New Delhi, Feb 6: Humble pakoda (fritters)-sellers would have never thought that one day the nation is going to debate over the snacks.
In the recent past, India has seen debates over beef (after all, it's the food of the Muslims and anti-nationals and we are a nation fast denouncing democracy and embracing Hindutva).
We have also seen some sanskari (pious) discussions over khichdi, to make the lentil-rice dish the country's national food.
These days, our food obsession (sorry, job fixation) lies solely with pakoda-- the crispy savoury primarily made of chickpea batter, onions and salt. If a pakoda would have been a beautiful lady, men (jobless) would have penned eloquent poetry about it.
Sadly, it is just a pakoda sold at a roadside stall--mostly in dirty corners of cities and towns--and the hungry souls, who clearly can't afford pasta or biriyani, fill their stomachs and hearts with the greasy appetiser.
The reason behind the sudden rise of popularity of pakoda--it is not just an eatable, but a prospective job opportunity for millions of educated youngsters whose CVs have been rejected by MNCs and government departments--is the Midas touch of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
PM Modi understands the true value of a pakoda. He's the first one who highlighted the 'gastronomical value' of a pakoda for a job-hungry nation.
That is why in a television interview Modi infamously suggested that selling pakodas (India's favourite snacks, especially during winter along with chai (tea), another favourite of the PM) is also a job.
In the interview Modi stated, "If a person selling pakodas earns Rs 200 at the end of the day, will it be considered employment or not?"
When Modi says something, how could the nation afford to disagree? Thus young unemployed youths dressed in suit-boot decided to host pakoda parties (read protests) where they happily fried and sold fritters in various parts of the country.
They sold Modi pakoda, Shah pakoda and Jaitley pakoda, among others, to honour India's powerful and mighty who are teaching us about jobs, economy and life in general with the humble pakoda.
Former finance minister P Chidambaram, whom the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lambasted for taking a jibe at Modi's pakoda-selling economics (pakodanomics), was actually happy at the thought that even beggars in India are employed.
"Even selling pakodas is a 'job' said PM. By that logic, even begging is a job. Let's count poor or disabled persons who are forced to beg for a living as 'employed' people," tweeted the former finance minister under the previous Manmohan Singh regime.
However, the ruling BJP who loves to take offence at the slightest of provocation decided to continuously silence any form of dissent.
On Monday, BJP president Amit Shah during his maiden speech in the Rajya Sabha told India (read the Congress and critics) that it was better to sell "pakodas" than to be unemployed. Like Modi, Shah is also right about pakoda (why only pakodas? The Modi-Shah jodi is right about everything).
He, however, like the PM did not clarify that the BJP's promise of one crore jobs every year during the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 actually meant turning one crore men/women into pakoda sellers. Not bad. Isn't it?
When figures say that the country is witnessing high growth of unemployment, we all could sell pakodas.
The rate of unemployment in India has increased from 3.8 per cent in 2011-12 to 5 per cent in 2015-16. According to an International Labour Organisation (ILO) report, unemployment in India will increase from 17.7 million in 2016 to 18 million in 2018.
The recent statements by Modi and Shah (the two biggest names of the current regime) imply that all those who are crying over jobs should take up pakoda selling, irrespective of their educational qualification and skills.
No matter, how much critics try to put sense into the BJP government that the country is witnessing joblessness and lack of growth, the Modi-Shah duo continues to sell their pakodanomics, which many call it a part of jumla bazzi (empty promises).
As if the demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) blows were not enough for resilient Indians, now Modi and Shah want everyone to sell pakodas because we have no "jobs".
Instead of politely admitting that the economy of the country has been mismanaged by the current regime, the PM and his close aides have stuffed their mouths with pakodas.
Such overconfidence over 'pakoda power' could backfire for the BJP. Remember, too many pakodas could upset stomach (or electoral prospects of the BJP, especially during the Lok Sabha elections of 2019).