This morning our man who does our laundry informed that the neighbourhood vendor who sells fresh coconut water had committed suicide. The reason being mounting debts which he was unable to repay. Just around the time I received this news, I saw the Prime Minister’s statement in Cannes that (http://www.ndtv.com/article/business/food-inflation-may-be-result-of-growing-prosperity-pm-manmohan-singh-147118?pfrom=home-lateststories) that “food inflation may be the result of growing prosperity” and the opposition leader making a statement that “corruption was the cause of rising food inflation”. Both these gentlemen in question are in the prime (as in ripe) age of their life. Both seem to have lost the ability to reason and relate to reality around them.
Whose prosperity is the Prime Minister talking about or corruption of which kind is the opposition leader referring to? The only class in independent India who are prosperous are the corrupt; the politicians and monopolistic businessmen. Neither cares about the rotting food going waste every day in government godowns and depots, in vegetable mandis and poor traders and farmers and daily wage laborers struggling to eke out a few rupees to make a living. They have no voice and are yet to be counted other than in a census; for they neither contribute nor are the beneficiary of the GDP growth rate which is pitched at &+%. Unlike the USA, where the ordinary folk are counted first and there is integrity in their reporting of the GDP growing at 4%. Because, the lowest of the low strata of their society is struggling while there is no perceptible change in the lifestyle of their prosperous consumers.
The level of sensitivity displayed by these two public personalities and the legions of their followers betrays the integrity they mask; the former is an economist from London School of Economics and has served positions in the highest level of civil services in India before becoming the finance minister and subsequently the Prime Minister of the country. The latter is a politician who has been on the cover of national politics for over 5 decades and part of a government as a home minister and an aspirant to the Prime Minister’s position. If this country has chosen to be guided by such gentlemen who boast of eminent titles but mediocrity in thought, is there hope for a bright future with such people at the helm of policy and polity making?
My mind wanders back to the coconut water vendor and the options he had in life as an Indian citizen. He could have cheated his way through, or subjected his customers to dangerous adulteration to earn more profits from the Rs. 10 he charges for a coconut! And then he would be labelled corrupt while the guy who funded the political rally of the opposition leader and the one who wrote the speech of the Prime Minister would be rewarded with a contract and a higher position in government; whoever wins the election and comes to power. Such odds of Winning and Losing in a democratic country, where every adult has the right to exercise his franchise and select the people and trust them to create governance that spells growth!