DailyOh! How is China trying to open new front in Depsang, to the Diesel mystery

VandanaJun 25, 2020 | 18:48

DailyOh! How is China trying to open new front in Depsang, to the Diesel mystery

While Beijing is holding talks on one front, it is opening other fronts for confrontation.

After being called the national capital, the crime capital and the rape capital, Delhi is now India’s corona capital too. Being the national capital was welcome, but being corona capital is the doing of an unwelcome virus from China. As for being the crime and rape capital, do know that more cases get reported in Delhi than other parts of India. A comparatively more accurate reporting could well be the reason for Delhi overtaking Mumbai in terms of coronavirus cases as well. This morning, Delhi's Covid-19 cases stood at 70,390. Mumbai counted its numbers to 69,528 cases.


test_062520020436.jpgDelhi has conducted 4.2 lakh coronavirus tests so far. (Photo: Reuters)

How do you know someone is positive? Only when you test. When you test more, you find more. Just like if you report more crimes, more crimes take place. Unreported crimes never happened. Actually, they happened but went unrecorded. Delhi has conducted 4.2 lakh tests so far. Mumbai in comparison has tested 2.94 lakh. Also, being the national capital, Delhi has more people flocking to it than Mumbai. Delhi has 1.68 crore people, while Mumbai has 1.25 crore. More people mean a wider spread.

Delhi has overtaken Mumbai and diesel has overtaken petrol in Delhi – in price terms. Okay, diesel can’t overtake petrol prices on its own, like we can’t decide if we are free to move out or not.

Diesel prices are subject to a lot of factors – global demand-supply matrix, Indian fuel companies and government taxes. Our movement is decided only by one factor - the coronavirus. We will talk about ourselves later, because it is diesel that we want to talk about for now. To be precise, it is diesel prices that we want to talk about.


To understand how the prices have risen, let’s do some time travelling. In the absence of real travel, imaginary time travel is our newly acquired hobby. The price rise however is real.

On May 5, petrol was costlier than diesel by Rs 7.3. Then Delhi government increased the Value Added Tax (VAT) on diesel to 30 per cent from 16.75 per cent. It increased the VAT on petrol too from 27 per cent to 30 per cent.

Since diesel pollutes more than petrol, it also attracts an additional air ambience levy of Rs 250/kilolitre.

diesel_690_062520015424.jpgDiesel is selling costlier than petrol in Delhi. (Photo: Reuters)

All of this added, reduced the price gap between petrol and diesel to Rs 2. The Oil Marketing Companies have been consistently increasing fuel prices since – paisa by paisa - more on diesel than petrol. If you needed any better reason not to buy diesel vehicles, you just got one. Environmentalists had been demanding higher prices on diesel to discourage its use.

But do you know why diesel is called diesel? Diesel, our Word Of The Day, is named after Rudolf Diesel because the German mechanical engineer invented the diesel engine.


Rudolf, however, had a rather mysterious end in the sea. On September 29, 1913, Rudolf was on his way to London on a ship to attend a meeting of the Consolidated Diesel Manufacturing company in London. He ate his dinner and retired to his cabin at 10 pm, asking to be woken up at 6.15 am. When people, following his bidding, reached the cabin to wake him up, he wasn’t around. His bed had either not been slept in or nicely laid out after whoever slept on it woke up. Rudolf’s night dress too lay untouched in the cabin. But his hat and overcoat were found at the afterdeck.

Some 10 days later, a boat found a body in the sea. It was nearly rotten. But Rudolf’s personal belongings such as eye glass case, wallet and ID card were found on the clothing of the body. The body was in such a bad shape, it was never brought on board. It was left to the sea. Some say he died by suicide, others say he was murdered because he refused to hand over the German forces the exclusive rights to use his invention – diesel engines.

rudolf-diesel_690_2_062520015718.jpgDiesel gets its name from Rudold Diesel. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

There is no way of knowing what happened on that night of September 29 in 1913, but on June 25 in 1983, India won the cricket World Cup. By now you know who the real heroes of the victory were, but did you know about the role Lata Mangeshkar played in it?

Actually, she played a role in the victory celebrations and not the victory itself. It is customary now for winners and winning teams to be heaped with cash awards and gifts from private businesses, but back then, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had no money to award the boys. NKP Salve, who was BCCI president then, reached Lata, asking her to help the board raise funds to reward Kapil Dev and his men. A concert was organised in Delhi and Rs 20 lakh was raised. Each member of the team got Rs 1 lakh each.

That was in the past. In the present of 2018-19, the net worth of BCCI was reportedly over Rs 11,900 crore. This year hasn’t been good so far in terms of business, because of the virus that has crossed over from China to this side of our border.

Talking of the border, you know there is tension there. After laying claim to Galwan Valley, creating trouble in Hot Springs and Pangong Tso, the Chinese are now opening a new front in the Depsang plains. They have reportedly deployed troops, military vehicles and other heavy vehicles on the Depsang plains. The plains of Depsang are no plains, they have rocky outcrops. The Chinese incursion is happening at a place called Y-junction or Bottleneck. Bottleneck is called Bottleneck because the outcrops make it difficult for vehicles to move in the area.

Bottleneck is 18 km inside the LAC on the Indian side. In 2013, the Chinese had laid claim to the area by coming in and putting up tents. The standoff lasted close to three weeks. Then the matter was resolved through dialogue. When the Chinese withdrew, India built a base there for permanent patrolling. The Chinese still managed to sneak in, in 2015.

depsang_690_062520015847.jpgThe India-China military build up is rising along the Line of Actual Control. (Photo: Reuters)

Since then, Xi Jinping’s army has made several attempts to enter and occupy the area. The trouble this time is that they have opened several fronts all at the same time. Is China itching for a war? Difficult to say.

What is easy to know is that wars are disastrous. In 1944, the manuscript of George Orwell’s book Animal Farm was nearly destroyed because of a German bomb that was dropped on London. Orwell’s house was demolished by the bomb. Orwell, his wife and son, who were away from home when the bomb dropped, survived. But the house turned into rubble. Later, Orwell would keep returning to the house in search of his belongings, but most importantly to find the manuscript that lay underneath the rubble.

Luckily, after hours and hours of sifting through the debris, Orwell found it. Then the world read it. Wondering why we brought up Orwell today? Well, it’s his birthday. The legendary writer passed away in 1950; his work however lives on.

If it’s your birthday too, we wish you a very happy one at that. Celebrate your birthday today, but celebrate life every day. Why? Because, they say, life is beautiful.

If you don’t find it beautiful, you know who to blame - the beholder. But for having added ‘light’, ‘white’ and ‘bright’ to beauty, you may want to blame fairness creams. Guess you are late because fairness creams are in course-correction mode. We mean the companies that manufacture and sell them.

Unilever, which owns the brand Fair & Lovely, is going on to embrace what they call a more inclusive concept of beauty. So Fair & Lovely, world’s first fairness cream, will undergo a name change. What would the new name be? Not sure. If they drop ‘fair’, it would just be Lovely. Who would buy a cream named Lovely? Those who want to look lovely. Like those who wanted to look both fair and lovely bought Fair & Lovely.

Sunny Jain, President Beauty & Personal Care at Fair & Lovely, says, “We want Fair & Lovely to become a brand that celebrates glowing and radiant skin, regardless of skin tone.”

Brands want to celebrate nothing. Brands want to sell their products. Products packaged as dreams of being fair, glowing and looking radiant, sell more. Bonus if they can add ads that make dreams look achievable because of the colour of your skin.

We will let you know when that dream has been named.

Stay safe.

We will see you tomorrow.

Last updated: June 25, 2020 | 18:50
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