It is said that when Neil Armstrong reached the Moon, he found a Malayalee there, selling coconut water. After tasting coconut water for the first time in his life, Neil Armstrong was keen to know more about the coconut, coconut tree and coconut water. The Malayalee informed Neil about the majestic heights that one has to climb to pull down the coconuts from the coconut trees. Enthralled by that heroic story, Neil Armstrong expressed in awe, “That’s one small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind”.
However, something has brewed in the land of spices in the recent times. A section of the society demands that a tax should be imposed on the coconut water sales done by the roadside hawkers. This blogger tried to get responses from various sections of the society, about their opinions about this demand, and the responses are as below:
1. Indian Center for Health Research (ICHR), a respectable think-tank, existing virtually, has found that Keralites are not having enough fats in their body, in comparison with many Europeans and Americans. ICHR believes that incentivizing the sales of cola drinks would enlarge the body structures of an average Keralite, especially children suffering from anemia and malnutrition. ICHR cites statistics that indicate that in countries where the sales of cola products are higher, people have an enlarged and expanded body. Analysts are of the opinion that taxing coconut water would level the playing field for cola companies, who already pays taxes, funds political processes related to decisions in transparent food labeling, and supports recycling initiatives. A level playing field will help cola companies to sell more cola drinks, thereby making Keralites enlarged and expanded, thereby solving the problem of malnutrition, once and for all.
2. Dr Know-It-All, Senior Assistant Junior Professor, Kerala Institute of Advanced Management, asserts, “It is simply unacceptable, unethical and unfair that cola companies are not given an equal opportunity to work in the Kerala market. Considering that one of the leading cola companies is headed by a woman CEO, I suspect whether this is an expression of the deep rooted male chauvinist mentality prevalent among the Malayalee males”.
3. Association of Keralites Living Outside Kerala (aokLOK) commented, “What is wrong in increasing taxes? Taxes are for good for growth. Kerala needs more flyovers, cars, buildings and shopping malls. We need at least one airport in every village. We are sad that Malayalees in Kerala are living like ostriches. Have they been to Luxembourg or London?” A similar sentiment was raised by a section of business community. Echoing the voices of the industry, the editor of Financial Times of Kerala responded that there will be a drastic fall in the investor sentiment if Government of Kerala refuse to tax the roadside hawkers.
4. A coconut water seller told, “This will make our business unprofitable. People should know the health benefits of drinking coconut water”
5. The most vocal were the college students who are members of the active student unions. “Stones and coconuts are our weapons during strikes, bandhs and hartals. The construction contractors and the builders have taken away the stones. If hawkers stop selling coconut, what will we use during our expressions of democratic resistances?”
6. Intellectual Malayalees Living Outside Kerala (imLOK) sent a three sentence reply to this blogger, “How can you be so insensitive by thinking only about the coconut sellers of Kerala? What about the coconut sellers of Bolivia and Nicaragua? Why aren’t you blogging about the coconuts in Vietnam and Cambodia?