Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Irony Of Recession

I met with an accident recently, on the Holi day…  Certain individuals were, merrily, playing away with Engine oil right in the middle of one of the busiest roads in Pune. The slight drizzle completed the lethal combo; an accident prone spot was, thereby, created.

My bike slipped, I fell to my left. Got a couple of bruises on my left knee , shoulder  and elbow. Not too much of damage – strangely…Dozens of other people also slipped; the sight would have been hilarious, had I myself not been one of the victims. J ( How I envy the awestruck spectators who were trying hard to suppress their laughter !!)


As I tried to gather myself, I heard a gentleman, a fellow victim, murmur abuses in the general direction of  “ the lack of civic sense amongst “gaonthi” ( country side) people, the inability of infrastructure to measure up to the  demands of  our huge population” blah blah blah…


I had engine oil all over my body-  on my shirt, my pants, my helmet – “Yuks –what a mess”, I thought. As I picked my bike up and resumed by journey home, I noticed that neither I nor my bike  had suffered any significant damage ( I mean Injury that would be sufficient for me to get a leave the next day!! J)… strange I thought, I had slipped pretty bad, my bike had got thrown a good 15 meters away from  me…. “How come I am not hurt?” I asked myself… It was then that it occurred to me that “The oil that had caused me to fall, saved me from the injury…. It acted as an insulator for my skin, and avoided friction with the ground…. “Gosh” I thought “ Life, they say, isn’t without a sense of Irony…”


My thoughts then shifted to the guy who had fallen beside me…” India’s biggest problem… too many people, too high a population…. Too many un-sophisticated rural people… rural people… no access to the world, people still happy living in “self supporting” village. Rural population… makes it impossible for the country to take off, get developed….”


I reached home… my newspaper told me that the Indian Economy is still the 2nd fastest growing in the world ( the suspicions of falling growth notwithstanding)… My news paper also told me that US , despite all the illustrious bail outs attempts, will record a negative growth;  that most of the developed countries, especially European, are tottering under the recessionary pressure – that Countries, let alone banks, are on verge of bankruptcy. I wondered how My country is doing much better than its “developed counter parts”… It was then that it struck me that:


1.      The huge population, the so called “No.1 problem of the country”, ensures that the demand ( especially for basic goods) never falls below a bare minimum ( which, again ,because of the sheer size of the population, would be significant);


2.      That the fact that exports are an  insignificant contributor to the GNP, thus a reduction in overseas demand , from a central perspective, doesn’t affect India, as much as it would affect a country like Japan or a UK;


3.      That most of the population lives in Villages ( about 65% );Most of the Villages are “self sustaining”; Making it difficult for Mr. Recession to create a similar  impact, on India, as he has done in developed countries;



Huge population… self supporting, disconnected villages… the factors that supposedly would never allow the nation to get developed, the biggest stumbling blocks in the development path are , now, the ones arresting the fall, insulating the Economy against the pains of recession. This is the irony of recession, a new food for thought that has forced me to think “  is the big population good or bad”… waqt waqt ki baat hai. Life, they say, isn’t without a sense of irony. J