There is no end to the bad news coming about rising high inflation. The benchmark wholesale price index has surged to a record high of 15.1 per cent in April with sharp increase in the prices of petroleum products, electricity, vegetables, fruits, milk, atta and all other essential food items.
The wholesale price index has been high and in double digits over the last more than a year and its natural fallout has been on the consumer price index which has touched 7.79 per cent in April. While these are the official figures, we as consumers have been feeling the pinch over the months.
Experts have been saying that the inflation has spiked due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine but the trend had started even before the invasion with COVID pandemic causing a serious situation.
The pandemic had led to a major adverse impact on the economy leading to shutting down of businesses, huge loss of jobs and pushing down lakhs below the poverty line. Instead of a rise in employment or even a stable employment rate, the number of jobs available have actually decreased.
The disruption caused in business and other important spheres like education are the issues that the country faces and needs to double up efforts to restore normalcy.
However, unfortunately, the focus of our attention remains on digging up the past and indulge in communal controversies. You watch any channel these days and all you see is endless debates on the Hindu-Muslim issues.
The so called experts passionately bring out their opinions without making even an effort to understand the other point of view. Any climb down on their stand is ruled out even if the other side has logical arguments. The tendency to keep playing on the loop videos or photographs of communal issues adds only fuel to the fire.
Even large sections of the print media have joined the bandwagon and are downplaying the real issues facing the country. While it’s true that news is news and media can’t just look away but what it needs to ensure that the coverage doesn’t raise passions and adversely influence those who are impressionable and have limited understanding of the issues and politics involved.
The latest issue which is dominating news coverage is the Gyanvapi mosque controversy. Many had thought that the resolution of Ayodhya mandir-Babri mosque issue would put an end to the communal controversy.
Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said on the day of the historic Supreme Court judgement on the issue that it was “a day to forget any bitterness one may have”.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had said that it was an exception and that “this movement will not remain of concern for us”.
Even the Supreme Court while delivering the ram Janambhoomi verdict had referred to the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991 and said it was “an essential feature of our secular values”. The Act provides freezing the status quo on places of worship as of August 15, 1947.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have, however, changed their tune after a court intervention on the Gyanvapi mosque after a survey team “found” a ‘Shivling’ inside the mosque’s premises. It is apparent now that the campaign to “restore glory” did not end with the Ayodhya temple nor would it end with Gyanvapi mosque and other such places.
Long back Karl Marx said in a different context that religion was the opium of the masses. In India, we seem to be proving it true and remain high on it forgetting the real issues facing the country and its people. We must be the only country in the world to be digging up our past to ruin our future.
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