November 15, 2010

The sugar crisis

The sugar barons are in fact our rulers. (Photo:
I know a lot has been said on the sugar crisis in Pakistan. I know that this post might look repetitive and boring to you, but do bear with me for a second. I am not interested in the technicalities of the sugar pricing; I am more interested in the hounding effects that it is having on the masses.

A few days ago, Sheikh Rashid lost his cool on live TV. He admitted (unlike every other politician) that he had done wrongs, and he was sorry for them. Whether you and I forgive him is another debate. But he went on to state that this sugar crisis is the direct consequence of the hoarding and manipulation by the so called ‘servants of the people’ aka the politicians.

We’ve heard it time and again, and we won’t stop but the fact remains that almost 90% of the sugar mills are owned by these politicians who’re now either MNAs, or MPAs. The Sharifs own sugar mills. Somehow I find it hard to believe that these people, who threaten hoarders day in and day out, are ever going to do anything about the current sugar crisis since they themselves are the hoarders.

The fact of the matter is that the lower stratum of Pakistan’s society depends upon sugar for its daily caloric consumption. They eat sugar in the morning, or drink it in their tea. Now though, they cannot afford it. Whereas a cup of tea cost Rs 10 before the current sugar crisis, it has now gone up to Rs 18 -22.

So who do the people of Pakistan depend upon to be their promised Messiah? No one, but themselves. The arcane notion of leaving sugar alone has finally come to pass. Not that the people did it willingly, but still. Sugar like so many other things, has become an elitist foodstuff. Regular people cannot afford it even if they wanted to. I mean, how can a person who earns Rs 7000 a month (the minimum wage stipulated by the government) think of spending Rs 125/kg on sugar alone? It is an outrage.

It is a strange feeling of introspection as I write this because I do not think this nation has the gall to put an end to its misery. I have stopped consuming sugar but that is just me. How many others have done that? Another fact of this sordid matter is that those who stumble onto my blog are from well to do families. They  can afford to eat sugar daily, and consequently I highly doubt they can understand the apathetic misery that the lower cadres of Pakistani society are undergoing. Those who say they can are most probably lying because even though I refuse to eat sugar, I cannot understand the full extent of the misery that has been heaped onto the poor.

Alas, it is indeed the poor who face the brunt of misfortune. It is them who die in bomb blasts and terrorist attacks; it is them who have to pay massive taxes to finance the luxurious lifestyles of the ‘fashionable’ elite; and it is them, who  cannot afford to pay for food that they should have the right to consume.

I feel helpless as I pen this down. Yes I know I should look at the bright side of things and hope for a better tomorrow but then my thoughts go out to those who have stopped hoping; who have given up on everything and just live through everyday like a challenge that they must overcome to qualify for the next round (day).