Their size, shape and consistency may vary but the triangular version seems to be the most popular. We are, of course, talking of that savoury that Wikipedia, the provider of wisdom of the last resort, would prefer to describe as a “fried or baked pastry” filled with spiced potatoes, onions, peas and in some cases, ground lamb or chicken. If you’re still floundering amid the verbosity of such outlandish descriptions, we are referring to the humble samosa, the snack of choice in the subcontinent (though its consumption is not confined to that geographical area). And yet not so humble anymore after the Supreme Court in Pakistan decided it was worth every bite to step in and set aside a notification by a provincial government that fixed its price at Rs 6.
Even as pundits and journalists and columnists bitterly debate whether a samosa is worth adjudicating about (given that the legal system is clogged with pending cases), we ask why not? After all, the reason why the case came up for consideration was not just because the traders (represented by Punjab Bakers and Sweets Federation) wanted to ratchet up their profits. More importantly, they wanted to ratchet up the prices of a food item that is so widely consumed (especially during the month of Ramzan) and so wildly popular that it made sense to litigate about it. That’s a feat nonpareil in the worlds of snacks and finger food that you should keep in mind next time you swoon over a smoked salmon pâté or a mushroom vol-au-vent.
It’s another matter that a price limit on samosa would have been difficult to enforce anyway (unless you assigned a battalion to police samosa-makers, an enviable job-description in these difficult times). As our wise counterparts (the editorial writers, silly) in Pakistani newspapers have argued, the high-in-demand samosa was being sold at much higher prices anyway. What affects people has every right to be tried (and tasted) in courts of law, and let’s not get too uppity about that.