Sunday, May 6, 2012

Baron De Jomini in his treatise the art of war makes definitional criteria for strategy compared to Grand Tactics, namely that to qualify for being a part of strategy the initiative must : 1. Be about the selection of the theater of war, and the discussion of the different combinations of which it admits. 2. Inform about the determination of the decisive points in these combinations, and the most favorable direction for operations Read this alongside the fact that a credible power center of the US establishment and its Secretary of State – Mrs Hillary Clinton rides into town not ascending the steps of the Presidential Palace in Delhi but of the Writer’s building in Kolkata To woo or what to do ? That is the question when it comes to courting Ms. Mamta Bannerjee another major power center, federalist, battle hardened veteran of the Indian political scene, communist nemesis. Is colonialism always going to enter the Indian heartland via the Gangetic delta of Bengal ? How and to what extent does this officially sanctify the weakness of the center’s hold over the states ? An entry in ‘ India Ink ‘ – The Wall Street Journal Global Edition says : “During her last visit to India, Ms. Clinton had asked India to take greater responsibilities in the Asia Pacific region. She could discuss with Banerjee the importance of West Bengal in promoting India’s relations with her eastern neighbors and thus, by extension, to the region as a whole. This would include close ties with Bangladesh, for instance. She could likely discuss the critical role West Bengal has in forging relations with partners” How can an Indian state have a role in country to country deliberations? Next you know, India will have Boris’s making each mofussil town a London in its ambitions !! But Quetelet thinks better the Americans than anyone else ...the record is uninspiring....

Monday, April 30, 2012

Beware of Majoritarian excesses in search of consensus

Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable, the next best . An inexact science though it may be, it is true to arithmetic to the extent that a bigger number is more than a smaller number ! Constitutional dignitaries in India have been candidates who were being neutered from active politics. It was a dignified retirement. To be ‘kicked up’ before fading out. Toadies were the preferred species but always put together of the best tack and gear. They carried themselves with an empty feudal grandeur and they were there in the first place because someone exalted had done the anointing. Those days seem to be gone. Toadies, they still may be but increasingly disparate considerations are leading to such appointments. It is no inspiration that an opposition recommended candidate may eventually become the consensus choice. It is not democratic sobriety that election to this office won’t divide the ground between an effete government and the opposition circus like a fissure in the earth that may take two neighbours a mile apart. Quetelet asks - Why the people are not being asked if we need these exotic birds in their golden cages in the first place ? write in with your feedback to

Friday, April 8, 2011

Private Equity takes substantial stakes across Indian Media

Asset management giant DE Shaw, known as much for its hedge funds as for its play on distressed assets, has struck a deal to acquire 14.16 per cent stake in NDTV Ltd that runs news channels like NDTV India and NDTV 24X7 through secondary market transactions. This is expected to be routed through shares held by two other foreign institutional investors – Merrill Lynch and Nomura.

This comes after the earlier investment in which DE Shaw had locked horns with 'Amar Ujala' over an exit option for its investment.

Singapore PE entity Temasek has a significant stake in 'Lokmat' and Warburg Pincus (till it exited completely) has a similar stake in the 'Dainik Bhaskar' group.

The PE giant Blackstone had invested Rs 225 crore in 'Jagran Holdings' which has several publications such as Dainik Jagran, I-next and City Plus under its fold.

In terms of foreign media operators Viacom runs the entire show with TV 18 bouquet of media vehicles including CNN IBN, IBN 7 and CNBC

The flood of foreign capital and foreign interest into opinion building assets is something to note….

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Travel In Style - Corrupt Class Round Trip to Mauritius & Switzerland

In Middle school a class mate who otherwise had a reputation of being a pompous ass, asked me once “ Do you know where the capital of India happens to be ?”
“New Delhi” , I answered promptly only to be told “ No its somewhere in Switzerland ha ha ha” I was neither amused nor impressed at the time but over the years there seems to be more to it than just a haha.

Like “American Agents” , “Cultural Colonialists” and other pet obsessions of the ossified leftist intellectual elite “Swiss Bank accounts” were much spoken of but little understood

But the hate object has become a multi headed hydra and capital re-routing has trumped the unimaginative capital flight. What is more, money flies first class or chartered and it is mostly a round trip. This opacity is something which is now reaching proportions that threaten the existence and development of a free, fair and competitive private sector.

The other day, a taxi driver questioned me eagerly with reference to the massive amounts being quoted in the 2G scam. His query was simple that if a crore of Rupees is enough to stuff two large suitcases. Where is the luggage room in Lutyen’s Delhi ?

We have no understanding of how such massive amounts are salted away or re-deployed without trace .That foreign destinations with poor governance practices have become a favoured point of arrival for dirty money is not surprising but the complicity (or at least silence) of the financial policy makers in allowing its re routing has given healthier returns to the corrupt .

My argument is that all this talk of Swiss account details etc is a distraction which is being conveniently played up. This is like a bad Bollywood script hangover from the 70’s . Can you imagine a dialogue in today’s blockbuster that says “Main Bees lakh ka sona Versova beach pe laa raha hun”. Something similar here. With a booming economy like only one other place in the world, India’s corrupt want their returns at Mutual Fund rates and equally tax exempt why would they keep it in Europe where the only banking department busy is the one dealing with bounced cheques ? The money has to come back here.

The real enablers are secure tax havens and the inflow participates nakedly via current and capital account. The modus operandi is never investigated. Think Why .
Now comes the really scary part. There is a very strong possibility that re-routed ill begotten wealth is provided with a policy cushioning since there is preferential treatment in select sectors for FDI. The so called Foreign investment is legitimately alien simply because it originates abroad.

What are the mechanisms of bank transferences and how does the under / over invoicing happen ? Is there a scrutiny of remittances ? Are all CAG observations followed through into personal finances of persons involved in executive authority ?
What is our reach into not just Switzerland but also the Isle of Man, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Singapore, Russia ,Mauritius, Cyprus Dubai etc. Why is a banking system allowed insulation even though it is the major conduit of investments ? Is it not in national interest to be able to know, if needed ?

In Wall Street – Money Never Sleeps , Godon Gekko says “Money is the bitch that never sleeps. She keeps one eye open at night, watching you, and if you don’t pay close attention one day you'll wake up, and she'll be gone”

Where to ? That is the question I am asking.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hey Ram !

The White Anglo Saxon Protestant elites have always had a very purposeful but academic approach to destroying icons of the rest of humanity.

It is no longer Imperialistic propaganda, I suppose, but to destroy self respect amongst the shoppers in a ‘new market’ means only your own labels will be worthy of purchase at irrationally high prices. That is why an adoring shopper community exists in the form of a Commonwealth and a Francophone Africa.

The members of this tribe of paid reviewers, pontificators and ‘objective’ academicians have chosen to exclusively pick the most controversial parts, sans context and sine caveat.

Gandhi never claimed to be a paragon of virtues.

His life is story of two struggles – One against the British Imperialists and the other within himself against his mortal limitations. But when the slanderers play up the bits about Gandhi's sexual experiments they smartly exclude the fact that they were, in his judgment, tests of his personal vow of celibacy.

Gandhi was a naturalist who felt salt aggravates the sexual desires but their problem is that he gave the British rulers hypertension when he cut salt revenues in their diet of greed.

Say what you like about Gandhi, his report card is one of distinction. A sum greater than its parts.

Was Gandhi bi-sexual? Hmm -- well that's a new one. What I don’t get is how that is relevant to what he accomplished? One can see that to slander a major divinity of the Indian Pantheon (our deification kept aside for a moment) will serve to make Indians feel small. And to make them feel small is vastly profitable.

My argument is that there continues to be a purposeful attempt to slander, demonize or trivialize Asian and African heroes be it Gandhi, Mao, Nkrumah, Sukarno or Nasser. One was a murderer, another a garrulous drunk, one didn’t brush his teeth and yet another one was a debauch and so on.

The nub of the issue is how Gandhi managed to appeal to so many and how did he become such a central figure in the Indian independence struggle ? Well we will create scandal now if we couldn’t dare do it when the man was alive seems to be the driving motive. Hence wide publicity to the fact that he had amorous references to Vaseline in his letters to a German Jewish Bodybuilder . Of course that is decidedly a more engaging fact and a huge window to his personality. Low Trash !

Gandhi was a human being replete with flaws. In a sense he was a proud accomplishment of the Industrial revolution - A silent revolution machine which , with lesser effort , produced vast effects . The true Western Oligarchs hate him because he beat them at their own game. So when he refers to Kaffirs it is concluded that he was a racist but no one is questioning the system that kept apartheid alive till the end of this Millennium. No one ever conducted an inquiry into the prime collaborators who aided and perpetuated British loot in India.

Gandhi was a doer not an adapter. He was a perpetual learner through the course of his life. His humility, truthfulness and belief in non-violence are indisputable.
I am sure these academicians will discover that Einstein too had some deep Freudian motivations to say "Generations to come will scarcely believe that such a one as this in flesh and blood ever walked upon this earth."

Alas, the Western dons choose to only talk of the flesh

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Family sounds Familiar ?

" Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity "

Yeats could have had the present day state of affairs within the BJP in his mind when he wrote these lines. Indeed, the locus has become unidentifiable.

Quetelet says, a thousand Stalinist purges and a country full of Gulags will not solve the BJPs problem. For it is not an issue of ideological purity, cadre motivation or alignment. It is more elemental than that...

The BJP is in utter chaos because it does not have a first family. Since there is no family there is no interest in perpetuating the party and keeping it in power. In the absence of this family, there are only individuals power hungry individuals.

Perverse (and sad) though the argument may be, it is entirely true and Quetelet believes that the truth is the only substrate on which politics can lead to power.

The BJP needs to subscribe more affirmatively to the theoretical and practical reality that a political formation in a democracy has to ‘sell’ itself to the voters. Therefore positioning is as important as advertising – i.e.- Who am I (or Who are We) is not more important than Why Buy Me (Or Why vote for us in this case). A party in the electoral fray will have to modify the voter’s current frame of reference by increasing the salience of that benefit which it is best capable of presenting to her/him. Since a family grows, evolves and perpetuates itself, it can control its positioning as a political brand much better than a consortium of individuals.

The persuasiveness of an appeal to the voter finds sharper cut through with a living family. Not for nothing has the family survived as the core unit of society, business even crime !!

To twist up a famous quote from Leo Tolstoy :

Happy (parties) are all alike; every unhappy ( party ) (lacks a family) of its own.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jinnah Jugular Jaswant

Mr Jaswant Singh was an articulate ‘Vajpayee courtier’ who rose to cabinet positions in his government.

He has written books and continues to write. They are important mostly because of ‘who’ has written them rather than what has been written.

Now , at last, he seems to have qualified on both counts.

Alas, what he wrote is also important because of who he is.

Jinnah – India, Independence, Partition, cost Jaswant Singh his primary membership of the Bhartiya Janata Party.

Quetelet says, it ought to hardly matter to him or to the party , least of all to the country. It is only of interest to illustrate a case of an entire political formation reading the mood of the country so incorrectly and being stubborn in holding on to its erroneous conclusions.

This is, prima facie, a move that reflects the primacy of the most hard-line elements within the party. They are rumored to be on the ascendant since the party’s recent parliamentary election defeat.

It is one more instance of ‘political management by entropy’ so typical of the BJP nowadays. It seems to be in deep disarray, catalysed by the infighting since the May parliamentary elections when it was reduced to 116 seats, its worst performance in years.

Quetelet says that ideological purity and political necessity weigh in the balance . The BJP needs to get itself to the centre but it seems to be drifting to the right.

The BJP top brass is in the Chintan Baithak to ponder on why they have reached where they are and how to become more electable and appealing .

Will book bashing take them there ?