Many people are calling the recent inflation of food prices world wide a silent tsunami. As we have covered it at ATP before, Pakistan is also facing this crisis. In case of Pakistan it can also be argued that the cause of inflation here is as much internal (e.g. Govt policy and food hoarding) as it is external (e.g. oil prices, world rice price). Before the topic gets too serious, how about this ‘sher’ which remains one of my favourites.
A friend recently forwarded me the food price list of a ‘bachat bazaar’ of Pakistan. It is an eye opener. That sample price list and the translation of above Urdu ‘sher’ for our English readership is below (next page).
Price List of Korangi Crossing Bachat Bazar and Bhittai Colony Market for the week ending on May 19, 2008:
Following photo shows a man in Karachi walking past by a flashy billboard after securing a bag of wheat flour from a Government subsidized utility stores. (Photo AP, May 15, 2008)
Beef boneless Rs210/kg,
Beef with bones Rs180/kg,
Gram pulse Rs58/kg
Mash pulse Rs64/kg
Rice (Kernel) Rs105/kg
Rice (Saila) Rs95/kg
Rice (Tota) Rs55/kg
There are daily news appearing in National media where police is discovering large quantities of wheat and other commodities hoarded by all kinds of people and business interests. If the prices continue to rise like this then people will definitelt come out on the streets. May be some early signs of people’s frustration coming out on streets in various forms e.g. here and here is a pre-cursor to a bigger tide that may follow if a common man’s misery is not addressed.
Here I also want to quote the words of an American agronomist and winner of nobel peace prize Dr Norman Ernest Borlaug who was instrumental in the green revolution of 60s. He said:
One can not built peace on empty stomach and human misery
And now a non-poetic translation of Urdu poetry given in black-and-white at the top goes like following. I apologize in advance because translation of Urdu poetry by an un-experienced hand like me will totally destroy its beauty. Hopefully the message gets conveyed:
As pulses and vegetables are getting expensive
What is left for my beloved to do in the Kitchen?
Now our relationship has reached a point
Where I say ‘love love’ and she replies ‘Onion Onion’
Urdu Poetry Credits: I don’t know who is the poet of above ‘sher’. If someone let us know then we will be very glad to credit the poet here.