Between the lines

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: “Growing Indian and Chinese appetite is contributing to the global food crisis".

What she meant: It is in the interest of United States if India retains its poverty and hunger tag intact.

What she didn’t: More and more poor people getting food, poverty diminishing and we are happy over it.

SITARAM YECHURY: "Rice’s remarks are atrocious…. It appears that the US would be more comfortable with higher level of hunger in developing countries”.

What he meant: Hunger and poverty are the issues of our monopoly. We have not just been talking on it, but helping people to retain that status.

What he didn’t: Bengalis have stopped eating fish. In stead they are switching over to chapattis.

MONTEK SINGH ALHUWALIA: "I don't agree there is a global food crisis because of India and China. There is an increase in food production too in both the countries."

What he meant: After 50 years of congress and five years of NDA regime, poor in India have finally got a chance to taste food. But it’s internal matter of our country and whether of not we feed Indians, it’s not US’s business.

What he didn’t: After sixty years of freedom, we have been getting food. Please don’t spoil our meal.

Are you also a victim of this ?

It’s annoying. My morning gets screwed up when I see the above ad in local newspapers.

There is nothing wrong with the advertise per se. It's certain contents that are thoroughly objectionable. It talks about levonorgestrel pills.

The strap in the ad read, “Kaal ratri Hyanchya kadun chuk ghadali…Pan mala pregnant vhayachi ichha nahi (last night, he made a mistake…But I am not willing to go for pregnancy).”

What...? “he made a mistake”.?...and what were you doing that time ?
It seems the lusty babe in the ad have enjoyed the act - her eyes shows it- yet she is outright putting the blame on her husband.
My colleague is right when he say, "everybody want pleasure, but nobody takes the suffering".

Indian Premier League

The success of Indian Premier League (IPL) is locked in bigger debate. Some old cricket lovers say, the game is loosing its shine while the new breed says it’s the new form of game meant for new generation.

I believe, the game is heading towards its true democratization. After we had a very successful 20-20 world cup, the ICL and now IPL has opened gates for younger players. Many of the young talents who have not been able to play any A-class game are proving their mettle in matches being played by top international players.

And as the BCCI selectors have already put it; may not be at initial stage but definitely at later stage, they will have to consider young guns for international cricket.

For rural Indians, who were till now by and large restricted to playing the game in their farms, it’s a new ray of hope. A hope that will turn their dream of playing for country into a reality as the game reaches to roots.

Britishers first gave us the game. Then they rendered democracy. The Indians blended both with our own style and made a new product that will now rule the world.

Its up...up...up

Inflation has surged to over three-year high of 7.41 % mark.

Surging prices has never been a cause of worry for me, till recently. At home, either mother or sister-in-law take care of food. But now I have started taking it seriously.

No, not because prices of pulses and edible oil have touched its record high. It's because few bars in Mumbai have stopped serving snacks on complementary basis along with liquor. A colleague of mine has reported this story (I’m not able to get the link) this week in HT. The increased prices, the story read, have forced the bar owners to stop serving snacks free of cost. It has never happened in the past.

I fear the wave of 'chakana on paid basis' would soon hit the restaurants in Pune too.

money lenders

I’m reacting little late, but then, I thought experts would have their opinion first on this potentially important and a never-ending issue.

When broadly no one, not a single edit barring the superb quick-edit in mint and a report by Reuters (again, that appeared in mint only) put his mouth in this issue, I thought its time to set the ball rolling at my own way. My apologies in advance if I have missed out any more article on the issue.

The issue is about moneylenders. After the Rs 60,000 crore farm loan waiver announcement, state politicians including Sharad Pawar, R R Patil and Uddhav Thakeray realized that the it's not going to help Vidarbha farmers much. So they began barking against the moneylenders. These politicians then threatened private money-lenders of possible attacks from their party cadre. They also appealed farmers to stop re-paying their dues without worrying the consequences.

Minutes back in another post I tried to recount a grouse expressed by a senior government official while I was doing a story on farmers suicide crop reaching to prosperous western maharashtra. The officer told me that loan taken from the bank by farmer is not even half than the one come from private money lender.

Of course anyone who wants money for his personal needs will find money lender a viable option than bank. Because latter require all the documents and formalities which farmers often can't fulfill while former only see collateral. Villagers do offer either gold or land as collateral to borrow money.

Another thing is in rural parts people require more money to meet their personal expenses like managing houses, marriages and maintaining their addictions, than taking out crop. And to pamper all such needs only money lender can come to the rescue. Farmers and villagers too don’t mind it.

So, I think in any rural village of India, people must be finding money lenders more close to them than bank official who go by rules.

Doesn’t it indicate that money lenders are an integral part of Indian rural economy and can't be separated till government improves the whole system?. The system where rural Indian doesn’t find need to go out demanding money. The system where he can meet all his expenses on his own and rely little on financial institution.

I think one can even try and think option like grameen bank .

So far as politicians like Pawar, Vilasrao or Thakeray goes, I don’t think they have guts to beat money lenders. Because their party in rural parts are mostly run on the money coming from these private finance providers. Also many a times politicians themselves play money lender.

In such case who will beat whom ?.

farmers suicides

I'm currently touring Vidarbha region and at the moment in Amravati, keying this post.

Much to my surprise, newspapers here have stopped playing farmers suicide stories on page-1, which earlier used to be flooded with such things. The centre in its unprecedented move has announced a farm package of Rs 60,000 crore, but the (farmers) suicides haven’t stopped. They won’t. Farmers from this region of dry land are least to gain from the present state of package since its provisions prove adverse for them from getting benefit.

I think it was all well thought. First to announce the package. The package, that will go in favour of certain people only. Then let the non-beneficiaries lament. Then people like Sharad Pawar, Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul would reassure those who are left out. And finally Mr. P Chidambaram will come up with the altered package.

It’s just a usual ploy. First to create a situation wherein people will be forced to die. Then offer them little and ensure that issue doesn’t get resolved. And when finally the people will actually start dying, offer them little more. Common man will finally come under the influence and say, wow, this government is really great !.

Anyway, I'm writing this post to make a different point altogether.

What I was saying was suicides stories in the local media have been replaced by the small protests over load shedding. Ofcourse load shedding is big issue in rural Maharashtra, but then is it even bigger than human casualty ?.
So, have we as common man lost our sensitivity or media here no longer find the issue news worthy?.

I asked couple of my journalist friends from Nagpur. Their reply was shocking. Initially I thought its the comman man of Vidarbha, who has stopped paying much attention to such issues. I can understand. People do get bored after some time - the same we have witnessed about terrorist daily taking toll of kasmiries.
Of late I doubt besides security agencies, does anyone really read those news carefully.

But no, in suicide issue, I was wrong. If the government data is to be believed, of late, the money going out from government treasury as an instant compensation for suicide-hit family has thinned despite the fact that cases keep coming more or less with the same rate.

Then I had my friends telling me that it has become a trend to commit suicide and demand compensation. When I did a story on the same issue in western maharashtra some two months back, government official there too told me the same thing. "Why should government compensate if he - doesn't matter even if he is a farmer - commit suicide for reasons like addiction of wine and woman or gambling"?, an IAS officer incharge of one of the district in western maharashtra, asked.

And today it's mohammed wajihuddin, who in his
article appeared in Sunday TOI has pointed out the same thing.

So, few minutes back when a friend of mine based in US asked me that how much is the level of substance in TOI story, I have two answers.

Either the people reporting or reading the issue have lost their sensitivity or perhaps those who are in crisis, themselves have lost sensitivity to the real problem and trying to take the advantage of the situation forced upon them.