The Great Indian Loot

Dil ka darwaja khulla hai Raja,
Aath roj ki tu chutti leke aaja. [Main Khiladi Tu Anadi]

Madhu Koda. The Reddys. Yedurappa. Adarsh. Suresh Kalmadi. Telgi. Raja. As one swirls one’s spoon on the surface of the murky alphabet soup that is Indian politics, the letters arrange themselves for a while, floating on the surface. Wisps of smoke twirl up. Then with a whiff of blown air, the alphabets rearrange themselves, new names are formed, and the old ones vanish into the depths.

The tragedy of Indian corruption is not just its Dolly Bindra-n scale but the way each outrage is buried by increasingly bigger outrages. If today we wonder, in stunned silence, the “1 G 2G roji suno ji one two ka four four two ka one” telecom bandwidth allocation lafda which, with its number of zeroes, has surely made a case for using a log-scale to represent scam-amounts, most of us know that in an atmosphere of “karta hoon main woh jo tum bhi karo ji” it will be months, if not weeks, before this is eclipsed by something even bigger.

In the middle of this of course, we have had Bullah’s very own Rakhta Hoon Main Khulla Open Magazine’s carrying of the Nira Radia tapes, setting off a storm on the chatterati’s metal echo chamber otherwise known as Twitter. To those shocked by “Ek Rahein Eer Ek Rahein Veer” Sanghvi taking his talking points from a lobbyist and by “Ek Rahein Hum” Barkha acting as a go-in-between two political parties (which I honestly think isn’t that big a deal, compared to how Sanghvi has been caught “forming his opinions”, not that I don’t find her claim that she was “sourcing information” hilarious) all I can say is that welcome to the real world. If you thought that journalists were kurta-wearing bespectacled idealists fighting the system (like Sekhar Suman’s character in Tridev who dies and gets Sunny Deol’s hilarious send-off “Ek aur desh ke liye saheed ho gaye), as distinct for the system, you really do need to get out more. In the real world, there aren’t distinct islands ———-“press”,  “politician”, “bureaucrat”, “police”; so if you get say “Oh my God how can the press do this”, then frankly you are Bullah’s brother (for those who havent seen Gunda, his name was Chutiya).

Remember there are just two classes in today’s India——a closed incestuous circle of “the empowered”, like the popular kids in school, comprising of politicians, bureaucrats, entertainment professionals, lobbyists, big business and top brass of the national press (I shouldn’t even say “today” with respect to the press, in his days Khushwant Singh was a kingmaker in his own right)  . And then there is the rest of us, impotently outraged, secretly intimidated (which is why for most bravery is sprouting venom under anonymous monikers on the Net) and collectively suffering from amnesia wherein today’s villains become tomorrow’s heroes, with all sins being forgiven if those tainted “tender in their resignation”. Finally to those who feel they have lost faith in the Indian press after this incident (which honestly isn’t a big thing, unethical perhaps but definitely not illegal, since quid-pro-quo has not been proven) and the silence of certain news outlets, do read about the “Indian Paid News Scandal” which, honestly is a hundred, no make it thousand times, more damning for the Indian press. If you have never heard of it, I don’t blame you. The Indian press, by and large, have suppressed it. And for good reason. I would  sweep it under the almirah too if I was them and I had the absolute power over information.

So for me, this press thing does not really bother me. Well a little. But spending time over it is like fretting over chipped paint on the wall when the house has been burnt down.  The Radia tapes are merely a sidelight, a spicy one no doubt but one that has the potential to take away attention from the larger roadshow involving political expedient inaction from the PMO and the kind of economic holocaust that should really shake the Indian political system (and no this is not merely a Congress malaise as the Rappahs and the Ever Reddys show).

Except it wont. Because no matter how much the Net public fulminate and tweet, to the “real India” corruption is a non-issue. All that matters are caste, religion and personalities and corruption is considered to be a victimless crime. That is why faced with the possibility of a JPC, Pranab-Babu threatens mid-term elections because he would rather take his chances with the people. If I had a penny for every time a corrupt politician has said “All corruption charges against me are baseless and are the result of conspiracy. If I was guilty, I would not have won so-and-so elections. The people have rejected the falsehoods” I would have enough money as Madhu Koda.

There was a time though in the 80s when corruption mattered, at least at the center. Involving money that would be looked upon as a rounding-off error in today’s 2G scam, the Bofors scandal changed Indian history taking down Mr. Clean and his Knights of Camelot, in a turn-around no one could have foreseen when Rajiv Gandhi almost won all Parliamentary seats in 1984. The difference between the 80s and now is that in those days, the opposition had a charismatic personality to pit against Rajiv Gandhi (it’s another matter that that personality, we later found out, was more poisonous than the person he was trying to take down). Now Congress still has personalities like Sonia and Rahul. Polarizing them may be, engendering violent opposition and pathogenic love, they still are electoral gold. Personalities who can galvanize the base and can make the electorate unite above caste and religion. But the opposition i.e. the BJP today has none. None that can stand up to the larger-than-life Gods and take them on eyeball-to-eyeball.

Well they do have one. But like Lord Voldemort, his name may not be uttered.

And so my friends it will continue, one wave of corruption followed by yet another larger wave, raising the shock threshold every time. Fire up your rage within 140 characters. Try make it funny and pray for re-tweets. Cause, honestly, that’s really all you can do.


95 thoughts on “The Great Indian Loot

  1. 1st will read it after coming from the job 😛

  2. TRUE …..Coundnt disagree even .1111111111111 % …..B dutt should [edited]

  3. it is quite depressing to read your post but like “fretting over chipped paint” i could not help but notice the unclosed quotes “” …

    sorry but that is how i am … easily distracted by the small gossipy salacious tidbits thrown outside the ‘shaadi ka pandal’ while the larger feast goes on without my taking note.

  4. The facts which you quote are undisputable. However, I completely disagree with the cynical and bleak outlook for the future. I think the resignation of a Union minister, and one CM, (and perhaps another one), is a hopeful sign.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to studying for the IAS exams.

  5. “Cause, honestly, that’s really all you can do.” Sad but true 😦

  6. The tragedy of our democracy is that we manage to elect crooks and deviants to govern us every time.

  7. “Well they do have one. But like Lord Voldemort, his name may not be uttered”
    Is everyone reading it as Modi or am I an exception?

    He is ruling Gujarat for almost 10 years now and Congress B. I. has not been able to find any corruption charge against him. Strange!!

  8. Boy, what a mess! I am more disgusted with the Vir Sanghvis and Barkha Dutts being glove in hand with the goings on …

  9. …oops … hand in glove … 🙂

  10. the bollywood references took away from the post this time. usually they make sense.
    thanks for the Sainath link. i have been wanting to ask you what news portals, blogs you usually rely on for decent, unbiased news. would be of great service if you could post links.
    and finally, cynicism is way too easy.

  11. Well written and very true.

    Except for one point though.. the ‘rest of us’ shouldnt forget that our prosperity is in large part the spoils of this corruption. Its the only thing that has made us rise far above median Indian per capita income, and have the wherewithal for a computer and internet to crib about corruption. In that sense, we (wrongly referred to as middle class by the media – we are actually elite) are guilty of hypocrisy.

    Also, the blame in all these scams has focussed exclusively on politicians. What about the entrepreneurs who are as guilty? Why are Sanjay Chandra, Ruia or Anil Ambani not being asked to face prosecution for large scale subversion of the law? Why is Anil Agarwal still being allowed to continue despite the many illegal activities that surfaced during the Niyamgiri probe?

  12. Besharmi ki hadd ho gayi hai, Arnab. These guys i.e. these “servants of people”, bureaucrats (i happen to be one), Business “magnates”, lobbyists and the media, have made cabals, to cater to their common interests, self-aggrandisement and pecuniary benefits (or rather lust for money) for themselves and their ilk; that is sapping away the foundations of the country. A spreading malignancy, their relationship with the country is the same as that of a “Nasoor” and a “Jism”.

  13. “…honestly, that’s really all you can do.”

    I am not sure about the can part, but I am 100% sure on .. that’s really all you (I don’t mean you personally) will do.

    On the part of what you can really do and may be some are already doing it, to start with focus on fixing the character – your and your own kids. tell them not to steal/cheat, not because someone will scold you for that, but because that’s a wrong thing to do.

    I think this is the only possible solution though time taking it may be. Macro issues should take care of themselves in due time. Meanwhile would be nice also if some people do a little more and direct than what I suggested.

  14. I agree with Deepesh. The solution might be time taking but thats the way to go.
    Starting with small things we can do. And not thinking (for example) – why should I be honestly paying tax when people around me are not?
    And – not to treat the election day as government holiday.

  15. “Remember there are just two classes in today’s India——a closed incestuous circle of “the empowered”, like the popular kids in school, comprising of politicians, bureaucrats, entertainment professionals, lobbyists, big business and top brass of the national press” Perfectly put Arnab. However, I do not think the Indian Middle Class (or the elite as you call it), is waiting with bated breath for re tweets on their angst ridden tweets.

    What it is doing, is trying to find it’s own Radia. Everyone is trying to bridge the gap between the two classes mentioned above. Now, Radia could be anything, getting paid enough to not let the dirt of the street touch you and your family, $ salaries, getting ‘contacts’ in the ’empowered class’ or making yourself so excellent in your field, that the empowered class just cannot do without you.

    At least, that’s what I am doing!

  16. I actually enjoy GBs serious posts even more than the hilarious ones.

    To the point, precise and something to ponder upon.

    Really its a very sad affair that Lord Voldemort looks like the hero of the “Great Indian Loot” story.

    Democracy in India has become a process of choosing the lesser evil….

  17. I wonder what Atal and Advani are doing …their silence/lukeworm response is also surprising at this hour..

  18. put barkha in a burkha

  19. I’m even sad that someone who seemed honest (Manmohan Singh, PM) may also be involved in all this. When I mentioned that he was at least an honest man in a dishonest party, my dad said that people who are truly honest cannot sit silent and without action when surrounded by dishonesty.

    When you think about it: this is true. If he were really honest but surrounded by Kalmadis, Pawars, Rajas, Gandhis, Singhs, etc. etc., would he not have bought them to book and said fall in line, be honest. If not, I will simply resign as PM and then watch the shit hit the fan.

    I think silent dishonest people are the most dangerous – Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi being right up top in this.

  20. Is it “that’s really all you can do” ?

    With your huge reader base, if you want – you can put up a page about each scandal you feel worthy (may be top 10 in terms of loot amount) and refresh public memory with what is going on about those ? It is actually all about public memory.

    There is of course a dearth of able opposition, which I do not have an answer to.

    Excellent post !

  21. Honestly, I think, instead of trying to make money by running a startup, I am wondering if I should change my ‘line’ of business. Here we are , fretting over lakhs , while the smooth-talking Radias are pimping businesses worth 176K crores. Ha!

  22. This post is little disappointing. I was expecting sum good sentences which would have brought effects but no.. I didnt felt anything after reading this.. not even anger… Sorry Arnab.

  23. “Fire up your rage within 140 characters. Try make it funny and pray for re-tweets. Cause, honestly, that’s really all you can do.”

    Speak for yourself Greatbong. Don’t belittle our efforts however small and dismiss us and our tweets with derision like this. I guess you think your blog and writings is somehow more important than ours. We will tweet and raise a noise whether we are heard or not. Because the day we do not, then we are as a country is doomed . And besides some regional news channels and newspapers have begun to talk about the barkha/radia tapes. And it is due to the efforts of the Tweeters, bloggers and other Internet activity by netizens. So please get off your high “big blogger” horse and let us do what we can on our part. Thank you for interfering and judging us.

  24. That should read:

    Thank you for not interfering and judging us.

  25. worst is the fact that these are people elected by us (or not elected by those of us who do not vote!)

    Kalamadi will now be forgotten, one scam is forgotten once another big/ small one comes to the forefront…sad…

  26. A large proportion of the ‘people’ who vote, are as corrupt as the politicians they elect (and complain about).

    The scale is different, thats all.

    On a one to one comparison, BJP has better leaders than the Congress, they just arent from a dynasty and dont revolve around one.

    But people are not interested in better governance. Then UPA would never get elected.

    The media has a two pronged problem, ideological and economic corruption, and the latter helps the ruling UPA, in their PR.

  27. of course we need lord voldemort. he doesnt tolerate corruption, he is cunning and he dominates to make a way for progress. i guess congress keeps manmohan as PM coz he is soft. lord voldemort has actually fired lot of incompetent officers and thrown beaurocrates out of their offices to run the government his way. he disguises as hindutva supporter during election time to win the clever..

  28. There is only one and only one option. Even you mock him, and laugh at him, call him a gasbag.

    But to the likes of us, he is, and will remain the best ever neta to have been born in India. And I am educated enough to choose him, and not anybody else as the best ever PM India sadly perhaps never will have

    You know who he is.

  29. Dude, is should be Shekhar Suman not Sekhar Suman (Tridev Reference)

  30. time has come to call the voldemont … i appeal to all indians … bring on modi !

  31. Atleast we are bettering China in this … Our Growth rate in this is unmatched .. If Common wealth was good .. 2G showed we can do it even better.. 😛 wonder what next ???

  32. @GB
    (which I honestly think isn’t that big a deal, compared to how Sanghvi has been caught “forming his opinions”, not that I don’t find her claim that she was “sourcing information” hilarious)

    Agree. But barkha’s case is more shocking because it is first for her. Everyone know about vir sanghvi that he is a dalal. That is why Hindustan Times(mouthpiece of Congress specially Her Highness and rahul baba)made veer its part time editor and fulltime dalal.

  33. GB,
    Enough was said about Lord V, so I would not comment. But this caught my eye:
    Cause, honestly, that’s really all you can do.
    Why can not we, GB? We actually can if we want to. Few months ago, I went through much agony when the first series of allegations surfaced about Raja. I briefly considered filing a PIL myself using the documentation in V Sundaram’s now-famous well-documented article about the scam but after estimating budget I backed out. Then I browsed around few known nationalist forums passing this idea offering to co-ordinate if others are interested. Everyone was cursing Raja but everyone was equally disinterested. After trying for a week, I began to believe what I only suspected before: we get Raja and Koda and Kalmadis because that is what we deserve. We are in the business of underestimating ourselves. We are cowards not because we are made to, instead we choose to. Maybe it is the colonial hangover. Or maybe it is the sign of my cowardice to put all blames on colonialism.
    However, it took Dr. Subranyam Swamy, one of the most hated Hindutva grand daddys, …. and a septuagenarian politician … to file a PIL. The now famous audio tapes are alleged to have come from the court submission of the documentation of government investigation on Nira Radia. The young successful generation of born-again nationalists could not figure out a medium of expression other than tweeter.

    It has been this way for decades. However, it has been left to us, the nationalist variety (Hindutva or no Hindutva) to determine whether this would continue for ever.

  34. Is there a hope?
    Do you folks see a similarity in our present and past history [yup the kings fighting, while the rest where busy looting]?

    How many of you see the government as the other [not our own]? Do you think a revolution [not rebellion/bloodshed] is around corner? Would you think twice before bribing [just to get things done] and all things evil to a good democracy?

    [I guess a vote is in order 🙂 ]

  35. The slogan for the non-incestuous: chalta hai!

  36. and how i missed it!
    Would there be a change in way one chooses their representative? To Vote a some one who best represents your intrst, do you folks see that as a dream??

  37. “Spouting venom”, not “sprouting”. Other than that, spot on as always. The hilariously ineffectual flurry of tweets and Facebook updates is entirely comprehensible in light of the fact that false indignation is a fundamental part of modern middle-class Indian culture (at least, the intersection of all Indian cultures). Being in a state of perpetual “OUTRAGE!!!11” requires less from one’s character than actually working toward mitigating the causes of outrage. It’s trivially easy to pretend to give a shit for a few minutes, then rush to the TV set just in time to catch the latest tidbit from Big Boss.

  38. the tridev reference was very apt… except it was Anupam Kher who said those hilarious dialogues “Ek Aur Deshbhakht Ko…” not Sunny Deol. Nice Post.

  39. No it was Sunny Deol.

  40. Well said GB….But i hope it changes and our tweets or FB updates gets heard. Appreciated CNN IBN for a change during the 2G scandal but was disappointed when they have maintained a veil of silence on the tapes.

    I am from Kar and Voted for Yeddy to get the top chair. Trust me i want him removed but as the great indian tamasha goes i dont want him spoiling the game for BJP there as thats what ppl do. SPlit the party and then we have the Gowdas or Cong to rule. Gowdas are no clean bunch though.

    Lord M is amazing and sometimes i believe his charm works and a revolution is happening in Guj. If we had 50 more of them then each state would get cleaned up. Hoped the same from Yeddy but alas he seemed least interested in doing a clean up.

    I hope india wakes up now. Dont vote in terms of caste or creed but select someone who works for us and not himself

  41. I don’t agree with your post at all. In another era without the internet, you had to write letters and hope they are published by magazines, newspapers with a lot of circulation. Freedom fighters from the time of Bhagat Singh used to put their life in danger just to get their message across to the people by circulating their own material. I don’t think you belittle the power of writing and the power of the internet here.

  42. Regarding Modi, he is a mass murderer. There should be no place for them.

  43. I liked the responses of Deepesh and Ashish . we have to start at the micro level to take care of the macro problems.

    character building by all individuals is is tough no doubt but that is the only solution.

    our masses should be educated , then only will the personality infatuation of the masses will stop. after our careers are build we should take some time from our busy lives to spread more awareness amongst the masses. it is the job of the middle class to reform the society.

    coming to another point,sometimes i wonder whether liberalisation was such a great boon after all.No doubt liberalisation has put India at a better position on the globe. But the disparities amongst the people have increased, and I am not sure whether the “average” happiness has increased.I’m sure our parents in their childhoods were as happy as we are these days,if not happier.
    As greatbong has rightly pointed out the scam of Bofors is comparable to round-off errors of today’s it just a coincidence that corruption pre- 1991 was tiny as compared to post 1991?? This is a point well to be pondered at.

  44. There are not just a couple of tapes but 106. Outlook has put them on their website.

    listen to the one (among others) in which manoj modi (Mukesh’s right hand man) applauds Vir for using Radia’s pitch verbatim. Bravo Vir!! you really get outsourcing.

    Bharat Ratna please.

  45. Both Barkha and Vir are defending themselves against the ‘transcripts’ not the ‘tapes’. Interesting.

  46. Nira radia’s consultancy firm..

  47. @Praytush

    Modi did finish off corruption, ignorance, hate and self delusion as far as he could. Kudos to such a mass awakener.

    Thinks positive brother. No use living in a bunker of ignorance and hate.

  48. “that’s really all you can do”

    we CAN do a lot …in the age of social networking …we just needs a guy to start a wave….we can make protests. remember the PINK CHADDI campaign !!

    How abt sending a “I PROTEST” POSTCARD to Sansad Bhavan ?!!! plz consider it !!
    I am sure some media house will cover when millions of such postcards reach post offices!! It does not cost money ..but will definately spoil the mood of the scamsters.

    Or what abt boycotting businesses owned by tainted money ?! Like Businesses owned by Kalmadi’s children ?

  49. Excellent GB. Very well written. Very Practical.

    “Well they do have one. But like Lord Voldemort, his name may not be uttered.”

    Excellent cross-referencing with this line. Laughed my head off.

  50. “Well they do really have one but his name cant be uttered” …. Thats also coz the media ‘campaign’ against him by pseudo-secularists like Barkha dutt etc. true, 2002 was as bad as it could get. But in indian politics when even an year becomes a distant past, ppl still rake up 2002 and mind you, not to bring the guilty to book but for reasons they best know. I would, however, like him at the forefront..atleast once… just to see whether the state development and security model can be replicated at center. I dont see any hope in our “youth icons” like a certain Mr RG.

    As for journalists, its useless controversy. Those who thought they were saints were livin in a fool’s paradise.

  51. @Sunny .. Good ideas. Start implementing and then advertise abt it. That may just make others follow. Just suggestions dont work in the nation of FB and twitter activists.

  52. “Desire is half of Life, Indifference is half Death” – Khalil Gibran

    I used to think like you GB! I used to believe that those protesting and trying to get heard are just wasting their time.

    Do you think those protesting online do not know the reality of the media cartel and corrupt journalists? Still they chose to protest online. why?

    I did it because honestly I had nothing better to do! I would have may be watched a few youtube videos, blogged or played a few round of game on my PS.

    Will this make any difference? Yes to me it will. I felt a need to do it to keep my optimism alive and to have realized that I am not half dead!

    As must of a realist or rational you may have wanted to seem – Indifferent you are not and that’s a good start!

  53. Hi, confining myself to the expression “loot” in the context of Raja and the 2G issue, perhaps the follwing issues ought to have been examined before making the spate of allegations:
    i. the allocation of spectrum on the basis of first cum first serve baisis was pursuant to the existing Telecom policy of the time
    ii. the notional loss to the exchequer is only in hindsight and is on the premise that if the first cum first serve policy was not followed but auctioned then the state treasury would have been benefitted bythe amount of money which is what is being stated to have been looted.
    iii. if this logic is followed then various policies of the govenrment starting frm J Nehru’s times which in hindsight we feel has caused loss to the exchequer, and quite squrely the amoutn of money spent on kashmir and India’s policy regarding Kashmir at its inception

    iv. Overwhelming judicial precedents suggest that even the SC cannot interfere in policy matters

    thus this entire drama on the media and the blogging community is doing very little justice to the truth of the matter

    It is ofcourse a completely different issue as to whether Mr. Raja was a beneficiary for havoing chosen to follow the government policy but that too is a weak presumptiopn since he did follow the governemnt policy.The allegation would have been stronger in case he refuse to follow the policy and having gone his way caused loss to the exchequer.

    thus the argument here is fallacious and the expression “loot” appears to be wholly incorrect apart from giving raja a very good reason to prosecute people for such defamation

    however, he wont do so because in our country, populism by both the govenment (e.g openign the Environment tribunal in Bhopal and moving a curative on the 1993 decision in 2010, etc.) is opposed equally in tokenism and the media, both print and electronic made to chase the wild goose wasting the time of the mew Indian and beguiling him as much as he probably was.This is our country’s policy which we should fight against and not be led like a herd.

  54. HKL bhagat was once told on a TV program thay many believed he killed sikhs in the 1984 riots.With a smirk on his face that i would never forget he said if that was indeed the case how he could have won his delhi seat with a 3 lakh majority.This in essence defines how the politicians value accountability.If the bhopal gas had taken the lives of bhopal nawabs and the entire madhya pradesh Mp’s the fate of anderson would have been different.If it had killed a few in connaught place or nariman point i dont think anderson would have escaped.It is a cliche but i cannot say anything more.The indian political system had made life for the poor,middle class and the weak very miserable.But for others they can do whateever they want and get away with it

  55. I remember on reading your post:, how I felt like a pyase Haiwaan caught in the spotlight on a Rakhi Sawant Show. I belonged to the urban tribe (yes, tribe as that is what our ignorance qualifies us as) who dismissed elections and politicians as RGV would dismiss detractors. If there is anyone to be blamed for India’s mess, it would be us by no mean measure – we, who lived in a cocooned world, who opt to become NRI engineers and doctors and not lawyers,soldiers or god forbid politicians, and who have absolutely no understanding of realpolitik, except for starting mailer campaigns to Save the Tiger. (These days – even that is not attempted by the even more cynical generation of our youngsters.)

    India is the frog in the kettle. The ambient temperature is slowly roasting us alive – and we wont realize it till too late.

  56. Well they do have one. But like Lord Voldemort, his name may not be uttered…. Modi?!

  57. GB, Tired of these sad news. cheer me up; write a satire on Rakhi,BigBoss or any God Damn less serious thing :)Please Please !! Feeling gloom reading all these news which are all over the place. In addition there is this news of corruption and lobbying by Barkha Dutt and co 😦 SO Sad. Cheer us up

  58. @tenderbengali:

    I hope you are taking a contrarian position for the sake of it. Because, your argument is intellectual sounding but actually pathetic (paralleled only by the Dalit card some of Raja’s thugs are peddling).

    i. The license fee in 2001 was decided by bidding, not FCFS. An elementary lesson in economics will tell you that bidding always yields better results than any other policy when selling a scarce product. I guess Raja himself realises this, which is why he has tried to defend himself saying that his objective was telecom penetration and not revenue maximisation.

    ii. Wrong. Loss to exchequer is not notional and certainly not in hindsight. We had enough people crying foul even when the whole drama took place. unfortunately, the protests did not assume critical mass then. So the govt simply rode roughshod and pushed it through.

    iii. Irrelevant argument. This is not about notional losses in well intentioned decisions. This is about corruption – plain and simple. If there are other decisions that fall under this ambit, investigate them by all means. What is stunning is the sheer magnitude of monies involved in this particular decision.

    iv. True. As said, its not the policy. Its corruption that is under investigation

    The matter of whether Raja or his party benefited is not incidental to the debate – it is at the centre of it. After all, it is almost impossible to prove corruption directly. However, one can make a strong case using the circumstantial evidence of bad decisions, huge monies involved, and unexplained wealth accruing at that time to Raja or the DMK. This is pretty much the only way he can be nailed

    The media or blogging community doesnt have the wherewithal to conduct a full trial on the above based on evidence. Nor is it the right agency to do so. So the whole idea is:
    1. To force govt probe agencies and courts to atleast start acting
    2. To force Raja out from power on the basis of prima facie evidence so that no further damage is done and a strong message goes out to others. This is especially important given the inordinate time our courts take to reach a final verdict
    3. Even if corruption cannot be legally proved, to try and reduce election prospects of such dubious candidates and parties

  59. read on someone’s facebook message

    The onlyu thing Manmohan Singh and his party know about 2G are Sonia G and Rahul G

  60. Where is congress parties youth icon “Rahul Baba”. He used to be the news maker but seems to be on a holiday since all the scandals broke out.

  61. I’m rather intrigued by the fact (?) that corruption doesn’t bother the “real” India. I guess it is because the “real” India doesn’t have too many monetary expectations from the State whereas the middle classes understand the value of money and inevitably think about what could have been done with the lost gazillions.

    I was reading this article by Sunil Khilnani in Mint. He talks about some universal cash compensation to all Indian citizens (Mukesh Ambani and the beggars outside his home)so that all Indian citizens start having expectations from the State. And, cash would be a great leveller for awareness of rights apparently.

    I guess the issue is perhaps not the lost money (or the flyovers, schools, hospitals, and roads that could have been built). Some responses to corruption is more psychological and, I hate to say, driven by envy. The real issue, I guess, is that the real India is not bothered by corruption. Does that tell us something? I am not particularly gung ho about the idiot savantness of the the amorphous electorate, but here we have some sort of expression of preferrence. Do we need to correct this preference? Or, shall we use it to correct our collective decision-making compasses? Dunno! 🙂 But say no to Trinammool nevertheless. 🙂

  62. Finally cnn ibn has taken the topic of tapes up.

  63. What can you do Arnab? Apart from ranting about like the pseudo-intellectual aantel which we all Bengalis profess ourselves to be? Can’t you do anything more than just blogging about it?

    I think you should stick to humour. We all find it funny. And after we are done we close the blog and go back to our tweets.

  64. Loved the Bolly-rhymes in the essay. Especially the beginning piece!

  65. India is progressing…in every stride!
    In the field of agriculture, in industry, in science and technology, and mind you, in corruption too.
    If you have a couple of minutes, come read my thoughts spilled out under Vidhana Soudha as Ayyo Appa…
    Have a lovely day.

  66. Super super article by vikram sood on terrorist threat. A must read.

  67. “And so my friends it will continue, one wave of corruption followed by yet another larger wave, raising the shock threshold every time. Fire up your rage within 140 characters. Try make it funny and pray for re-tweets. Cause, honestly, that’s really all you can do.”

    I understand the outrage you feel about your hard earned INR wasted in paying tax which lands up under some ‘koda’s mattress or Telgi’s bank account but really saying that all you can do is tweet about is is utter tripe. Reminiscent of RDB and without being sucked into shooting the minister responsible, do you really believe there is nothing you can do. Also, if things are so bad and you are to utterly hyper outraged, why live in that situation and complain about it? Get outta it and be in one which you are happy with. Unless ofcourse you want to just complain about the inability of being able to do anything or just like to complain. Pick one!

  68. @Akhilesh
    Not to be a complete GB groupie, but I didn’t interpret a sense of outrage or frustration from this post of Arnab’s. He starts off a couple of paragraphs by expressing his bemusement at those who are outraged, likening it to complaining about chipped paint when the entire house is burning down. Perhaps it’s defeatism, perhaps it’s a healthy sense of perspective. But it’s certainly doubtful whether tweeting one’s dissatisfaction does anything to shape public opinion into something more than a “chalta hai” response to rampant corruption. If Arnab has given up hope, then so has the electorate at large, who keep rewarding the corrupt with renewed political power.

    What can shape public opinion, if not tweets? I don’t profess to know. Besides trying to get more people involved in watching the watchmen and improving the level of public discourse, it might just take a Tea Party-esque “grassroots” movement (read: funded by some benevolent financiers) to really effect lasting change.

  69. “cynicism is way too easy” — GB never claimed he is doing difficult things.

    “What about the entrepreneurs who are as guilty?” — If you watched “Guru” and booed at Prabhuji and rooted for Dhiru, you have no right to complain now.

    “start with focus on fixing the character—your and your own kids” — Good advice. By the time you are done with your 1–2 kids, 10 more kids will spring up with zero ethical grooming and your kids will be lost in a sea of the “other” type of kids.

    “not to treat the election day as government holiday” — most of the gang at this watering hole work straight through like any other workday, don’t pick on them.

    “after estimating budget I backed out” — Hey, no consolation prizes.

    “Will this make any difference? Yes to me it will. I felt a need to do it to keep my optimism alive and to have realized that I am not half dead!” — So it’s all about you, eh?

    “if things are so bad and you are to utterly hyper outraged, why live in that situation and complain about it? Get outta it and be in one which you are happy with.” — Exactly what the corrupt elite are telling their kids. BTW, hey, leave GB to wallow in his misery writing this blog. You don’t have to read it!

  70. Sabki nazar maal par hai mere bhai ..

  71. Well, I am surprised by the media silence on this part. I wrote two illegible and incomprehensible emails to The Hindu, The Indian Express and CNN IBN accusing them of loosing their moral standards and making a blackout in the regard.
    The email

    [This link removed due to a word used in the link]

    Of the three The Hindu came out with an article on #BarkhaGate today

    Outlook has come out with a complete set of the recordings here

    The total number of Media houses covering it

    I’d like to think that my email to the Editor of The Hindu asking him about his morality and the tradition of his 100 year old news paper rose his sleeping conscience and he decided to put the article to publish.

    I am surprised by the CNN IBN …who will do “whatever it takes” ….

    Every one who thinks has a credibility in the news industry has published the story on Barkha. For the rest its “Speak now or remain silent for ever moment”

  72. After a series of emails that I wrote to all the major publishing houses yesterday on their silence on the Barkhagate scandal ,

    ( GB removed my earlier links to my blog)

    I got a reply from Karan Thapar

    from Karan Thapar
    sender-time Sent at 2:54 PM (GMT+05:30). Current time there: 10:32 AM. ?
    to Tejaswy Appalla
    date Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 2:54 PM
    subject Re: Devils Advocate

    hide details 2:54 PM (38 minutes ago)

    The Last Word is covering this subject on friday at 10 p.m. on CNN-IBN. Do watch the episode

    I mean well Woo hoo… I am half way there

    Did I mention that the Newspaper The Hindu covered Barkha Dutt Scandal in today’s newspaper

    So let me see, The Hindu replied, CNN IBN replied . The Indian express is still waiting for it.

  73. Tejaswy,

    Your comment having so many links got caught in the comment moderation. So before accusing me of having removed links to your blog, you may want to think of alternative explanations next time.

    Thank you

  74. Actually on second thoughts, I AM removing the first link because of its use of a word I do not endorse in the link itself.

  75. Well, now we actually have an acceptable alternative as a potential national leader – Nitish Kumar. He can certainly be a viable opposition candidate for PM in the next general elections – clean, committed, and effective.

  76. @ shan

    Good. Am happy for you.

  77. @Tejaswy: Good work

  78. @Shan : Ram Guha had actually replied to this already, 2 weeks back…

    He said “Please leave Nitsh Kumar alone. Let him do his good work in Bihar. Dont make him another Ramakrishna Hegde who was egged on to go to national politics after doing very good work in Karnataka. He ended up being neither here nor there.”

  79. I am not sure how many of us have realised the complete impact of the 2G happenings.. It cannot be called a scam at all.. We need to urgently coin a new word for this.. so many people are involved in this.. Corporates, politicians, media, bueraucrats – all are in there neck deep..
    They have already appointed an ex telecom secreatry (with a charge sheet pending against him) as the central vigilance commissioner – to take care of all troubles that may arise out of the CBI enquiry… This secreatry was trying to block the CAG enquiery by repeatedly asking the law ministry whether the CAG can ask these qns or not..

    In centre, congress party’s cohorts are running amok.. In states, all parties are running amok – trying to amass as much land as possible by employing government agencies to take over.. The whole country is going 2 dogs. Thats for sure…

  80. The bloggers world wud be doing a gr8 favour to itself and to the country if it atlesst stops the fav pastime of politician bashing..

    NRN Murthy is nowhere to be seen to give his responses.. Generally he preaches crap to the entire country – he thinks hes qualified enough to preach coz hes running a 3rd world sweatshop.. When the business men are caught on the wrong foot (in pre as well as post liberalisation era) not a single “industry leader” is in sight to condemn this …

    No one is talking about cancelling the 2G licences awarded to those firms which shdnt have been allowed to apply at the first place and demolishing the entire Adarsh flat which is built on defense land and against all regulations..

    The tragedy of our country is not that we have scams – but after the scam the industry leaders wud be seen on TV saying that the perpetrators cant be punished coz tht wud send a wrong message to investors. That is the real tragedy.

  81. Now, please dont ask me what I hav done to stop this..

    I dont watch english news channels in India. I dont read “times of india” and stick to Hindu and Indian express. I dont buy/use products made by the companies belonging to the “richest” brothers of India. I dont watch the TV programs where rich and only rich scratch each others’ backs. I dont watch movies produced by yash Raj films nor do I waste electricity even when they are on TV.

    I generally speak about these things to people around me and surprisingly, find that many people share my ideas and gloom 🙂

  82. “2 big corporates trying to install a specific person as the telecom minister of this country” – Why didnt Barkha Dutt break this news in 2009 ?

    Thats the qn: she shd be answering after the Radia tapes..

  83. @Tejaswy,
    Good work.

    It cannot be called a scam at all.. We need to urgently coin a new word for this
    How does the old fashioned word “Shame” work for you? It is not a scam, it is a SHAME!!

  84. For all the Buggles fans out there, this dedication goes out to you…

    When Radia killed the media star

  85. @ Shan
    Glad to see you are thinking positive. Am happy for you.

  86. Another one:

    “India’s reputation as a place to do business took another hit after the scandal-tainted government charged top public sector bankers of accepting bribes worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”

  87. “Chori sab Kartey hai, Jo pakda gaya wohi chor hai”

    Like I said, I have nothing against Vir Sanghavi. May be everyone does it. He just got caught.

    Barkha Barkha Barkha…

    I want to share with you a special video I found on yourtube

    The secret to her PadmaSree/ padma vibhushan….I get confused.

    Did I mention that I am filing an RTI on the rules of taking back/recalling the award from the awardee.

    It won’t really help, but hey that is me.

  88. In yday’s progrma on CNN_IBN, manu Joseph nailed the pertinent question :
    “The information tht 2 of the biggest corporate houses in India have been lobbying for their man to be installed as the cabinet Minsiter for telecom was the “news of the year”. Why didnt Barkha Dutt break that news” ?

    Shes waxing eloquent about how she has grilled many ministers in her shows and how much integrity she has etc without answering this question !!!

  89. can some one tell me what Manmohan is doing with this BABA whose uses magic tricks to deceive people and is super controversial ???!!! May be it will also explain his devotion to gandhhi family??

    Sai Baba Tricks Completely Exposed

    Manmohan seeks Sathya Sai Baba`s blessings

  90. Also in another reply Karan Thaper tells me that he will be writing a piece on the Barkha Gate this sunday in his Sunday sentiments.

  91. @ tejaswy
    Your efforts deserve appreciation.
    Please make sure that you keep communication channels open with all these jornos even after this issue has been ‘addressed’.

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