Statistics can sometimes differ from public perceptions. Weather experts and scientists have stated that while the heatwave witnessed in large parts of India this year has been terrible, it is not the worst that India has faced in recent history.
For the record, the 44-degree plus temperatures seen in many parts of north India is the worst in 10 years. So if you go by expert opinion, the heat wave was bad; but not as bad as what India has seen in the past.
But public memory is known to be short and perceptions are based on current and contemporary events. For ordinary Indians, the statements of weather experts are no consolation as they are suffering through an energy sapping heatwave.
Not surprisingly, a majority of Indians are of the opinion that the heatwave they are currently facing is the worst they have experienced in their lives.
This was revealed by a nationwide survey conducted by CVoter on behalf of IANS to gauge public sentiment on the issue. The survey was conducted via random sampling and included all education, income and ethnic categories.
According to the results of the survey, overall, 78 per cent were of the opinion that this has been the worst heatwave of their life. Just 22 per cent of the respondents did not share the sentiment.
Even on this non-partisan issue, political divides were visible. While 81 per cent of opposition supporters felt this has been the worst heatwave of their lives, 73 per cent of NDA supporters shared the same sentiment.
Predictably, while 79 per cent of those in the age group 18 to 24 said this has been the worst heatwave of their lives, 67 per cent of those above 55 years of age felt the same.