People's Democracy

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


No. 08

February 19, 2012


It Is Better For One Man To Lose Sleep For The Sake Of Millions!


G Mamatha


Dear Pranabda,


As a concerned citizen, I am writing this letter out of anguish. I have recently read reports in the media that you are on the verge of losing sleep. That news sent jitters down my spine. What would happen to this government, for which you are doing yeoman service troubleshooting, heading many group of ministers(GoMs) that decide on important policy matters, talking with other political parties and ensuring that parliament runs according to your convenience. Who would talk with 'the bosses' (Sir, I am referring to those who promised us nuclear energy) and ensure that they do not get angry? Who would talk with the babas, annas and all those concerned citizens like me, who keep on raising many relevant issues? Pranabda, there is an impression that the government is adrift and if you lose sleep, who would steady the already rocking boat? So, please, please do take care of your health.


Pranabda, as an admirer, I was immediately concerned at what was causing you (or rather threatening to cause) sleeplessness. Learning that it was subsidies, that are the villains, I immediately developed angst against them. How dare they trouble you, that too in this period of acute economic crisis, affecting the entire globe? I am surprised at their audacity and courage.


Yes, audacity and courage, because before them, many major issues that moved many of us mortals, did not affect you at all. For 38 consecutive months, inflation of food items was in double digits. Prices of food items like pulses, vegetables, fruits, edible oils, sugar, milk, eggs, meat and fish have witnessed very steep increases, causing great hardships to the people. People complained and wailed about it. It was said that never before in the history of independent India, this was the situation. People, who should be praising the government for creating new records, oddly, are criticising it.  Petrol prices are repeatedly increased, to accustom the people to the price rises. Even then, they failed to adjust to the new realities. And instead of blaming themselves for their failure, they are accusing the government! How mean! Of course, you were forced to discuss this issue in the parliament twice, but you displayed all your acumen in sailing through the discussions. It is good that Pranabda, you saw through their meanness and did not lose sleep over rising prices.


Pranabda, I was concerned about some unfriendly people lurking around, who want some real facts to be reported in the media. They want the media to prominently carry news about the 2,56,913 farmers who have committed suicide across the country between 1995 and 2010. Their sore eyes do not see and sing paeans to the fact that the number of dollar billionaires increased from 13 in 2003 to 55 in March 2011 (one billion dollars is approximately Rs 5,000 crores). But the loyal media did not let such unpleasant news reach your drawing table. They know the story of Prince Siddharth (whose father prevented all sad news from reaching him). The media, like many, appears to be really concerned about your health and does not intend to bother you with all this trivialities. Of course, there are black sheep everywhere. But do not worry, they can be acted upon to ensure that there is a blanket ban. Does not the party have experience of 1975-1977? This can be repeated, to ensure that everyone toes the line. But it is true, as the time progressed, the methods to make everyone fall in line too have evolved (advertisements, etc), and you, I am sure have mastered these new techniques. Thank god, in spite of the black sheep reporting the agricultural distress and peasant suicides, you were able to sleep!


But there is one aspect, I am sorry that we could not keep you away from it. It is corruption. No, no, I am not accusing you. How can I, without facts? I am just stating the happenings around you. Suddenly, as if it is something new, everybody started talking about corruption. Annas, Babas and Rajas are involved with corruption in one way or the other and all this invariably dragged you into this quagmire. Though all this caused quite a strain on you, it did not affect your sleep. The 2G scam was calculated at only Rs 1,76,000 crores crores, the CWG scam at only Rs 700 crores and the Antrax-Devas scam at only Rs 2,00,000 crores. Even these three together come around Rs 4,46,000 crores only. Only! You in your various capacities in the government, dealt with much, much bigger amounts. So these figures naturally do not mean much to you and, thus, you did not lose your sleep. Moreover, this is another record for the present government. So nobody should make a big deal of it!


Some economists and politicians are crying hoarse that in the past three years Rs 14,28,028 crores of tax concessions are given to the rich and the elite in our country. They make a big issue out of it. In fact Pranabda, do not worry, they do not understand the economy. Poor Tata is bracing for succession and shouldn't he be supported? Moreover, how many more acquisitions has he to make, to make our country proud? Poor Ambani brothers are facing lot of problems within and outside the family. They have to run IPL teams, make films, buy news channels and above all buy small gifts to their wives (like air craft, etc) and build a cosy little home (just 27 floors). So what is wrong in helping them in their times of need? No Pranabda, there is absolutely no need for you to worry over all this, have a sound sleep. After all isn't it said, 'a friend in need is a friend indeed? '


And, of course, there are many trivial 'shameful' problems around the country. They should in no way affect your sleep: that 42 per cent of the children under the age of five years are malnourished; that the per capita net availability of foodgrains per day declined from 510 grams in 1991 to 438 grams in 2010; that unemployment rate rose to 9.4 per cent in 2009-10 from 2.8 per cent in 2007; or that 77 per cent of the people in the country cannot spend more than Rs 20 per day. For that matter, there are some important developments taking place in your own state due to the 'paribortan' that you have helped in ushering: for the first time after 34 years, there are peasant suicides. Another nice record for a change! As I was telling you, these are all small things, you should not worry about them and, of course, you too rightfully did not worry much.


But subsidies? My goodness, how could you sleep with them around? It costs Rs 88,000 crores for providing 35 kg of food grains for all both APL and BPL. How could you allow all the people to eat food for that staggering amount of Rs 88,000 crores when only few individuals 'ate' up Rs 1,76,000 crores in the 2G scam? The former is a real burden on the exchequer, while the later is not! Moreover, this is a new scheme and how many similar schemes are burdening you the subsidies on petroleum products, fertilisers, MGNREGA, scholarships, etc. and etc. What work do these poor people do and how do they contribute to the economic growth? After all they just go to the fields and factories; labour and do nothing else. If these monies are given to Tata's, Ambani's and, of course, the Mallya's (yes that king of good times) they work hard and 'contribute' to the economy. It is natural for you to lose sleep on such a wasteful expenditure.


But Sir, remember, you might be thinking that you might get your sleep by doing away with subsidies. But common people, yes, those very aam aadmi, as you had christened them, are seething with anger. The very problems that did not affect your sleep have created havoc in their lives and gave them many sleepless nights. It seems they have decided not to rest till they regain their sleep, which they could get only when they eat two square meals a day and are sure of their future. This February 28 they are sounding the bugle and are saying that they will not let you sleep till their demands are met.


Pranabda, it seems your days of taking a peaceful nap are more or so over. Is it not good for one man to lose sleep for the sake of millions!




With Concern,


A Citizen