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Showing posts from October, 2012

The unfortunate social costs of Coalgate and such scams

India’s scams and corruption are perennially ubiquitous – they keep recurring time and again. There is hardly a month that goes unnoticed without any major scam breaking out. It is not that there isn’t any scam elsewhere, but barring some sub-Saharan and Asian rogue states ruled by the junta, the scale and magnitude of Indian scams have outperformed every other nation by an unprecedented margin of frequency and scale. Typically, a scam exposé starts off with media frenzy and then gets lost into thin air! The typical Indian middle class’ short memories, inevitably brushes the scam off, and then the judiciary typically bails out the accused, and everything is business as usual. Even though media spotlight continues on the case for a while, the same mostly focuses on the economic aspect of it, largely ignoring the enormous social impact. Mostly, the multi-million dollar scams that prop up every now and then have huge negative externalities both at the regional and national level. Let

Is even Aroon Purie not worth defending?

I rarely watch TV as I don’t have one on my floor of our house! However, when there is some breaking news, my father calls me down to the ground floor (where he stays) to watch the same with him. So I really had no idea about the Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid, a man I like, holding a press conference last Sunday where he lost his temper at some journalists. Of course, I was aware of the allegations made against the Zakir Hussain Trust about some hanky panky with government funds meant for physically challenged people. I also knew there was something about forged signatures of top officials of the Uttar Pradesh government. My first reaction was: this must be mere politics. But I was forced to take notice when dad told me that Arvind Kejriwal, the activist turned politician, is taking this issue seriously and raising serious questions about the integrity of the Union Law Minister on TV. If nothing else, the activist turned politician at least deserves our respect for his amazing di

Six years of The Sunday Indian and six defining changes in India

These have been truly turbulent years. Between then and now, we have seen Mayawati sweep Uttar Pradesh and then lose it badly. Between then and now, India has miserably lost the Cricket World Cup and then won it handsomely. Between then and now, the Indian economy has changed from being a rampaging elephant to a caged tiger once again. Between then and now, the three Khans of Bollywood have further cemented their supremacy over the box office. Between then and now, Rahul Gandhi has been transformed from being the latest Great White Hope to a question mark and an enigma. Between then and now, the loot and plunder of natural resources through crony capitalism have gathered momentum. Between then and now, Ratan Tata has endured the disgrace of Singur to fade triumphantly into retirement. Between then and now, Mamata Didi has remained Mamata Didi... So much has happened over the last six years that it would require many multiple books to chronicle contemporary history. And my readers know