two years, its affects were felt by the Nepalese. And so they chose the ultra left wing which promises to the population at least two meals a day. What is the lesson India needs to learn. That the vast majority of population on the brink of malnourishment and hunger will choose extreme radical political players. Witness the huge response the Communists got when they called upon the Poor to loot food godowns in Andhra Pradesh. When hunger gnaws in the belly and when parents watch their children eat only a morsel of food at each meal, rationality is replaced by blind hatred at society.

The rhetoric of the Harvard/Cambridge educated trio- the PM, FM and PC Vice Chairman- that globally food prices are on the rise and they are helpless in containing the prices might make an interesting reading for the Financial Rich and the Intellectual Rich savoring the newspaper along with their breakfast but will not cut any ice with the 800 million people whose previous night’s dinner consists only half of what they used to eat earlier. That is if they had dinner at all. Just a comparison of the prices of the 6 essential items two years back and now starkly gives the picture of the misery two-thirds of our population is facing.

Price of a KG Rice has risen from Rs 10 to 18, Dal from 20 to 45, cooking oil from 35 to 75, milk from 12 to 21, common vegetables from 5-7 to 15-18 range and cheap liquor from 25 to 55 rupees.

And what have gone down.

Prices of luxury cars, mobile phones, call charges, air conditioners, plasma tv sets, air fares, branded apparel, luxury watches, Imported liquor etc have gone down considerably as year after year the government reduces taxes on such items. To be “ fair” to the Poor, the government reduces for them too. Allocations in budget as a percentage are reduced year after year on education, public health and public distribution system.

The propagandists of "trickledown effect theory" should at least once try waiting for a few drops of water with their mouths open at the elbow of the person drinking water with cupped hands from a gushing tap. They will then understand better what it means to wait for the trickledown effect.

Unless these anomalies are corrected, India will be taking rapid strides towards Anarchy.


radhe said...

The metaphor used on the 'trickle down' is quite an impactful one.

Thought provoking..


Anonymous said...

Good article sir,

India should looks seriously at economic differences, one class with loads of money, and others with NIL, leading to civil revolution.

Rama Rao

Anonymous said...

Agree completely!