Tea, milk or lassi — is the beverage war worth it?
From a hefty trade deficit to shocking child malnutrition, there is no dearth of social or economic problems to be dealt with in India. Yet in the midst of all these issues, the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission has, in his wisdom, decided to wage a beverage war in India.
Montek Singh Ahluwalia wants to declare tea as the national drink of India by next year to commemorate the birth anniversary of India’s first indigenous tea planter who was also part of the 1857 mutiny against British rule.
Ahluwalia’s declaration has already sown the seeds of another mutiny in India. Milk producers have thrown down the gauntlet, and are demanding that the “honour” should go to, well, milk.
It seems only a matter of time before the filter coffee, lemonade, coconut water, mango juice or whisky drinkers jump on to the bandwagon as well.
Or would they?
After all, things have not gone well for many other title holders. The population of the Bengal Tiger, India’s national animal, has dwindled alarmingly in the past few decades. Field hockey, India’s national sport, is defined by inefficiency and mediocrity. The Ganga, India’s ‘holiest’ river, is also perhaps one of the dirtiest in the world.
So maybe being a national anything in India does not bode so well. Perhaps the wisest course of action for other non-tea drinkers should be to stay mum and pray for long-lasting obscurity for their beverage.