August 5, 2006

Pesti Cola

Filed under: India n Me,Most Read,opinions,This Gets To Me — Kaveeta Oberoi Kaul @ 2:13 pm
Tags: ,

Despite the fact that news of pesticides in Colas far exceeding the standard norms had filtered in three years back, yet, nothing seemed to have shaken up the Government to undertake appropriate action against erring companies.

Consider this:

* The Rajasthan High Court had banned Coke and Pepsi two years back. They have continued to operate in India in contempt of the court order, exploiting their non-Indian status.

* U.S.A had taken stringent action against its civic corporations when it had been proven that drinking water had crossed the accepted norms by a mere 1%. In India presently, the colas have been found to exceed the limit set by a whopping 37% and more, depending on the region.

* CSE, the body which has worked with unswerving dedication to unleash the information of its findings to the media had come under severe scrutiny by the government led by Sushma Swaraj, the Environment minister, when it was the Cola companies that needed to be put under the scanner, indicted and warned.

If one attempts to put things in perspective, what appears foremost is the role of the common man. Even if one were to sideline the average illiterate villager, or ill-informed citizen to who making a living is the prime immediacy, yet, the educated masses need to have self imposed the ban. Turning a blind eye to information and awaiting Governmental banning to expedite the restriction on consumption is downright negligent and irresponsible.

Matters pertaining to health are of personal concern that should be of paramount importance. This is not meant to absolve the officials or the Cola companies of their bounden duty in effecting safety measures of health and hygiene, but citizen initiative would have gone a long way in striking at the roots of the issue. Economic considerations being the sole reason for enterprise, lack of profitability due to result of mass rejection would have dealt with the problem despite Governmental apathy.

A country which has shown laxity in displaying security measures for its teeming millions, is not going to change its spots by showing promptness to redressal of social issues such as public health, in a hurry. Its no surprise that the war waged against the colas would have tilted favourably for the MNC’s. Corruption is no alien to third world countries , is a fact known with much clarity to those who have exploited it to their advantage.

Swami Ramdev, the yoga exponent, making waves for a while now,, had described colas as ‘toilet cleaners’ in one of his public speeches. One expected a fallout that would implicate him sooner or later. After all, this was a direct accusation against major players, with their ‘connections’ in top brackets! Not much later he was in the news, allegedly accused by Brinda Karat of using human bones in his medicines. That he had the suport of leaders and the masses, and emerged clean is not of concern here. What is relevant that the statement made by the swami, is, believe it or not, verified as true.

Now that the media has taken up the cause with much enthusiasm, the BMC has decided to take it off their canteen.

Whether or not the Government and the relevant agencies take stringent measures in dealing with this gross violation of principles, is a matter best left to future reference, especially going by past history. If we understand the implications and far reaching consequences and agree to eliminate consumption of Colas as a whole permanently, or atleast till such time that accepted standards are not complied with, it will prove once and for all that the citizen has educated himself and no longer at mercy of Indian government to spoon feed our preferences to us.

If we show scant respect or low priority to health issues, to expect an inept Government to act as surrogate mother in highlighting them, is downright immature, impractical and Utopian.

The solution is at hand. Vow to say a big ‘yes to Lime water, lassi, lemon tea, jal jeera, panna, coconut water and what have you…

Update: Now that the term “Pesti Cola ” seems ubiquitous, across T.V. channels and blogs and google..It thrills me to state, in an exaggerated nose-up-in-the-air-ish snoot, that ‘Moi” was the author of the this highly succinct analogy of pesticides in Pepsi and Colas ..’Pesti Cola’.

Cross Posted at NowPublic


  1. Why cannot they have a statutory warning…like on cigarette packets..for those who still want to go ahead…thier problem..atleast they were warned! And with exact details of ingredients etc.

    Comment by Monica — August 5, 2006 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

  2. what rubbish!! what statutory warning…as if people dont smoke even after that..masses are idiots..until its banned nothing will change

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — August 5, 2006 @ 3:36 pm | Reply

  3. considering villages and villagers outnumber townies and city people, there only a ban will be effective. But in schools and colleges i think even kids today are being wary. Slowly they are getting out of the influence of sharukhs and aamirs. Why these stars agreed to do these ads is quite surprising.

    Comment by Neha — August 5, 2006 @ 3:50 pm | Reply

  4. Y stars are doing ads?? y not?? is it the right only of govt to make money?? ever wondered y the delay in the ban? big bucks involved to keep the colas in not out.

    Comment by anonymous — August 5, 2006 @ 5:00 pm | Reply

  5. nimbu paaani… whats the quality of water in the nimbu pani??

    Comment by Anonymous — August 7, 2006 @ 10:56 am | Reply

  6. Pertinent article Kaveeta!! In 1998, when I was diagnosed with “helicobacter pylori” a systemic digestive system destroyer which shut down my stomach and system in about 7-9 months time, giving me: atonic, atrophic gastritis; a precursor to stomach cancers, and eventually emanciation and death. There is NO cure for atrophic gastritis.

    Of course, when I became struck down with this; I researched the bacteria. 50% of the world has it. Only 12% are effected, the way I was.

    Anyway, to make a long story short; during my research, and trying to find out if it came from bad water at home… I learned it could very well have come from “cola” that I drink(diet coke.)

    Money, wealth and prosperity, seem to have always taken precedence over the health and well-being and welfare of people.

    Sad, but seemingly true….


    Comment by North — August 17, 2006 @ 8:25 am | Reply

  7. Hi North..gosh your post was shocking to say the least.Dont you feel you could have explored the possibility of exposing these companies with the help of your doctors and their analysis? I know i may be sounding impractical..but somebody should answer for your predicament..even if it meant involving the media.I cannot say what the situation is in canada..but in India today the average voice is demanding amswers and acting up in the name of justice..slowly but surely. It is so disturbing to envisage your health and the ensuing problems you must have faced all these years.

    Ayurveda, yoga and Homeopathy are gaining ground as viable alternative therapies. Wish you could find a source in canada. allopathy is so hopelessly ill equipped to handle something of this nature.

    Your post shold be an eye opener to all those who acting as stooges of the cola companies are crying themselves hoarse over the safety of the drinks and pledging their integrity in following accepted standards.. The harm has been done quite intensely in India and the world over. Apart from the fact that they offer no nutritional value therefore append its futility but to be a source of harm has been the straw that broke the camels back..not to mention the arrogance with which they viewed our protests all these years. It is a reason for us to turn back to nature one more time. a warning that we need to heed.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — August 18, 2006 @ 11:44 pm | Reply

  8. HI Dear Kaveetaa, yes I did take it to the media. Especially because the bacteria is lethal to “some.”

    I wrote an article on the bacteria, and the possible places it could be come from. I contacted government agencies for water, environment and disease control..they are the ones that told me, it could have come from diet coke.

    I gave up after 2-3 years, post stomach atrophy, in trying to find out “how/where” I was exposed.


    Comment by North — August 21, 2006 @ 8:41 am | Reply

  9. If a supposedly/comparatively progressive country like Canada opted to turn a blind eye to your plaints North, in India where corruption is so rampant, what possible redressal can we expect?


    Comment by kaveetaakaul — September 5, 2006 @ 8:32 pm | Reply

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