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Friday, December 3, 2010

The Times Of India

07 November, 2010

Congrats, Mr Tata, but what have you done to rid India of corruption?

Tarun Vijay

In times of precipitated hate for one another among us Indians and the top court passing shocking insinuations against the Prime Minister’s office for virtually avoiding an inconvenient reply on the biggest loot of India, a Tata voice from my hometown, Dehradun, refreshed us all and gave hope.

I have read and distributed several copies of the book by Will Durant to friends about the loot that the British made. But the present regime and the political leaders of various parties shame the worst of the British looters. When a vibrant and youthful Barrack Obama interacted with our students, a Class X student of our tribal school (, Dorjey, asked: Why can't our Prime Minister talk like this?

People who are 80-plus rule India, the youngest nation on this earth with 60% of its population under 40. We had the inspiring examples of "vanaprastha" (renouncing worldly pleasures after the body weakens and sons grow mature) in Dasharatha, for those who follow Rama, but I have seen that the more you grow in age, the more grows the desire for power.

The Tatas, who produce salt and railway engines and cars and solar power stations, could have refused a paltry Rs 15 crore bribe to a poor Indian minister and still survived. But the main "aparadh", or sin, that such highly placed, successful and respected icons of India commit, is what did they do to help India get rid of the ills that have pushed us back by at least 20 years in comparison with China and other developed countries?

Merely putting up a hundred profit-making ventures and spreading wings globally is not enough. Those who did it, whether the Tatas, Mittals, Azim Premjis or Ambanis, did it with the help of the people and the human resources produced by the same system that they call corrupt. What have the glitterati and the rich done to change the face of an India that showcases fatigued bodies and a de-Indianised elite ruling us?

Whether they are the Tatas or the Gandhi-era Birlas or other magnates of our industrial empires, they have proved the words of Swami Vivekananda that the rich can do no good to the nation. It’s only the poor, the middle class and the struggling masses who bring change in society and are ready to sacrifice their lives for the good of many.

The rich and the influential have always supported the status quo. The first stone to disturb the static pond was thrown by a shepherd, a common man.

Ratan Tata may not get huge crowds of politicians to cheer him. His official press release, a kind of apology for what he said in Dehradun, is evidence to it. Political prudence requires compromises. The Tata office needed that.

But, for God’s sake, what did he do to help India get rid of corruption? A nation is not just a conglomerate of material progress and buildings and factories and GDP graph. It’s the culture and the people's soul, reflecting the age-old civilizational moors that blend everything else into a nation.

What's that? And what has the Tata empire, in spite of its refusal to bribe a minister, done to nourish that ethos?

Those who take bribes and put hurdles in the path of an honest Tata are surely destined to go to the dustbin of history. Nobody is ever going to remember them as rememberables. A rich person is remembered because he helped millions, and not because he earned a lot.

The Tatas have surely made our heads rise high by refusing to bribe a minister to get their work done. But they are citizens of a country where the common man has to give bribes to get a residential certificate or a caste certificate.

The India of the Tatats, the honest and great entrepreneurs, is reeling under unprecedented corruption cases — CWG, 2G spectrum, Adrash housing society.

But please go to your town and ask the patwari, the juniour enginner, the lekhpal, the minicipal councillor, the MLA, the MP, the most honouranle people in society, and get the figures of the bribe they take to get things done.

The tragedy that has occurred in Delhi, the collapse of a building, couldn’t have occurred without the active connivance of the enginners, policemen and politicians.

Sixty-six people died in that building collapse.

Isn’t it a case of murder of those 66 people by the authorities responsible for sanctioning further construction on a dilapidated structure?

What have the Tatas, the Bajajes or the Mittals done to help stem the rot?

What about the Indian who survives on dal-roti and a little bit of culture? The India that creates the kumbh, without government support? The Indian who sustains the threads of tolerance and amity in a jungle of hate and intolerance?

I am sorry, a great-sounding Tata or a self-assured Bajaj or Birlas have done hardly anything mentionable in that direction.

For them, investment is good only if it pays rich dividends to their companies. And not necessarily to India.

1 comment:

Rupesh said...

Hi Tarun Ji,

Which book by Will Durant you are talking about.
Can you let me know the name and maybe where can I buy it from.