People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIII

No. 51

December 20, 2009

The People United Shall Always Be Victorious!

G Mamatha

 

I was walking along with my child through the roads of a bazaar full of vegetables, groceries and glossy eateries. I usually avoid this road, afraid that I would be raising many questions in my child and would be unable to answer all of them satisfactorily. But, there was no other way, as all the alternate roads were closed, some traffic diversions. And expectantly, what I had been all through fearing had happened. The question was “Amma, when there are so many vegetables in the market, why are you cooking only one or two varieties everyday?” I remembered the answer I had given earlier when he had asked similar question in my house. I said at that time, that there are no other varieties available in the market, but now I am caught. Don't we parents teach our children not to lie? Now what should I do, caught doing the same?

Is it true that people who are rich live longer than the poor? Is it because they have money to eat good food? Even my child, the other day, was telling that it was taught in the class that all of them should eat nutritious food – complete with milk, green vegetables, dal, etc. The other day when I took my child to the doctor, even he had advised me to give healthy food to my child. It is easy to teach all these things, but difficult to ensure. How can I purchase milk, vegetables, dal etc., with our meagre income? Whatever we earn is sufficient to pay rent, fees and just some rice. Even during this festival, with great difficulty, we purchased one pair of dress for my child. The result: no special preparations from the kitchen.

How will I tell that it is due to the huge increase in the prices that we are unable to purchase various kinds of vegetables from the market? What we bought last month, we are unable to buy this week. Some families, I heard, were forced to cut their quantity of milk consumption while some had given up their plans to visit their relatives during the holidays. But for many like us, who do not buy milk what should we cut; who do not go anywhere except to work and back home, what should we minimise? We eat rice, roti and some vegetables. Dal, we gave up, as it became very expensive. Now, I think we should slowly give up vegetables too. I started it by stopping buying some vegetables. Now with this question, how should I convince my child?

I told we cannot buy the vegetables because they are costly, prices have gone up and our earnings have not. My child said, “Amma when I want something and you say no, I go on asking you for it till you give it to me, so in the same way let us go to the shop and ask him to give vegetables to us till he gives us”. I thought it to be clever, but then argued saying, “but sometimes I do not give what you want”. The reply was, “then I keep on crying, beating...and you give”. How can I  make my child understand that everybody is not a mother to ultimately give what the child wants!

And more than that will somebody listen to us if we ask to reduce the prices. It is in the hands of the government, as far I know. Will the government hear? How will one make it hear? To make Kumbakarna hear, it needed lots of people, animals, noise and beatings. Does not the government need more for waking up to peoples' needs?

But are there people in my state to give voice to our problems and come along with us? A month ago, I would have not asked this question. But today, I do so. People are there, would they come voicing our concerns?

Unfortunately when we needed them most, they are busy. Busy concerned with what is going to happen to my state. How many parts it is going to become - two, three, four or five? I remember my mother telling me, as long as you are together you are strong. Once there is a crack, it may turn into a breach and ultimately break into pieces. Once you become pieces who will hear your voice? Even my child knows this and tells it in his language. It seems if one amongst their class shouts, their teacher does not give so much importance, if all of them shout together, their teacher turns, 'aye, what is happening, why are you shouting'?

I do not understand if my state breaks, will vegetables become cheaper? Will dal, rice, wheat cost less? Will my wages increase? Will my child be able to eat healthy food and live longer? No. This would be possible only when all of us people stay together. Ask together. Raise our voice together. Demand the government to reduce the prices. Join our hands. Fight together. Demand a solution to our problems. But that is not be today!

Somebody who does not want us to stand together is breaking our unity. They do not want us, common people, to live a good life. Otherwise why are these demands for a separate state being raised? Now I remember a story that my child had learnt in school and told me. It was of a fox who wanted to eat the chickens and was unable because all of them were together. So it seems, it had devised a plan to break this unity. It started talking some sweet words first, it seems. Slowly it poisoned the minds of the chickens by mixing some truths with many lies. It created divisions among the chickens as they started believing it more than the wise ones amongst them. Ultimately it achieved its aim of eating all the foolish chickens first and then the wise ones were left without friends and they too became food for the fox. Is this what is happening to my state now?

If this is what is happening, how to prevent it? We are people, aren't we? Supposed to be clever than animals. So let us not fall for these diversionary tactics. Let us stand together. Our children need a better future, a healthy future, and a good life. This can be possible only if we together fight against the rising prices and other policies of the government that are harming our lives.