With great joy and zest we celebrate the Independence day since 1947 and it is an occasion we all seriously discuss and deliberate on various issues and challenges that our nation face; poverty, women empowerment, environmental degradation, corruption, malnutrition, public health, social justice and myriads of other issues. When I happened to listen to a discussion on social justice and inequality, I recollected the speech of Mr. Mata Prasad Pandey, the speaker of Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly. He was sharing his experience while participating in in a session held as part of third Indian Student Parliament held at Pune few months back.
He and his family were returning home after visiting a remote village in the state by his official car and on the way he chanced up on an old woman selling a different kind of fruit that he had never tasted before. He asked the driver to stop the car being fascinated by the charming fruits in her basket. He purchased for all his companions in the car and he could buy 10 fruits just for 5 rupees. With great eagerness he and his companions started eating it and he liked it very much. Immediately he asked his driver to reverse the vehicle and wanted to buy more for his family. The woman was surprised to see him again and was little embarrassed. To her relief he said he liked the fruit very much and it was for the first time he had such tasty fruit and that too for damn cheap rate. He enquired how much he should pay for the whole fruit in the basket. To his embarrassment the old poor lady replied, “If I give you the whole basket, what will my villagers eat?”
Being humiliated at her response he just got into his car and left. He was doubtful if she had got an opportunity to be at least a literate in the remote village. Several questions remained unanswered. Then what made her to raise the question of ‘distributive justice and selflessness’ instead of bargaining and selling her fruits to make a windfall profit and end her business for the day easily. She definitely missed the important lessons of successful marketing and profiteering. Is she fit for the liberalized, and globalized world?