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Bloomberg A worker seals a sack of onions at a wholesale market in Mumbai on October 3. Image Credit: Bloomberg

  • Readers write about the onion crisis, climate change and 

The Indian onion crisis is back

By Michael Guzder 

So the humble onion is in the news again and yes, it’s bringing tears to people’s eyes. But will it make India weep? That is the question everyone is asking. Indian states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka and Bihar account for most of the onions grown in the country. Maharashtra accounts for one third of that total with its onion belt of Nashik, Ahmednagar, Pune and Aurangabad.

As a large part of the state was facing drought this year, the onion was the only hope for farmers to survive. Unfortunately, rates never picked up for the entire season and the farmers are not only disgruntled, they are very angry. And an angry farmer, in a country like India, is not a very good sign.

Farmers blame the central government’s policies for the fall in onion rates. But for the farmers, they believe that the government works for the middle class in big cities. To keep them happy, this government controls onion prices.

Why is it that every time only farmers are forced to face problems? In 2010, the prices of onion, in India rose to Rs88 (Dh4.55) from Rs25 (Dh1.3) per kg, in a week. The government of India had to ban the export of onions and even had to import it from other countries. The great onion crisis of 2010 haunted then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government and was something he wished had never happened. Something similar happened in the year 1980. Due to the rocketing prices of onions, the central government was toppled. In 1998, once again the prices of onions rose very high, leading to a ban on export. This affected the common man. This led to the fall of the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) government in the state elections, in New Delhi.

In a country like India, where the majority of the population, still, is either spending or making their largest share of income on food items, such rise or fall of prices can be catastrophic. Onions are a staple in Indian food and are exported to many countries around the world. Having the price fluctuate for such a needed commodity can cause big problems. But as usual, is anybody listening?

- The reader is an education professional based in Dubai.

Why we need to stand with Greta Thunberg?

By Amisha Bansal

The response Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg is getting is a perfect example of how the baby boomers and everyone born before 1985 are ignorant and will never change for the better. People have been calling her “just a little girl” who is “a crazy, mad, lunatic” and she has faced criticism from people in powerful positions. But why is a 16-year-old triggering grown-ups around the world? Well, the answer is simple.

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Greta Thunberg speaks during the Climate Action Summit at United Nations HQ in the Manhattan borough of New York Image Credit: Reuters

It is because these orthodox and capital-greed-hungry men and women feel scared of the idea that the new generation will come along and destroy all their extreme jingoistic ways of leeching off of the poor classes and the environment. A new age is coming, a better and cleaner one, and those who cannot live with that idea will simply have to deal with what is the reality. The reality is that Thunberg, despite being young, has created a wave of change and has encouraged and rallied up children across the world to make a difference as far as climate change is concerned. She shows no signs of stopping. This girl is leading a revolution which is far from over.

A comment online called Greta – “temporary, ineffective, embarrassingly bad at acting, brainwashed and short on facts”, which is appalling. The fact that someone rallying for a better climate gets this kind of a response is further testament to why this movement is so important in this day and age. It is common sense to conclude from this that the older generation is the cause of this problem and continues to be so by denying the new generation the opportunity to change it. The children are the future. Wake up, people, and build a better world for us all.

- The reader is a pupil based in Dubai.

India: Monsoon wedding on Malabar grounds

By Chaya Mathew

Rains create unexplainable magic, if you weren’t watching the news of the floods on television, and the devastation that usually follows in India. You will fall in love with the constant rhythmic downpour of rain, and would not want it to stop.

The way to happiness, laughter and happily ever after is during the rains, which is why the family wedding ceremony is set during the monsoons in Kerala. People have no choice but to visit the southwestern Indian state on the Arabian Sea, bracing oneself to confront the different moods and attitudes of the rain clouds.

A man stands next to damaged cars after a landslide caused by torrential monsoon rains at Puthumala near Meppadi, Wayanad district, in the southern state of Kerala, India. Image Credit: Reuters

Visiting the green carpeted land of Kerala with the southwest coast’s airport getting closed temporarily, is a hassle. Somehow, you reach the closest possible airport that’s operational, you are for sure to confront, or so it seems, the entire population of the state when you get out of the aerodrome. If you are planning on snoozing for a while in the taxi, forget it, the Malabari drivers have not slowed down a bit to obey the monsoon rules, they maneuver the potholes with high speed.

Usual preparations for the important day get altered based on the flood news. There are no casual meetings and get-togethers like before, even if you invite the relatives to come over, you can’t counter argue the rain problem excuses. You don’t get to do trials; you can’t wear high heels but most importantly, you don’t get the required beautician to set your hair, and end up looking like a mess, an Indian version of Edward Scissorhands.

Before you know it, the wedding day arrives and is spent creating laughable memories. You wonder why you were stressed in the first place. The day goes by just like any wedding does.

On the bright side, travelling to Kerala during the monsoon is good because you get to enjoy the glory of the gorgeous waterfalls, relish in the cascading mountains, the lush green trees look even greener, you will get to see millions of butterflies fluttering just about everywhere, but most of all, make sure to stop at a “thattukada” or tea stall, before you board the flight back home. Relishing the wet season probably becomes the finest unforgettable experience, more than attending a monsoon wedding.

- The reader is a resident of the UAE.