MADHYA PRADESH FARMERS’ PROTEST: WHY GOVERNMENT CANNOT IGNORE THE KISAN

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified based on new developments.

According to the 70th Round of the National Sample Survey, conducted during January-December 2013, India has 9 crore agricultural households. Now if we take the average Indian family size of five, we can say that can say there are 45 crore Indians dependent on farming for their survival.

The projection increases further the number of population dependent on agriculture in India if we factor in the Census 2011 data. According to Census 2011, India has 26.32 crore farmers, including 11.86 crore cultivators and 14.43 crore agricultural labourers. Taking the average Indian family size of five and multiplying it with 11.86 crore cultivators gives us 59.3 crore Indians who are supported by agriculture.

That is a huge number, when we see the voter turnout in the last Lok Sabha elections. India had 834082814 electors in the 2014 Lok Sabha election and with a turnout of 66.30 per cent, 553020648 of them voted in the polls. In 2009, the number of electors was 716985101 and turnout was 417158969 at 58.21 per cent.

It becomes even more important to weigh the political consequences when seen the context of the vote share of the winning parties in elections that is much less than the overall number of farmers in India.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BJP won 282 seats and a full majority for a single party after the 1984 Lok Sabha election with just 31 per cent vote share, i.e., 171436400 votes, much smaller than the population segment dependent on agriculture, the 45 crore Indians based on the projection made on NSSO findings or 59 crore Indians as per the Census 2011 findings.

Congress emerged as the largest party in the 2009 Lok Sabha election winning 206 seats with a vote share of 28.55 per cent, i.e., 119098885 votes and continued its alliance government in the centre that had come to power by defeating the BJP in the 2004 Lok Sabha election. The Congress led United Progressive Alliance government had defeated the BJP led National Democratic Alliance government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2004 to form the government in the centre.

India had 671487930 electors in the 2004 Lok Sabha election. 389948330 of them voted with a turnout of 58.07 per cent. Congress got 145 seats and 26.53 per cent votes, i.e., 103453291 votes. Though it got just 7 seats more than the BJP’s 138 seats, it could stitch a viable political coalition and went on to form the government.

In the 1999 Lok Sabha election, 371669104 voters of the 619536847 electors exercised their voting rights. The BJP formed the coalition government by winning 182 seats with a vote share of 23.75 per cent, i.e., 88271412. Though the Congress could win just 114 seats, it got greater share of voters’ pie at 28.30 per cent, i.e., 105182356.

If we go by these figures, it is clear that farmers can swing electoral outcomes if they are mobilized. We have seen that with 2007 Nandigram and 2008 Singur land acquisition protests in West Bengal. Both were farmers’ agitations mishandled by the Left Front government of the state. 14 farmers were killed in police firing during the Nandigram agitation. Mamata Banerjee realized the political opportunity it gave and she successfully exploited it by leading the farmers’ agitation. Though farmers, too, are divided across community and caste lines, but agitations like Nandigram and Singur which present a survival threat have the potential to unite them to unseat the governments. West Bengal confirmed this when riding on the success of these farmers agitations Mamata Banerjee formed the government in the state in 2011, unseating the 34-year long unbridled run on the Left Front. And she has become only stronger since then, winning election after election while the Left Front is almost dead politically in the state.

That is what galvanized and united farmers can do. If it can happen in a state, it can happen in India if it spreads to too many states.

Drought or rains, the farmer in India is cursed to live a life of misery even if he has been at the core of the political discourse in our country. In last 15 years, over 2.30 lakh farmers were forced to commit suicide, i.e., two farmers committing suicide every hour, as per the latest publication of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) . Either a drought year damages their standing crops or a normal rainfall causes overproduction that makes their produce much cheaper than the prevailing market prices and thus a burden as they are not able to recover even their input costs.

Raging farmers’ agitation in Mandsaur and other districts of Madhya Pradesh and farmers’ protests and clashes with administration in states like Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu tell us their patience is finally waning. Protests in Madhya Pradesh have reached to its capital city Bhopal. Also, in a worrying development for two state governments and the central government, farmers of Punjab and Haryana held protests today supporting farmers of Madhya Pradesh. That has sent state governments and the central government in a panic mode. Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan first announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the farmers killed in Mandsaur firing, raised it to Rs 10 lakh and then finally to Rs 1 crore, all in a span of just few hours. He has also announced to sit on indefinite fast from tomorrow. Central government led by Narendra Modi held an emergency meeting on farmers’ agitation and Maharashtra chief minister decided to waive of farmers’ loans in the state worth 30000 crore, a long standing demand even by the Shiv Sena, the BJP partner in the state government.

Because they realize that if the BJP loses the confident of the farmers, it is staring at an electoral loss in the upcoming elections including the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Farming community and its dependents who form over one-third of India’s population are an electoral force that no political party can dare to ignore. Rahul Ganduhi’s visit to Mandsaur or politics over farm crisis and farm suicides tell us the electoral might of farmers even if they are cursed to live a life of misery with a paltry monthly household income of just Rs 6426 a month, the National Sample Survey Office’s report says.

©SantoshChaubey

DAMAGED CROPS, POOR INCOME AND OVERPRODUCTION FORCING FARMERS TO PROTEST

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Drought or rains, the farmer in India is cursed to live a life of misery. In last 15 years, over 2.30 lakh farmers have been forced to commit suicide, i.e., two farmers committing suicide every hour. Either a drought year damages their standing crops or a normal rainfall causes overproduction, something that is happening this year also, that makes their produce much cheaper than the prevailing market prices and thus a burden as they are not able to recover even their input costs.

And raging farmers’ agitation in Mandsaur and other districts of Madhya Pradesh and farmers’ protests in states like Maharashtra, Punjab, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu tell us their patience is finally waning. And why not? How long can they sustain with a monthly household income of Rs. 6426 when they have to feed mouths, when they have to educate children, when they have to cover their health costs and most importantly, they have to repay their loans that they took to sow their crops? How can they manage all this in a meager sum Rs. 6426?

The National Sample Survey Office’s report of the country’s agricultural households has estimated the average income per month of agricultural households at Rs. 6426 a month. And this income figure is not from farming alone. In fact, according to the NSSO survey, farming accounts for less than 50 per cent of the income of an agricultural household. Out of Rs. 6426 a month, cultivation accounts for earning of Rs 3078 or 47.9 per cent, Rs 2069 or 32.2 per cent comes from wage or salary, Rs 765 or 11.9 per cent comes from livestock and Rs 514 or 8 per cent from non-farm business.

Punjab’s agricultural households, at Rs 18059 a month, earn most followed by Haryana’s agricultural households at Rs 14434 a month and Jammu & Kashmir at Rs 12683 a month while Bihar’s agricultural households earn lowest in the country at Rs 3558 per month followed by West Bengal’s agricultural households at Rs 3980.

According to the 70th Round of the National Sample Survey, conducted during January-December 2013, the number of agricultural households in India was around 9 crore. Now if we take the average Indian family size of five, we can say that 45 crore of Indians are surviving just at Rs 6426 per month. And Rs 6426 per month for a family of five means Rs 1285 per individual per month of an agricultural household in our country, an income level around our abysmally low poverty lines that have always been questioned by activists and experts.

Contrast it to India’s per capita income at Rs 1,03,219 or Rs 8600 a month. Even if indicative, if we juxtapose this income figure for a family of five, it comes around Rs 43,000 a month.

This huge gap between the income of an agricultural household and an average Indian household, i.e, Rs 6426 to Rs 43,000 per month, is the result of skewed income distribution in our society. The Household Survey on India’s Citizen Environment & Consumer Economy (ICE 360 degree survey) findings show the stark income based difference prevailing in our country. According to the survey, India’s richest 20 per cent account for the country’s 45 per cent aggregate household disposable income while its poorest 20 per cent barely survive on seven per cent of the share.

India has 363 million people living below the latest national poverty line suggested by the Rangarajan Committee in 2014 – Rs 32 a day in rural India and Rs 47 a day in urban India. Contrast it to the Global Poverty Line of Rs 123 a day ($1.90), four times of India’s rural poverty line and three times of its urban poverty line and we are staring at a much higher number than 363 million of defined poor in our country.

©SantoshChaubey

WHAT IS COMMON IN RAHUL GANDHI AND BEN CARSON? THEY BOTH THINK POVERTY IS A STATE OF MIND!

WHO IS BEN CARSON..

Ben Carson is US President Donald Trump’s Housing and Urban Development Secretary. He was one of the principal Republican Party Presidential nominees in the last year’s presidential election, before he lost the race to Donald Trump. And he has one thing in common with Rahul Gandhi.

They both think ‘poverty is a state of mind’.

Ben Carson, who is a globally renowned neurosurgeon, said during an interview yesterday that “a certain mindset contributes to people living in poverty, pointing to habits and a state of mind that children take from their parents at a young age”, a Washington Post report wrote.

RAHUL GANDHI REDUX

On August 5, 2013, while speaking at an event in Allahabad, Rahul Gandhi, too, had said that ‘poverty was a state of mind’. Rahul Gandhi had said that self-confidence could help people overcome poverty as it was ‘just a state of mind’ and not what it was normally associated with it, i.e., scarcity of life sustaining means, primarily food, money and material possessions.

So, they both moot the same point about the most nagging issue of our times – poverty – even if their comments have a separation of four years and 12,000 Kms, the distance between New Delhi and Washington DC.

THOUGH, THEIR BACKGROUNDS ARE ENTIRELY DIFFERENT.

Rahul Gandhi was widely panned for making an ignorant comment in a country where majority are still living below the poverty line if we go by the new Global Poverty Line by the World Bank at $1.90 a day (Rs 123 a day as per the current US Dollar to Rupee exchange rate). His comments were termed mockery of the poor by many who said Rahul Gandhi came from a well-to-do family, who ruled India for most of its independent history, and could never understand what poverty really means.

In contrast, Ben Carson has grown up in extreme poverty, in a slum neighbourhood of Detroit. But his life journey, that was shown as a biopic, the critically acclaimed ‘Gifted Hands’, the screen adaptation of his autobiography of the same name starring Cuba Gooding Jr., is described as a rare phenomenon when his story is juxtaposed with his poor neighbourhood where he grew up, which has seen consistent deterioration in its living and therefore social standards.

And it is not just self-confidence alone that can lift billions in the world living in poverty and extreme poverty. A coordinated state action is needed everywhere and that is why poverty alleviation and eradication has been at the core of politics in every society. In India, elections revolve around it. Even Ben Carson, who strongly advocates ‘avoiding dependence on state welfare measures’, could make his life and career because there was state welfare assistance to help him. And so he has been criticised for making such narrow vision comments. The Washington Post quoted from his autobiography in an October 2015 article, “In his autobiography, Carson has praised the help he received from public school teachers, a federal jobs program, community mentors, government-supplied eyeglasses and, crucially, food stamps, without which his family “couldn’t have made it”.

According to the new World Bank Global Poverty Line of $1.90, the world had 700 million poor people by the end of 2015. But in order to arrive at a common benchmark globally, the World Bank Poverty Line has not taken into account many dimensions of poverty that hit lives of the poorest, especially in developing and poor countries. In many such countries, the poverty lines are well below this global benchmark, a fact that effectively pushes the number of poor people to billions across the world. According to a Brookings Institution report, around 3 billion people were living at $3 a day in 2013. In 2015, a Pew Research Centre report concluded that majority of the world’s population was living at the $3 a day. Finding of the same report said that 71 per cent of the world’s population was surviving on less than $10 a day, i.e., Rs 645.50 a day or Rs 19365 a month.

We don’t need to go far to see tentacles of poverty. India has 363 million people living below the latest national poverty line suggested by the Rangarajan Committee in 2014 – Rs 32 a day in rural India and Rs 47 a day in urban India. Contrast it to the Global Poverty Line of Rs 123 a day, four times of India’s rural poverty line and three times of its urban poverty line and we are staring at a much higher number than 363 million of defined poor in our country. At the prevailing market prices, one cannot even have modest lunch and dinner for a day for that amount of money. And life is not just about eating. One needs a shelter somewhere. One needs clothes. One needs healthcare. One needs education.

Self-confidence alone cannot help billions of poor to come out of this trap. Framers of our constitution, and in fact, the policymakers around the world, do realize it. That’s why we have our affirmative action or reservation system or the US has its social security network or Medicaid, its state governed health insurance safety net. In fact, most of the societies around the world, have some sort of social security net.

©SantoshChaubey

INDIA CAN’T DO WITHOUT SUBSIDIES – AND IT WANTS TO TAX PROVIDENT FUND!

We are a nation where the urban poverty line is Rs. 47 a day while we think that the rural folks can survive at Rs. 32 a day and we arrived at this wisdom in 2014. When we had done so, we had graduated from the poverty lines of Rs. 27 in rural areas and Rs. 33 in urban areas. This is when you can’t arrange even a modest one time meal in Rs. 32.

This directly says the proportion of real poor, in qualitative terms, based on the average living conditions today, would be much higher that the projected figure of around 30% or less. When you go assessing this poverty mess keeping in mind ‘what should be and what is’, you see this is another equal India within India (or Bharat of the perennial India Vs Bharat debate).

Some 75% of Indians are without any health insurance cover. Majority cannot afford medicines for a sustained treatment regime, let alone the costly surgical processes. The attitude of doctors and support staff in the government run hospitals is even worse than scavengers. Finding good people there tougher than even finding God. People who can afford and can access, try to ignore the government run health facilities. And it across India including the metro cities.

Officially, India’s literacy rate is around 75%. But again, if we see qualitatively, it is the same old story of an equal sized Bharat within India. Our primary school system is languishing with deep holes and leakage in the ambitious Universal Elementary Education programme. Our higher education probably produces the maximum proportion of inept professionals and higher education graduates.

Our economy is consistently witnessing a falling gross savings to GDP ratio – from 34.6% in 2011-12 – to – 31.3% in 2015-16. One way to look at it would that people don’t have wealth in that proportion to save – something that is, naturally, very random and without substance. Or it means people are saving less.

But that doesn’t mean the government should use to a stick to discipline people – like the proponents of the EPF tax proposal including Finance Minister Arun Jaitely said – as a report the Economic Times put forward – “The government had justified the move by saying that it was meant to steer private sector employees towards a pensioned retirement by discouraging lump sum withdrawals, especially for, as experience suggests, conspicuous consumption.”

The finger is being pointed at it rightly – that who is the government to discipline us with our personal preference. Yes, it is good for us when we save more – but then, on a macro scale, it is good for the nation’s economic health as well. But, in the name of that, taxing a man’s life’s savings can never be justified especially when you give people dreams save taxes and build a corpus by investing in the Provident Fund scheme.

And from where this thought of ‘disciplining’ the salaried taxpayer came? When you have such ridiculous poverty lines, when you have millions poor to feed, when you have millions poor to heal, when you have millions poor to educate?

India and Bharat cannot become synonymous until we address these existential questions. Subsidy is now addressed as a ‘burden’ in the lingo being used by the economists but this ‘burden’ is lifeline for India’s millions poor who find it hard even to earn Rs. 47 or Rs. 32 a day.

The government is duty-bound to serve them first – with honesty – with integrity – with consistency. Taxing the middle class with another ‘tax burden’ would not serve any purpose here.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

SECC AGAIN REAFFIRMS THE HUMAN CHALLENGE

The Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) released by the government reaffirms the underlying fact again that, in spite of the political speak, it is a winding road ahead. It is an underlying fact that runs across the strata of the social fabric of the country.

Sample this – of the total 17.91 crore rural households, 5.37 crore have landless owners. They derive their livelihood from ‘manual labour’. So, some 30% of our rural households need immediate attention for a sustained livelihood.

What aggravates the scenario is the prevalent illiteracy in these households.

According to the tables of SECC, 4.21 crore (23.5%) of the households have no literate adults above 25 years, i.e., a male in a stable earning age. And being illiterate means these households are devoid of the most stable earning tool when land is not there, i.e., education.

So, 30% of them, in rural India, they don’t have the primary needs to earn livelihood, i.e., land and education.

The need to support them should be on the primary agenda of any socially-engaging political dispensation – especially in a populous country like India.

The class, that cuts across different states of India, needs genuine support from our policy-makers, going beyond the political rhetoric.

And these two figures are just the beginning.

SECC, that is not final yet, with data from some districts are yet to be uploaded, gives us many worrying indicators that once again reaffirm the scale of human challenge in the world’s largest democracy.

Especially, when we have a legacy of controversy on deciding poverty line – especially when we have, so far, failed to count our poor the way society needs – and not the way economists and statisticians propose.

Especially, when we have rural poverty line of Rs. 972 a month – especially when the Rangarajan Panel report says those earning above Rs. 1407 in urban areas are not poor.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THE RANGARAJAN POVERTY LINES, TOO, FAIL INDIANS

I had written on Indian achievement on reducing poverty on July 24, 2013

In a huge, huge achievement, in a trademark Montek Singh Ahluwalia style, packaged and presented in the Manmohan Singh style, yesterday, all of a sudden, we the Indians were told by the economy wizard of the nation that his government had lifted almost 15 per cent of the Indians above the poverty line since 2004-05.

So, the school of Montekonomics, the Planning Commission of India has announced: “The percentage of persons below the Poverty Line in 2011-12 has been estimated as 25.7% in rural areas, 13.7% in urban areas and 21.9% for the country as a whole. The respective ratios for the rural and urban areas were 41.8% and 25.7% and 37.2% for the country as a whole in 2004-05. It was 50.1% in rural areas, 31.8% in urban areas and 45.3% for the country as a whole in 1993-94. In 2011-12, India had 270 million persons below the Tendulkar Poverty Line as compared to 407 million in 2004-05, that is a reduction of 137 million persons over the seven year period.”

And it is one year to July 24, 2013 – Manmohan Singh and Montek Singh Ahluwalia are not there to steer the Indian policy to decide on the poverty politics and poverty economics.

But the Rangarajan Committee appointed by the Manmohan Singh government has come out with Poverty Lines that undermine the glory of the moments Manmohan Singh had tried to project on patting his back for making India less poor and more Indians ‘poverty free’ – by assigning them a day of life on Rs. 33 in cities and Rs. 27 in villages – the exercise behind this relative realization of poverty was highly contagious – if it got Manmohan’s goodies, it also attracted public outrage and a huge political controversy like it had been the case a year earlier, in 2012.

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BEING POOR IN INDIA: THE NUMBERS

Related post: BEING POOR IN INDIA: IT IS STATISTICAL AS WELL
https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/being-poor-in-india/

The extreme levels of poverty indicators by the United Nations say there are 1.2 billion extreme poor in the world.

The UN study (UN Millennium Development Goals Report 2014) estimated 400 million or 40 crore of it in India.

That is 1/3rd of the Indian population of around 120 crore.

So, the UN says around 40 crore of the Indians are extremely poor – they survive on less than US$ 1.25 a day, i.e., almost Rs. 75 a day (@Rupee to US$ exchange rate of 60).

Now let’s talk on some more numbers – on how India counts its poor and reduces the poverty ‘found’ among its citizens.

Continue reading

BEING POOR IN INDIA: IT IS STATISTICAL AS WELL

40 crores of Indians are extremely poor – if we go by the estimates and the extreme poverty line of the United Nations.

The only catch is – if we go by the Indian estimates – many of them are not poor and most of them are not ‘as extremely poor as the UN finds’ – as propounded by the by the Indian Government standards – an exercise that began with a Planning Commission working group in 1962, continuing with four other exercises, to come again to the ‘unacceptable’ Poverty Lines (Urban/Rural) of the Rangarajan Committee which submitted its report last month, a report that got public this month – but has failed to come with logical and sociologically viable Poverty Line(s) for a society that has the maximum number of world’s poor (including the ‘extreme’ poor).

If we take the Tendulkar Committee’s Poverty Lines, being used by the Government of India and the Planning Commission so far, before Mr. Rangarajan’s figures were reached at – as expected, at Rs. 75 a day (with US$ to Re. exchange rate of 60), this extreme UN Poverty Line is almost double to the new urban Poverty Line of Rs. 47 as decided by the noted economist C. Rangarajan after almost 2 years of work.

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WHO OWNS POVERTY IN INDIA?

Is it the hundreds of millions of people hovering around the ambiguous line, otherwise ‘termed’ the ‘poverty-line’, a line that is as controversial as the second tenure of Manmohan Singh as India’s prime minister?

Or is it the politicians who, in collaboration, with bureaucrats and number-crunchers, define who should be poor and who should not be poor and who should not be ‘so poor’, obviously, more on the paper?

Or is it the Indian democracy that has come to evolve as an exploitative System where the millions of the poor, who are as important in the eyes of its Constitution, the world’s most extensively written Constitution, as the elite politicians hibernating in the plush environs funded by the pubic money, but have been pushed to the extremes of the periphery where they are not seen even as the entities to be co-opted to mitigate the chances of emerging threats?

Or is it the multitude of the hundreds of millions of ‘poverty-line’ stricken Indians who seem to have forgotten or seem to have never known what should be the ‘quality’ of their ‘quality of life’?

Or is it the multitude of the hundreds of millions of ‘poverty-line’ stricken Indians who have come to reconcile with the developments making them subservient to the political class?

Over 1200 millions of Indians that make India the world’s largest democracy – more or less, it is a functional democracy it is said!

But this functional democracy is yet to find how to count its poor. There are many ways. There are definitions. There are methodologies. And there is confusion. Huge sums are spent on finding how to define the ‘poverty-line’ yet the controversy remains. The Rs. 30 a month ‘poverty-line’, the average of all the expertise involved. Why?

Because, the poor here are not seen as human beings by the prevailing political thought process. They are yet another votebank, a significantly large votebank that cuts across the layers of religion, regionalism and caste.

This significantly large votebank has the tendency to act most impulsively of all the votebanks. Impoverished they have been, impoverished they are, and it can be understood. They don’t know what to expect from life than to survive every coming day. They are not expected to expect from life.

Poor, they are, but they do not own their poverty. They would do all to get rid of it provided they are given the help they need to do so.

But that help is not extended to them by those who own their poverty.

Those, who run the System, the politicians, the policymakers, the elite, the business people, and the likes of them, they own their poverty.

Instead, they are given occasional shots of calculated empowerment, empowerments that gives them borrowed moments of hunger-free and relatively easier days when elections approach. A food security bill is announced in 2009 but is put in motion in 2013 when elections are due in 2014. Farm debt waiver was announced in 2008 when elections were due in 2009.

The borrowed moments of hunger-free and relatively easier days push the voters from this votebank to react impulsively to cast their votes in favour of the political outfit doling out the ‘largesse’, something that should rightfully be their fundamental right.

Those, who run the System, their interest is in keeping this votebank poor.

Once out of poverty, the prospect to get the votebank react impulsively gets a certain negative hit. Why to take this risk?

They, who run the System, own the poverty in India and they don’t look in the mood to bequeath it.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THUS SPEAKS RAHUL AGAIN: ‘POVERTY IS A JUST STATE OF MIND’

Rahul Gandhi has spoken, once again – for us, for you, for me, for everyone concerned (and not ‘concerned’).

And, ‘we, the stupid Indians’, fail to understand him once again.

And, ‘we, the stupid Indians’, rush to criticise him once again.

And, ‘we, the stupid Indians’, miss the opportunity to get our lives levitated once again.

Silly, miserable, creatures we are!

We do not want to come out of the shackles of poverty and ignorance no matter how hard our dear politicians toil.

Here come some golden words, once again, showing the intent and the efforts, from one of our future prime-ministerial nominees – the scion of the ‘crowned first political family’ of India and the only hope (if at all) of the grand old party of India, Congress, Mr. Rahul Gandhi, who believes in speaking out selectively (obviously, to hit the target more precisely).

Let’s see what his selectivity has brought us this time. During an event in Allahabad, Rahul Gandhi reportedly said (as put in the words of the organizers of the event – as the media reports say):

“Poverty is just a state of mind. It does not mean the scarcity of food, money or material things. If one possesses self-confidence, then one can overcome poverty.”

So philosophical, so proverbial, so poetic, isn’t it?

And so metaphorical, the Rahul Gandhi way! O Beehive! O Beehive!

And bravo! If it is indeed true, if Rahul proposed so, it solves the problems of hundreds of millions of Indians struggling daily to make the ends meet (and could be effectively extended to the billions of the poor living in different pockets of the world).

So simply, so subtly, he is giving us the solution to one of the most pressing problems of Indians (not of India) – POVERTY!

Just follow Mr. Gandhi and start believing that you are not poor and see the miracle happening, like we have been believing in voting for this or that politician from the same set of political formation in India hoping (against the hope like running after a mirage) that the next fellow would work for why he was voted in the office.

No doubt then we have policymakers like Montek Singh Ahluwalia and a prime minister like Manmohan Singh in this government who ‘work’ to make us ‘confident’ when they proclaim the UPA government has reduced poverty by this or that many million headcounts by sighting Poverty Line figures hovering around Rs. 30 a day.

No doubt that driven by such a luminous thought process the Congress party spokespersons are already on the job, taking pain to reduce the pangs of poverty by making millions below the Poverty Line self-confident that they are not poor.

We rush to criticise a Rashid Masood or a Raj Babbar for saying that one can have a one-time meal in Rs. 5 or Rs. 12 but we fail to see the underlying philosophy and the wisdom behind such statements.

Poor us! They are taking so much of pain in making us self-aware and self-confident by telling us to change our mindset.

Mindset change, the toughest quest to have! And our dear politicians are putting their sincere efforts in this hard-work.

Hearing is Believing! Shouldn’t we follow that!

So enlightening has become the overall political atmosphere of the country that irrespective of party (ideology is long dead) affiliations, every politician looks to follow the similarly placed sentiments on solutions to the miseries of ‘we, the Indians’.

Yes, India, being a diverse country with many cultures, dialects and languages, the expressions may vary and may sound culturally rude for some, but we should understand such a ‘learned’ and ‘practical’ philosophy attached with the words of our dear politicians.

If there is problem, a pressing need, try and forget it and try to move on. If someone is hungry and has no means to buy a meal the person should believe he is not hungry and slowly his hunger will fade away.

Change mindset folks, mindset!

But pity us! We are, yet again, criticising Rahul Gandhi (and so, deterring our other caring politicians spread across the different political parties.)

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/