It requires little debate to conclude that Indians are distressed by high inflation.
But translating this into a slap?on a minister’s face points to something else: frustration and intolerance. When an angry man hit Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Thursday, it was another in a series of instances of unreasonable behaviour directed at persons in public life. Home minister P. Chidambaram, lawyer Prashant Bhushan and now Pawar have all been at the receiving end of “instant justice”.
Such behaviour, it has to be repeated, has no place in a civilized society.
It should, however, awaken our political leaders to the anger that is turning into such atrocious behaviour. Dismissing it as a one-off incident would be lazy. Clearly, there is a gap between leaders and citizens. If this occurs in autocratic settings, one can rationalize it. But in a democracy, it points to a much bigger problem.