I read in one of Carl Sagan's books about a certain episode in 19th Century England. Beekeepers suddenly had a massive drop in their honey collections. So major was this problem that they finally got together and called in a biologist, a man called Charles Darwin (maybe some of you may vaguely recall having heard of him).
This Darwin studied the situation and told the beekeepers that to remedy the situation they must...get more cats.
The 'keepers, fortunately, had the faith in science to accept this bizarre suggestion and acquired cats in greater numbers, after which the honey yield went right back up again.
Here's how it worked. The bees fed primarily on the nectar of clover growing in the fields. A population of field mice also ate the clover. Now the field mice were going through a population explosion and gobbling up all the clover. Result - no nectar left over for the bees.
Now, imagine this happened in India, now, today. Let's see the likely scenario:
1. Honey yields fall drastically.
2. Beekeepers get together and hold a special prayer to the honey gods, and sacrifice a barrel of honey to him/her. TV cameras and the print media are invited to watch.
3. Local politicians claim that this is because of the "stepmotherly attitude" of the Central government towards the beekeepers. They demand adequate compensation.
4. Beekeepers call a strike and attack government offices. A far-right wing organisation adopts the agitation as its own and says that the beekeepers' problems are caused by those speaking other languages or professing other beliefs.
5. A nationally famous Feng Shui expert advises the beekeepers to arrange their beehives in particular patterns and to arrange for flowing water in the east of their apiaries, while any tree that grows in the south-western corner must be removed. An astrologer asks the beekeepers to add extra vowels to their names.
6. The unelected, so-called prime minister visits the beekeepers and makes a speech about the absolute necessity of economic "reforms" and a 10% growth rate.
7. India wins a minor cricket match. The media go ape.
8. As a "temporary relief measure," the government decides to purchase honey from abroad at three times the price it is willing to pay local beekeepers. Major economists strongly support this decision.
9. A beekeeper commits suicide. The media shows some mild interest.
10. A major, overhyped Bollywood film is released. The media have nothing else to talk about.
11. The rats outrun their food supply and their population levels fall. As time goes by the honey yield picks up.
12. The astrologer and the Feng Shui expert fall over themselves taking credit, but whine that nobody listens.