On the 18th day of the incessant rise of fuel price, diesel had out beaten petrol. It may be for the first time that diesel becomes costlier than petrol. Everybody knows that now fuel price in India has nothing to do with the price of crude oil in the international market. Gone are the days when variation in prices in the International market determined the fuel price in India. Now despite a downward shift in fuel prices in the international market, the fuel price here remains unaffected, rather it even goes up, thanks to the pricing policy of the Modi government.
Spiralling fuel price means an automatic price rise of all commodities. It will lead the country to a crisis and the brunt would be shouldered by the majority. However, this is also a fact that apart from the voice of protest raised by the Left parties and the trade unions, major resistance has yet to emerge in the country.
For the last several months masses are reeling under the Corona pandemic and now they are mostly tied up with the developments along the border. Regarding the border clashes, no one in India has any doubt. There can be no compromise on the territorial integrity and national sovereignty.
The country will stand as one, unitedly to fight any aggression. This patriotic fervour of India was manifested by the people whenever India was under a threat from any country. This time also “we, the people of India” have no doubt about it. We will prove ourselves as the real defenders of the motherland. The country will stand determinedly with the soldiers of India, fully honouring their valour and sacrifice.
The country was stunned to see the callousness of the government when the Prime Minister stated in a meeting with the opposition, ‘No intrusion into India, no post captured.’ The Prime Minister owes an explanation to his fellow citizens about his ambiguity in explaining the developments in the border. He has to give clarification as to what he meant. It is clear that on this issue the PMO was ‘constrained’ to issue a clarification to diffuse the confusion created by the Prime Minister’s statement. It sounded something unusual.
At the same time, the propaganda managers in the PMO were eager to propagate that the Prime Minister’s popularity has increased during these days. The bankruptcy of his leadership was evident in the confusion ridden statement regarding the border crossing.
The outbreak of Covid-19 and the government measures to fight it further proved a failed leadership was at the helm. The pandemic, the lockdown, the packages and overall leadership connected to all these have made the country realise a painful truth—that there is a dearth of effective leadership.
The primary task of a true leader is to understand the real issues hurting the masses since it is people who are the makers of the nation.
Throughout the last several years, especially since the second tenure of Narendra Modi the people’s sufferings are on the increase. The mute millions of the downtrodden have been finding it difficult to make both ends meet. In recent times even survival has reached the edge. With no shelter to live, no food to eat, no water to drink, no hopes to rely upon, they keep staring at a bleak future.
Since March 2020 the consumer price index has gone up to 9.28 per cent (data of Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation). The rupee has been revalued to 75 per dollar. Even before the spread of the pandemic, the unemployment rate was highest in the last 45 years. Now the unemployment rate is at a record high of 27.1 per cent, while 122 million jobs were lost in April alone. Among them were 91.3 million small traders and labourers. Also, there are 17.8 million salaried workers and 18.2 self-employed who have also lost work (CMIE report).
An online survey conducted by The Economic Times revealed that 2 in 5 employees are facing salary cuts. Another recent survey showed that a third of MSME units in the country is on the verge of closure.
Coupled with the longstanding stroke, impacted by the demonetization and GST, the economy during the Covid-19 days shows no signs of revival. And the sufferers will be the common people. The plight of the migrant labourers speaks a lot about the real face of today’s India after 73 years of independence. All the attractive slogans like sabka sath sabka vikas sabka viswas sound hollow before their sorrows.
The pandemic and the death rates tell about the diminishing value of life itself. True leadership should be obliged to understand this sort of reality. Inflated stories of popularity do not create such leadership.
The disputes in the Indo-China border Should not be allowed to go into a heightened conflict or war-like situation. The rulers in both countries may be eager to use it to divert the people’s attention from the real issues of life caused by the failure of their leadership. A study of history would reveal how the war psychosis was used by ruling classes to safeguard their narrow political interests. The following statement by Herman Goering, Hitler’s right hand is worthwhile to remember in this context; “ …but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.”
It works the same way in any country. The leaders here and there, now and then may try to cover up their internal economic and political failures using this tactic. Their language may be different, but the quintessence of the strategy will be the same. Apart from those strategists, nobody with sense could celebrate a war between two neighbours possessing an arsenal of nuclear weapons.
That is why the people of India along with the people of the world urging for dialogue between India and China based on principles of peaceful coexistence. That would be the litmus test for the capability and vitality of able leadership.