Diddlers on the Roof - The Honest Truth By Ajit Dayal
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Investing in India - Honest Truth by Ajit Dayal
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27 MAY 2013

A recent comment by Prime Minister Singh on whether he would throw his hat in the leadership ring for the next election generated a typical "I-really-don't-know-what-I-am-doing" comment from the Prime Minister of India.

"I am not ruling it in, and I am no ruling it out" said the otherwise silent and invisible Prime Minister.

So, there you have it.

After 9 years of mostly absentee leadership, particularly pronounced at a time when the nation is flooded with corruption allegations against many of his cabinet colleagues (and those in the various Opposition parties across the country), the honest man has spoken. He has no clue what he will do.

Obviously, he is waiting for a signal from some Martian to guide him.

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Or maybe the signal is due to come from The Address in New Delhi. But the heirs to the Nehru dynasty seem to be busy: they are trying to figure out where the beehive is. They don't see the buzz in India.

Or, better still, maybe the PM is waiting for some technical chartist to tell him when it would be good to speak and what 'stop loss" he should put on the few words that he manages to utter.

Not that silence is a bad thing.

Buddha stayed silent for many years before he figured out what life was about (mostly suffering, he said). And the Mahatma stayed silent when he had to seek the inner truths. Many of us meditate to "connect" to remind ourselves what life is about - and then we get back on the road: reminded, refreshed, and renewed.

Table 1: The list of ministers in alleged scandals during UPA-2 keeps growing...
Minister Party Alleged scandal Resigned on
Ashvani Kumar Congress Changing CBI's Coalgate report May-12
Pawan Kumar Bansal Congress Jobs for cash in Railways May-12
Dayanidhi Maran DMK Pressured telecom company Aircel to sell to Malaysian firm Maxis Jul-11
Suresh Kalmadi Secretary, Congress Parliamentary Party Commonwealth Games Nov-10
Ashok Chavan Chief Minister, Maharashtra (Congress) Adarsh Housing Nov-10
A.Raja DMK 2G Telecom Nov-10
Shashi Tharoor Congress Kochi IPL allocation franchise Apr-10
Source: Yahoo.in, India Today

A different breed

But the silence of this ruling class is amazing. It would seem that after they "connect" with whatever they are trying to connect to, they come back with renewed vigour and refreshed paws to grab and cheat.

India - and the world - has too many "diddlers": defined by the Thesaurus as "a cheat", and synonymous with "bilk, cheater, con artist, cozener, deceiver, defrauder, fraudster, grifter, scammer, shark, swindler, trickster, victimizer".

You get the picture.

People who know fully well what they are doing, but pretend they don't know.

People who know what their real reason for being in power is, but pretend it is something else.

So many ministers, bureaucrats, and businessmen involved in any activity (coal, telecom, railways, land rights, infrastructure, irrigation, food - the list is endless) have apparently been entering into mutually beneficial relationships at the cost of the tax payer.

And when a citizen grumbles or protests, the leaders show their true colours and arrogance.

Take the case of Ajit Pawar. With no water in the Ujani dam and none in the irrigation canals (by the way whatever happened to that scandal or was the white paper a cleansing mechanism?), Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ajit Pawar correctly pointed out that no one should expect him to urinate in the dam. He was reacting to news that a farmer from Solapur was on a hunger strike for 64 days and wanted water from the dam to be released to the parched fields.

His uncle, the revered Sharad Pawar, said that everyone should forget about the incident because the nephew had apologised. "His (Ajit Pawar's) speech was inappropriate and improper. Anyone who holds a seat of power must remember that with regard to issues that particularly concern the lives of people, they must be extra careful about what they say. I think his stand on the issue was wrong," the great leader proclaimed. "Once a person realises he has made a mistake and has apologised for the same, I think the issue should be laid to rest," concluded the practical uncle.

On allegations that there was a conspiracy and a special meeting to divert water from the Ujani dam to the sugar barons, daughter Supriya told Headlines Today: "Do you tell me everything that happens in your internal editorial meetings?"

And then the heir apparent to the Pawar dynasty (sorry, Ajit, you are stuck in the dry dam) dismissed any further discussions with a "you mind your own business; let us mind our own business." The sweet smiles and thick layers of indifference must be a by-product of the sugar business.

Nero born again?

Legend has it that while Rome burned for 6 days and 7 nights, Emperor Nero played the fiddle. Some suggest that he started the fire because he wanted the land cleared to build a palatial palace. Some accounts claim that Nero burned Christians in his garden as night lights.

Much as Narendra Modi and his followers continue to portray him as the next Prime Minister and the Great White Hope for India's disgruntled businesspeople, the journalists refuse to let go of that 6-letter word "Godhra". Kingshuk Nag, the author of the recently released, "The Namo Story" and writing in Outlook magazine (April 22, 2013) suggests that instructions, suggestions, hints were given to the rioters to do what they wanted for 3 days. The charred bodies of the Godhra victims were brought to Ahmedabad, when there was no need to. And the bodies of the victims were not handed over to the next of kin, as is the practice, but to BJP leaders. The idea, apparently, was to arouse anger and trouble. Well, it seemed to have worked handsomely. The deliberate burning of the train on February 27 was matched by the riots unleashed on the Muslims in Ahmedabad. An eye for an eye has made the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi pretty blind.

Now, Narendra Modi, in a speech to the FICCI women's wing, wishes to appease the women and ensure that they are worshipped. But not much has been said about the women who were mothers, daughters, wives, or sisters of those killed in the Ahmedabad riots. Those women were a minority. In addition to the typical run-of-the-mill people who have allegedly helped themselves or their friends to national and natural resources like coal, iron ore, real estate and spectrum at cheap prices, there is another breed of the powerful which get to see and review the reports written by the independent agencies like the CBI. They get to rewrite history. Left to their editing and corrections, Nero may have been the victim who was burnt by the Christians in Ancient Rome.

Pakistan has had an election: a new leadership is in place there. The new government has all the challenges that India faces - and they have to deal with the Taliban.

Chines Premier Li came, smiled, and waved - but they still have roads and military personnel on Indian soil.

The IPL games are allegedly fixed. Not sure why that was a surprise - but it is making the headlines. And one article suggests that the government is directing the BCCI to fix things. Is this a case of the pot calling the kettle black? And guess who dominates the boards of cricket bodies? The politicians from various parties!

Given where we are, given where our neighbouring countries are, and given where the world is, which direction should India head as a country?

Who will declare a vision for its people?

And who will lead the way?

The choices - and quality - of leaders across the political parties is there in front of you.

A society determines its leaders; the leaders in turn determine economic policy. And economic policies will determine the level of stock markets in the long run.

Who would you vote for - and why? It would be great to hear your views.

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Disclaimer: The Honest Truth is authored by Ajit Dayal. Ajit is a Director at Quantum Advisors Pvt. Ltd and Quantum Asset Management Company Pvt. Ltd. The views mentioned above are of the author only. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and has not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author, Equitymaster, Quantum AMC and Quantum Advisors do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. Please read the detailed Terms of Use of the web site. To write to Ajit, please click here.


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8 Responses to "Diddlers on the Roof"

Abhay Dixit

Jun 2, 2013

Forgot to mention two riots Congress was involved in.

Attacks on Brahmins in Maharashtra after Gandhi was killed by Godse.

Attack on Sikhs after Indira was killed.

Have you forgotten these? Or Hindu/Sikh lives do not matter?

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Abhay Dixit

Jun 2, 2013

Suggest read Modinama by Madhu Kishwar (Manushi org.)-- not a BJP stooge by any stretch of imagination. You will know how devilish anti Modi propoganda has been and is.

When the other side looses one eye, he/she/it will think twice before attacking to pull out the other eye. In an experiment(game played) done, it was observed that tit for tat strategy was the most successful in any situation. This strategy persuaded the opponents to stop cheating- claiming unfair advantage. I forgot the name of the book. India is not following it and hence continues to get pin pricks from China and Pakistan.

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sunder

May 28, 2013

dayalji, you are making it out as if corruptions or other misdeeds have been happening for the first time in recent times. my understanding is that they have been happening ever since human civilisation began. in fact, my understanding is that they are nothing but by products of human civilisation. btw i want to make it clear that i do not belong to congress or bjp or for that matter any political party. i am just another small little particle in this cosmos like you, mmsji, namoji etc etc

Like (1)

SIVARAMAKRISHNAN

May 28, 2013

My vote is for the author of this article, provided he is ready to rule the country and its people as honest and truthful as Lord Rama and with his mercy I am ready to take up any portfolio that he wishes to be a honest and truthful minister in his cabinet.

Am I right and Is it agreeable to you Mr Ajit? If so, let us take to the streets of Delhi tomorrow itself. I am ready, Are you ready? Let us play the game of Kaun Banega Crorepati.

Like (1)

Venkat Rao

May 28, 2013

You piece sounded sane till you fell into the trap of comparing Modi to the Kangress.....Why must there be a need to do so, as if that is the ONLY basis for proclaiming one in unbiased. Actually, it shows a weakness - inablity to take a stand.

Like (2)

Hardik Patwa

May 28, 2013

I have been regularly reading your articles and they all are criticize what is presently wrong with the system. And I agree 100% with it.
I had just two chances to vote in a Lok Sabha Elections and both the time voted for Congress. Well, this was largely influenced by the congress party's so called rich history of nehru and gandhi and etc etc.
The very reason why I feel congress keeps winning elections is because of people like me who are in the age group of 23-28 years and voting for the first time.
We keep reading about the congress party from our history books and somewhere down the line it creates an implied impression of voting for congress. this hubris will stay with us unless there is a strong propaganda against this party and a good alternative is established.

Like (2)

jasmine

May 28, 2013

dear sir,

for you shri Narendra Modi is murderer. shame... if you want to know shri narendra modi you must meet him. without knowing you should not comment at all. you think that media story is correct. judge yourself, think independently, do research, you all are so called intelligent people are harming the country and it's great spiritual culture.
shri Narendra Modi is saint. be spiritual then you will understand him. money is not important , mind is important. you so called intelligent people are selfish and egoistic. full of ego. to know shri narendra modi is not easy. he is vivekananda. you people are afraid of indian culture and spirituality. you love western culture of wealth, wine and woman.. not work, worship and wisdom. and that is indian culture . please do not write about narendra modi without proper research.
go to gujarat , meet him , experience him and then write about him.

Like (1)

Rajendhiran S R

May 27, 2013

Hai Equity Master,
Large sections of our society understands that predominanely the Indian Politics/Party have corrupt persons; what to do? Is there any options other than Voting a lesser corrupt party? If we are not voting you can't claim yourself as Citizen of India.
Hope one day we will be ruled by Honest and edicated Parties and Politicians.SRRaj.

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