in Ceylon, general strike, organized in 1953 by Marxist parties to express public dissatisfaction over the rise in the cost of living, especially the cost of rice. (Generically, the word hartal means "strike" in most North Indian languages.) Because of a chronic shortage of rice, the Ceylonese government since World War II had rationed rice and instituted government rice subsidies to keep the price of rice stable in the face of a fluctuating world market. By 1952 the subsidies accounted for 20 percent of government expenditure. In July 1953, Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake of the United National Party drastically reduced the subsidies, causing the price of rice to triple.
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