The prices of essential commodities are going through the roof. It has set the common man’s kitchen afire. Yet the worst-hit are the daily-wage earners. Many of them have lost their jobs, finding it difficult to make their ends meet, but the Central Government is yet to admit this fact, because the mainstream media scarcely discuss the issue. Rather than highlighting it, they blame the opposition parties for bringing price rise, a non-issue for them, to the public domain. As a result, whatever the opposition parties do to raise the price boom barely impacts the current ruling dispensation. The opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) recently took out a march to the President’s house to protest against inflation, an abrupt hike in Goods and Services Tax (GST) and a steep rise in unemployment. Still, only a few media houses featured that event. The prices of wheat, the most essential fare of the common man, have again shot up. The government says it has happened for decline in wheat output as well as for steep hike in its demand across the world because of the Russia-Ukraine war. As far as inflation goes, the government says the condition of India is better than that of other countries. The government spokespersons give data to justify their points. Reacting to the way the ruling party is out to explain the price rise, a retired government officer says, “Such fuzzy logic signifies that the severity of one’s headache lessens if only one’s neighbour is down with acute loose motions.”
Read also: House of Wisdom
A lie sometimes tells the truth. This has happened with former minister of West Bengal Partha Chatterjee, now in prison for appropriating a huge amount of dough. During interrogation by the officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), he refused to recognise his close aide, Arpita Mukherjee. The ED officials have arrested both Chatterjee and Mukherjee and kept them in two different centres in Kolkata for purloining a huge amount of brass in the name of teachers’ recruitment. The West Bengal Service Commission conducts tests for recruitment of teachers. The probe agency has unearthed an immense sum of lucre from Mukherjee’s apartment. As usual, the former minister has contested the claim of the ED as well as of Mukherjee that he had given the dough to her or he had anything to do with it. Besides, the former Trinamool Congress leader said that he had occasionally met Arpita Mukherjee, that too either at Durga Puja Pandals or at his house along with others who visited him. That hardly indicates his links with Arpita. So said the former minister. Reacting to Chatterjee’s failure to recognise his friend, a leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said, “At times the barrier between truth and lies become smudged and indistinct.”
This is an anything-can-happen age. Instead of constitutionally elected female “Panchs” and “Sarpanchs”, their husbands took oath. This out-of-the ordinary incident took place in Dhar and Damoh districts of Madhya Pradesh. Fifteen women, elected as “Panchs” and “Sarpanchs” in both the districts, stayed back making their homes, but their husbands called “Panch Patis” took oath in the name of the Constitution. However strange it may sound, the incident happened in the presence of a few government officials. But they gave a wide berth to the unconstitutional act, since a powerful leader was administering oaths to them. When a video clip of the incident went viral on social media, the officials suspended a Panchayat secretary. On the other hand, since the politician administering the oath of office to the husbands of the elected members wears a divine talisman, he remains unscathed. The incident courted lots of criticism. A teacher of English literature in Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh, cites a few lines from Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte to limn the current situation: A flood might drown your city. A tornado might carry your house to a faraway land where, upon landing, it would quash a witch. Criminals could become kings and kings be unmasked as criminals….” This is the anything-can-happen age!
Read also: Didi makes Golgappas
In a classroom, a teacher tells his students, “Do you know the difference between 2G and 5G spectrum?”
A silence prevails in the classroom. The teacher further says, “You use mobile phones and don’t know this?”
A student gets up and says, “Sir, only the media.”