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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Fuel price hike: a turning point?

The crude oil price is inching towards $140. There is an unstated feeling of worry and panic sweeping across the world with ominous hints at the figure of $150 and even $200.

There're protests all across the world. They have become very violent in Europe, France in particular. Vehicles and properties are being set afire. These are not finding any mention in the Indian media. Probably with the good intention of not giving ideas to protesters here.

Remarkably, in India the protests by all opposition parties have been very peaceful, though normal life has been hit by the strikes. Could be that the hike has been cushioned a great deal in India by subsidies unlike in the west. Small blessings we Indians should be grateful for.

It's the sense of frustration that's in danger of breaching barriers and exploding. Most of the anger is directed against the govt, though the issue is global and the govt can do precious little overnight.

Will these days be the beginning of a change in the way we look at life and all that we do? We have always been in a fast-forward mode, little realising that we have in many ways been going back rather than foreward.

Business is one area that will take the most devastating knock. In the name of more and more profit, it has been a race to nowhere (to doom?) We have also taken nature for granted, unabashedly plundering it for selfish gains.

A threat to business could also translate into threat to lifestyle, a threat to the way we look at ourselves and others. It's not as easy as it sounds since the transition that we all may need to make in the days ahead needs a lot of understanding, patience and determination.

Just a thought: are the oil producing giants having the last laugh, getting back at America in the way they know best?

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