Thursday, July 10, 2014

Good Days are here



Courtesy The Hindu
I happened to stop by a wayside dhaba in the fringes of Delhi this evening.  While waiting for someone there, I watched the cooks prepare tandoori rotis and other tandoori items including chicken tikka and paneer puran.  If you actually watch how these dishes are prepared, especially in the summer heat of Delhi, you won’t ever eat it.  Human sweat mingles with the dusty dough and sliced paneer liberally. 

One of the tandoor operators approached the cashier and asked for drinking water.  “Order a bottle of mineral water,” he demanded.  Obviously there was no good drinking water in the restaurant – at least not good enough for the insider!  The cashier fumed, “How can I buy water?”  He was not the proprietor, after all.  He was just another employee earning a pittance from the boss who would be riding the bullet train promised by the Prime Minister’s new rail budget.

The tandoor operator went back to work mumbling something like a child chided by a dictatorial schoolteacher. 

The dictator’s new budget is announced.  Even two days before it was announced the prices of most things had gone up.  Every trader knew that prices would go up or that they could raise the prices up in justifiable anticipation.  Justifiable, because their King was on the throne. 

Poverty line has been redrawn.  Poverty, hereafter, will be defined by the King.  The King will decide how many millions of people in the country are actually poor simply by drawing a line. 

There’s a story in the puranas of our country in which a prince asks his father-king the meaning of kabandhaḥ.  The king, according to the story, asked one of his soldiers to bring a poor man and cut his head off.  Showing the headless body to the prince, the king said, “That’s a kabandhaḥ.  Do you understand?”

In the land of a metaphorical King, there will be metaphorical kabandhaḥs.  Metaphors are the burgers of the rich.  Poverty in India will become the largest burger in the international market in the King’s reign.  Poverty will be eliminated just like prince’s kabandhahs.  Ironically, the prince has become the Emperor.  It’s a mutual process: a king making an emperor and an emperor making a prince. Indian history is replete with such instances.  Now, particularly, it’s about Kings and Emperors in a democracy, you see, in the world’s largest democracy. 


Happy days are here again.  Provided you are rich enough to survive kahandhahdom.  

26 comments:

  1. Dear Matheikal sir, no offense to your post, you have actually presented it in a very good manner, though I am quite hopeful with the Modi government. In fact I had never seen such a government in the central, who is actually doing the governance, even I did not saw this determination in the Vajpayee govt.

    It is true that to brings things on track you need to do so many things, but then you should do it in a proper manner, it should not be like that you can take any decision without considering its impact on the future of we Indians. I am glad that Modi jee is taking decisions on a very cool minded manner.

    At least we are seeing a govt. in the center, it is actually far better than any other government. Do you think the same things would not had happened if there is a UPA or a coalition govt in center? Yes, they would also have increased the prices and new definition of poverty was defined by Rangarajan committee only which was formed in the UPA govt only.

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    1. Alok, thanks for your frank opinion. Probably, any govt would do similar things. Remember when the previous govt tried to similar things how BJP beat their chest and cried foul? My problem is that the Modi govt is doing precisely the opposite of what they promised in their election manifesto and campaign speeches. Modi is doing things meant to promote the middle and upper class interests. He is killing off the lower classes.

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  2. I really liked your post, specially your insightful explaination of democracy. Still, lets see whether the current government rules or improves.

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    1. There won't be any democracy in India under the leadership of Modi and Shah.

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  3. 200 Crore for Sardar Patel's statue. We sure are in good hands *sarcasm*

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    1. More crores will be spent supporting Modi's supporters :)

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  4. Excellent analogy for the situation.

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    1. I assure you if you take a walk on the streets of Delhi you'll witness more anger and frustration now than in all the previous years.

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  5. Interesting line of thought Matheikal. The poverty line has been an eternal debate and there have been so many committees to define the same. Although it seems like someone is going to control or define the poverty line, I don't think it would be that direct for the PMO to do it. It has to accept a committees proposal and the committee is defined by the administrators and not the politicians. They do not have much control over that in direct definition.

    The earlier party had its focus on defining poor and also it makes me feel sometimes that the poor are left to be poor without much aspiration or opportunities but with free stuff so that they can be taken advantage of in the next elections. Sometimes a reverse strategy can work very well. What we need is more options and opportunities and less free and subsidized stuff..

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    1. The focus of the post is not the poverty line, Vinay, but poverty itself. And what I'm saying is this: poverty will be eliminated by Modi by killing off the poor.

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  6. I know that I am going to make you angry. To be fair, poverty line was not this government's decision. Earlier government had setup Rangarajan committee to setup poverty line, after Tendulkar committee report was flayed. Report came out after NDA took charge. It is another matter, if you agree with the limit. But to be fair, poverty line simply takes into account basic needs to stay alive like food. It probably does not take into account shelter, medicine etc. At least not in India. We are looking at extreme poverty. When I went for studies abroad, I would not get visa unless my scholarshp was above poverty line of 1200 dollars per year. I guess line changes from degree of affluence and what government can offer at the very least. Finally, about the budget, finance minister had very little rope unless he junked everythign previous government had set out to do and start all over again. We would not like that approach, would we?

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    1. I agree with you Abhijit, I think the poverty line has been used and abused for a certain political gain by each governance and also used as a prime trump card in all the election campaigns. I guess it is about time that they start giving them more opportunities and incentives to go beyond the poverty line than keep them there for eternity..

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    2. Abhijit, as I said above in answer to Vinay's comment, I'm not speaking about poverty line in this post. That just came as an additional example. Modi's policy is to support the rich and the powerful. He will susbsidise for the Ambanis and Tatas, not for the poor. That's what I'm questioning. Can we eliminate poverty without eliminating the poor?

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  7. These are not good days... these are better :P

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    1. Sure, Kokila. But "better" for whom? For how many Indians?

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  8. Sir ,the first paragraph induced my nausea ..:-( though I know it's true...

    Coming to the main content , you've rightly pointed out about the price-hike...exorbitant price for everyday 'sabjis' also...but regarding the budget I think the Government has aimed to stabilize the macro-economy which is very much needed at this point. And for that there was no other way ..unfortunately...

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    1. I'm not optimistic, Maniparna. Simply because the Modi type of development we witnesses in Gujarat is not the ideal for the country. He made the rich richer and the poor poorer. He is doing the same for the entire country now.

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  9. The statue expenditure is hard to digest... the paneer?

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    1. Paneer too may be hard to digest; depends on your "spending power". And "saving power". If you save more money in your PPF account and can still afford to buy paneer, it will digest. :)

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  10. I am hopeful, Sir.
    May everyone in India have the best days...

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    1. I wish I could share your optimism, Anita.

      The very appointment of Amit Shah as the party chief is an evil omen. Wait and watch, you'll understand what I mean.

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  11. Great post, I also personally feel that whatever is promised in budget is an eyewash. This is itching lower middle class and poor class's pockets. New Govt is doing the same what others did, they are no different which they pretended to be !

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    1. This budget is just a continuation of what the previous govt did. No change in policies. At least, the previous govt made a pretension of helping the poor - MGNREGA, for example.

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  12. India has never saw freedom.. we are slaves to our own little minds.. we are selfish opportunists.. We care only for our families and friends.. people beyond that are just crowds for us.. Did u read about Shiela's 35 ACs in just 7 room mansion.. And now this statue.. I think active politicians are brazen about the country's poverty.. their words don't match their actions.. this is why it is Kalyug...

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  13. Here is the good news: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Gujarat-govt-unduly-favoured-Reliance-Adani-CAG-report/articleshow/39005042.cms someone wrote “Abki baar Ullu bangaya Yaar” as comment!

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    1. Very much and pleasantly surprised to see you here, DMR, after such a long time.

      We knew about the Modi-Corporate nexus, didn't we? Yet we voted him to power thinking he would wave a magic wand and save us al from corruption and poverty...

      We get the leaders we deserve!

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