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Adding 'Fire to the Fuel'

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Saturday, May 26, 2012 - 17:37
Supriya Jha
Crystal Clear

<i>Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam!</i> (The entire world is a family)

I remember having learnt this Sanskrit phrase way back in the ‘90s, when I was in 6th standard.

But it’s only now after two decades that I have come to understand the gist of it. Because it has nipped in bud my infant dreams of feeding my family car on my own.

In a nutshell, the whole world's a family, because if Euro, in Greece, catches cold, it is the Indian Rupee that would sneeze.

The Indian Rupee that's ageing like never before, and is in its mid-fifties, who knows, could soon hit 60, if Greece exits Eurozone.

I had nothing to do with this free fall of rupee against the US dollar before I was in a ‘space’ shielded by my parents who never let me experience the 'gravitational force of inflation’. Also being a science geek, all that’s business sounded Greek to me.

But the times, they have changed.

Now it does matter to me, and to all those who depend on this elixir of ‘life in motion’ called petrol.

The UPA-II government just after a day it celebrated its third anniversary, suddenly realized that oil companies were losing money selling oil at lower costs and needed to be gifted. (Technically, the oil companies take the call on raising deregulated petrol prices but in reality, the government gives the yes or no.)

What followed was that the nation of 1.21 billion awoke to the horror of their petrol-run car having turned into a dream farther away.

Emboldened by the presence of Mulayam and Lalu on the dais at the sumptuous anniversary dinner, the government dared to play the gamble and toy with the common man's emotions and patience.

The hike did much to invoke the angry young man within all. Many, in their heart of hearts, have already begun to write off the UPA in 2014. But what they forget is that we forget very soon. It is the same short-lived memory of the common man that the government cashes in upon.

Point to be noted is that the next nearby elections fall in November (Gujarat and Himachal). And given the daily hustle-bustle that people like me and you have to live through, six months is a time long enough to let us keep alive the indignation. Moreover, our rulers very well know that their subjects have a <i>chalta hai</i> attitude and that we come to terms with every calamity very easily. Be it living with a culture of crime, red-tapism or the most omnipresent corruption, unfortunately, we get used to everything.

Now that the government has inflicted on us the steepest petrol price hike ever, the people are out on streets, fuming. This blunt move of increasing the fuel price by Rs 7.50 per litre in one go has drawn sharp vitriolic reactions from allies and the opposition alike. The rumours of a partial rollback are in the air. And maybe, the price gets cut down by a couple of rupees or so. Or may be not.

But in the end, dear readers, it doesn't really matter. The anger would die down. The common man would adjust. The poor will tolerate.

The rich ones will just have to skip their daily dose of Cold Coffee from Barista to compensate the hike, that too, if they feel like. And the politicians - they could continue getting their whole families on shopping spree in free cars with free fuels. They would continue spending crores in making statues and advertising themselves in a grand way on each anniversary. The scams would continue to tumble out. Black money would never turn white.

But we, the common man have to compulsorily understand that if the oil price is not hiked, companies would suffer the loss of Rs 72,000 crore; that how it's going to affect our fiscal deficit (and many more such jargons, you love not to know about); and that the rupee is falling and how it is going to sting us. So, we must endure. After all we are the true Indians.

The fire has been added to the fuel. Waiting to see, who burns finally!

First Published: Saturday, May 26, 2012 - 17:37

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