Pepper spray, being recommended to women as their useful handy security tool in case of stalkers and other goons after the recent surge in the incidents of crime against women, now gets its endorsement by the Indian Parliament.

A parliamentarian, an MP of the Congress party, proudly used a pepper spray today in the parliament to protect his life as he later claimed that he was acting in self-defense. Another parliamentarian, a senior member of the ruling alliance, claimed that it could have taken lives (saying – ‘strict action should be taken against MPs who had tried to “kill” other lawmakers’).

Now, like any good initiative in India and anywhere in the ‘civilized society’, the field is open to debate. But one thing is sure that after this endorsement of pepper spray at a hallowed platform like of the Indian Parliament, the product is going to get much wider acceptance. It is expected that now even the men will start using pepper sprays for their safety. As a natural corollary, the demand is expected to increase manifold.

As a possible consequence, after this episode, the pepper spray industry is expected to get recognized and organized and, therefore, should get the legal framework to regulate the pepper spray production and sale.

But that should be irrespective of the debate if pepper spray could be life threatening as Mr. Rajeev Shukla said. Mr. L Rajagopal’s claim of pepper spray use to save his life during the Parliament ruckus on the Telangana Bill should be given more credence here as it fits in the trend of the long but harmless use of pepper sprays. A positive development should be supported with positive afterthoughts.

What is noteworthy here is the unrealized potential of the might of pepper sprays. India has seen jump in rape cases and other crimes against women and apart from other precautions, pepper sprays, too, have been recommended as the primary tool to thwart the advances of the molesters and the claws of the rapists. But we had not any credible precedent of it. We were yet to have a ‘follow-worthy’ endorsement for pepper spray highlighting its usefulness in the ‘life-threatening situations’.

Now, that it has come directly from the Parliament and that too with the claims of a parliamentarian that the pepper spray saved his life, we all (not only women, but the men, too) should have no second thoughts about it.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Or the real tea-seller?

Narendra Modi or Lalu Prasad Yadav?

‘I am the real one.’ – Lalu Yadav has made this startling claim in response to Narendra Modi’s efforts to draw electoral mileage from his tea-selling past.

Before this, we did not know that we had any other political dignitary that Mr. Modi from the tea-selling background.

But, Mr. Yadav’s words imply that Mr. Modi’s claims are not to be taken seriously.

Lalu Yadav has contended that Narendra Modi’s claims of being a tea-seller in his childhood days are not creditworthy. Mr. Yadav says he is the original (real) tea-seller of the Indian politics.

Lalu Yadav, who has been notoriously famous for his funny remarks and bantered speeches, said he never found it necessary to tell people about his tea-selling childhood days.

Modesty it may be, but, we cannot say this was a compassionate decision. Whatever be the truth behind Mr. Modi’s tea-boy time, he has eternally been on it, claiming and promoting his tea-selling past. He has been a durable brand ambassador for the tea-sellers across the country.

Lalu Yadav’s tea-selling background could have been a bonus on that. The additional branding mileage that they would have got with Lalu’s endorsement could well have expedited their arrival on the political scene much before. Tea-sellers should sue Lalu Yadav for this unnecessary delay.

Okay, that is for the loss of the tea-vendors and they need to think about that. But Lalu, too, has harmed his political prospects by proclaiming his tea-selling background so late. Suppose, if he plans to counter Modi’s ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ by launching a parallel discussion-on-tea sort of exercise, he would not be able to gain support from the tea-vendors.

And given the prospect of significant political returns by this branding exercise (reaching around 200 million people in 300 cities same day, same time, every week, until the Lok Sabha polls are held), Mr. Yadav’s reaction is natural.

But, how can this be Mr. Modi’s fault if Lalu Yadav could not see the opportunity to gain electoral mileage from the mighty cup of tea, part of almost every Indian’s daily routine, at home, in office, at the roadside tea-stall? If Lalu acted late then why is he blaming Mr. Modi now?

Also, Mr. Yadav needs to blame Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar before blaming Mr. Modi, the senior Congress politician whose ill-timed jibe at Narendra Modi’s tea-selling past gave Mr. Modi an idea to exploit the public sentiments by connecting to the people during their tea-time at tea-vending spots, dotted across the country, to sell his ‘for the common man’ dreams in the typical common-man-way.

Mr. Aiyar, a member of Lalu Yadav’s political ally Congress, should have discussed first it with Mr. Yadav, before targeting Mr. Modi. Based on his vast political experience and his magnanimous silence on his tea-selling background, Mr. Yadav could have advised Mr. Aiyar well.

But that is a lost opportunity now. Like with several other precedents, this time too, Ahmedabad has scored over Patna.

In the age of hyped up political branding exercises, Mr. Modi has moved first and has accelerated fast.

Whether he was a tea-boy or not doesn’t matter now. Who’s the real one, Mr. Modi or Mr. Yadav, is a futile question in the prevailing political circumstances with Mr. Modi clearly jetting ahead with his first-mover advantage.

Mr. Yadav, better luck next time.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –