15/12/06

do free markets mean free individuals?

does it mean that there won't be any gujarati/marwari cartels in the bombay stock exchange? does it mean that a dailt entrepreneur, say, would have as much access to all information as upper caste businessmen? does it mean that people from the lower castes in india would miraculously be able to shrug off the burden of disprivileges that they've long had to contend with and upper caste rivals, in turn, would somehow, more miraculously, kick away their privilege-powered special racing shoes ...and both would compete on equal terms?

would the markets play the fair arbiter and ensure that the laws of 'nature' cease to play a decisive role in the distribution of outcomes? would the inexorable logic of the markets bring in efficiencies that'd guarantee the lower castes improved access to resources? in plain words, would the markets render caste irrelevant? in practical terms, would there be no two-glasses system in the teashops of the free markets?

these questions do not seem to engage those who support free markets (perhaps, they're not the right questions). to be fair, they weren't of great interest to those who supported the socialism project when the country started out, either. i support freedom..because i've seen that the aforementioned project was the smartest ruse ever designed to protect, and promote further, the most protected class of homo sapiens in the world - upper caste hindus. what crumbs were thrown at the lower castes, by way of 'reserved' resources/ jobs/entitlements/whatever...a freer, less state-directed economy would have delivered more. because, whatever the aims of the socialism project, in practice it had protected the business and middle classes of the country from outside competition, while at the same time directing most of the resources of the country towards building a mammoth ..mock-modern economy that had no use for 'pre-modern' lower castes. my view is that if the economy had followed a less 'commanded' and more natural path, meaning less government intervention (or intercession on behalf of the upper castes)...the lower castes would have found a steadier foothold than the one they teeter on now.

as i said, i support freedom..but its proponents make me suspicious. it has a different meaning for the lower castes of the country. but i don't think the free marketers have any time to spare for their concerns. in fact, the 'inefficiencies' engendered by periodic bursts of pandering to so-called identity politics seems to make the need for liberation more pressing for them. why? perhaps the indian state, as originally crafted, has become useless for those who profited the most from it. perhaps, the lower castes too have grasped the concept of rent-seeking and seem to expect that it should work for them too ...isn't that idea preposterous? the question of caste didn't fit in the socialist scheme of things, either. there are, among the intellectual class of india, several liberals who'd explain in a language, uniquely their own, how disastrous the markets have been for chile, mexico, peru, chile..mexico but would never bother to tell you why socialism has been so very disastrous for the lower castes of india. look at this recent article by ramachandra guha - he criticizes those indian intellectuals who oppose markets, almost unthinkingly. he is not an extreme free marketer..he thinks the state can play a useful role in the delivery of public goods like health and education (and these public goods are important for the lower castes). but look closely - he is the only active, maybe popular is the more appropriate word, intellectual i've read until now who mentions the word caste in this ongoing debate. but he doesn't get support from either side. strictly speaking, he isn't a participant in this debate - to be regarded as one, it seems, one needs to unequivocally oppose or support the idea of free markets.

so what does it all mean- this debate? ask sainath or swaminathan iyer..or karat or narayan murthy..or.. whoever. it's their game - of those who had participated in the socialism debate earlier ..and talked around the lower castes.

27/11/06

they agree with me in mexico..and at the nyt..and the world bank

'In 1995, the Mexican peso crashed and the economy contracted by 6 percent. At the time, Santiago Levy, the deputy finance minister, realized that the country’s antipoverty programs were going to fail its poor. The programs were a hodgepodge of food subsidies, adopted in response to powerful food producers. They were inefficient because they targeted foods everyone ate, rich and poor. Some even targeted foods the poor don’t eat, such as bread – poor Mexicans eat tortillas.
Mr. Levy saw a looming disaster – but also an opportunity to build political support for an antipoverty program that worked. Stealthily, he organized a pilot project to test a new idea in Campeche, far away from the capital so it would draw little notice. He began a program to pay poor mothers to keep their children in school and take their kids to the health clinic. He compared the results to poverty figures in a group of similar villages without the program. It was a great success. Data in hand, he persuaded President Ernesto Zedillo to phase in the new program and phase out the food subsidies.
Oportunidades, formerly called Progresa, is now embraced by all parties in Mexico and, with financing from the World Bank, is helping virtually every poor family. It not only focuses antipoverty spending on those who really need it, it does so in a way that encourages families to break the cycle of poverty for their children.' (from this blog).

looks familiar? doesn't it look similar to what i had suggested a few months ago in this post ?

'why do they pay so little attention to the non-voting children in mahbubnagar as compared with the voters in mumbai? a simple dole of ,say, rupees five hundred a month (which is what, almost, the current bill assures) to rural parents who send their children to school would not only cost much less than what the current project would but also a. stop the migration and b. protect the rights of the children.would you call that charity? most of the subsidies and other giveaways intended for the poor are today cornered by the more privileged classes. why shouldn't the poor have their share? but that would not be elaborate enough for the wise men.'

that was actually a part of a long comment i had originally made here on a dilip d'souza article on the employment guarantee act (which i had reposted on this blog as an independent post). this idea had taken a hazy kind of shape in my mind around two years ago when i had started looking at poverty alleviation programmes in india a little closely. i had nursed serious doubts about their efficacy for more than a decade but..ordinary, well-meaning citizens in india don't usually question these programmes hard enough...and they usually let their hearts rule over their heads in these matters. but the nrega was a kind of last straw for me..because i knew, whatever the intentions behind it, it was going to miserably fail. but that wasn't why i primarily objected to it, there were other reasons...and chief among them was that it was a shortsighted program - it didn't address the problem of future poverty, because it ignores the causes of present poverty. worse - it takes money away from programs which would actually help the most in fighting future poverty - schools. funds for the nrega would mean that the much needed increase in the woefully inadequate funding schooling, and education in general in india receives..can be ruled out for a long time.the upa govt had promised to increase budgets for education upto 6% of gdp, as first prescribed by the kothari commission way back in the sixties. now, how can that happen? the twin objectives of my idea were to address both the problems of a.illiteracy b. poverty, in that order, because poverty can't be solved without solving the problem of illiteracy, in my view.

the idea, in a nutshell, was that the govt pays rural parents a certain allowance/dole/sum every month to encourage them to send their children to school. the design of the plan was simple: direct transfer of funds every month from delhi to every villager's doorstep. please read the post and the comments to get a better idea. my contention is that the idea has better chances of fighting leakage and corruption that plague most such schemes in india (because it is based on direct transfer of money from delhi to the beneficiaries...and does not, as annie of known turf and otherindia presumes in the comments, involve any other agency in this transaction).

now, i am pleasantly surprised to find that there are other people in the world, much more important people, endorsing a program that so closely resembles an idea that i'd thought up! the mexico program is now being touted as one of the most successful anti-poverty programs, alongside eight other great endeavours such as universal vaccination, de soto's ownership titles for the poor idea and microcredit etc., Read more about those eight programs on the Poverty & Growth Blog of the World Bank Institute here.

24/11/06

test tube village

the new indian village, created after independence, had no place for anyone except the farmer. nothing for the artisans, for the workers, for the outcastes, for the wandering tradesmen, performers...for anyone except the farmer. what palagummi sainath and others like him mourn now is the death of this re-created village, this refashioned universe...this new ayodhya.

in this new indian village, the farmer became the focus of all policy : he was anointed the carpenter's patron, the blacksmith's, the farm worker's and the touring theatrical troupe's. even in a village that was earlier more known for the skills of its weavers, or silver filigree workers, or brass workers or bone-setters or pickle-makers. he was appointed as the 'backbone' of the village..and of the country itself. i will cut short my view about this process of re-creating the indian village here, now that i've introduced the idea (to continue at a later stage, in follow-up posts)...i'll let it fester for a while, untended.

so, then along came reforms in 1991 (some might argue they started much earlier, but it's the policies since 1991 that are much disputed). and the furor over suicides..and the concerted campaign by some to paint liberalisation as the cause. i will attempt to explore, in instalments, whether reforms were really the only cause of distress..or were there other villains. in this post, i'd like to refer to a study conducted on the impact of liberalisation on the lives of small and marginal (with specific reference to the 'resource-poor' among them, as defined by the researcher) farmers in telangana, especially those who migrated from jowar, maize and other cereals to the cultivation of cotton in the nineties.

let me quote a few sections from this abstract from the study that i found interesting -

'from the time india became an independent nation in 1947 its policy regime has been characterized by extensive controls on production, pricing, trade and a managed overvalued exchange rate. In the specific case of agriculture the main thrust of policy since the mid-1960s had been on achieving food self-sufficiency. domestic policy instruments used to attain this goal included input subsidies on fertilizers, power and irrigation, minimum support prices for major crops (such as wheat and rice), and quantitative restrictions on agricultural exports and imports.while the industrial sector was heavily protected under the import substitution regime, agricultural production was in the aggregate actually dis-protected (taxed) by as much as 20 per cent from the 1970s to the mid-1990s.. this is because although expenditures on price supports and input subsidies were large, these were more than offset by the relatively low domestic farm-gate prices that were sustained behind the border measures.'
in other words, the indian farmer didn't actually need the subsidies and the support prices..if only the quantitative restrictions had been lifted... if there hadn't been any 'border' restrictions (as the researcher calls them), and the subsidies and price support had been withdrawn.. it's even possible that the indian farmers would not just have been not harmed at all, in the aggregate (to borrow a phrase from the researcher)..but actually have improved his position (as compared with his position after twenty years of subsidies and price support)..and if competition had been allowed in pesticides/fertilizers and other input supplying industries there is every possibility that farmers would have incurred less costs, gradually. maybe. these are my own conclusions.

so why didn't the indian farmer benefit from the gradual lifting of trade restrictions through the nineties and later? let us return to the researcher-

'in 1991, faced with a balance of payments crisis, india embarked on an economic reform programme in line with structural adjustment and stabilization policies initiated by the imf and the world bank. the reforms focussed largely on trade liberalization, encouraging foreign direct investment, reforming capital markets, and deregulating domestic business. [...] it is important to bear in mind that domestic and border policies directly affecting agriculture were not included in these early reform efforts. [...] in 1994, import restrictions on oilseeds, sugar and cotton were liberalized but most agricultural products remained subject to import controls. as the reforms progressed and the foreign exchange situation became more comfortable, quantitative import restrictions on a whole range of agricultural commodities were phased out starting in 2001.'

it's pertinent here to remind myself and those suckered into reading this.. that india's journey towards globalisation (or unrestricted trade), though it was formally flagged off in 1994, did not actually start until 2001. but trade in cotton was de-controlled to an extent in 1994, and this research study was primarily conducted on cotton famers in telangana...to get back to the original question: why didn't indian farmers, like the cotton growers of telangana, benefit from the lifting of trade restrictions?

'it is interesting to note that while the government pushed heavily for border policies, input subsidies on fertilizer, power and irrigation remained largely unaffected by the reforms. minimum support policy for major crops (such as wheat and rice) also remained virtually untouched because of the fear of political retaliation.'

the input subsidies remained untouched, the minimum support policy wasn't abandoned and trade controls were not relaxed until 2001 - so what drove the farmers to suicide? and what was liberalized?

18/11/06

milton friedman and the nrega

'While traveling in India, Milton Friedman came upon a large crew of ditch-diggers. When he asked why they were all using shovels to dig the ditch instead of getting a backhoe, the foreman replied that it was part of a government project to create jobs. “I see,” said Friedman, “I was confused because I thought you were trying to dig a ditch. If what you’re really trying to do is create jobs, you should all use spoons!”'

i found that here.

10/11/06

s.varadarajan on the sachar report

s.varadarajan writing in the hindu, says :

'WHEN THE Justice Rajinder Sachar committee submits its report on the socio-economic status of Muslims, the full extent of the community's exclusion will be obvious to all. Especially those who have made political careers out of the canard that Muslims in India enjoy special privileges and have been "appeased."
Based on the data leaked so far, it is evident there are entry barriers Muslims — who account for 17 per cent of India's population — are unable to cross in virtually all walks of life. From the administration and the police to the judiciary and the private sector, the invisible hands of prejudice, economic and educational inequality seem to have frozen the `quota' for Muslims at three to five per cent. Thanks to a hysterical campaign run by the Bharatiya Janata Party and some media houses, the Sachar committee was denied data on the presence of Muslims in the armed forces. But even there it is apparent that the three per cent formula applies.'

i haven't been a regular reader of varadarajan's writing but this article made me dig into the archives of his blog . i found very little material there - just a few articles and nothing directly related to poitive discrimination programmes.could anyone help me in this regard?
i wish some muslim journalists too come out with their own views on the issue soon.

17/10/06

education can wait

universal education, for many, is a chicken-and-egg question.the parents are poor, so the children need to work. the children, being children, can't earn much..so they grow up to be poor. and illiterate. and they have children who can't go to school because their parents are poor. so which comes first - poverty or illiteracy?

if you did a little survey of how indians, or more accurately those indians who have spared any thought on the subject, perceive the issue, you'd find that there are two, broadly, schools of thinking..

one, those who think poverty is the key element in the issue.

two, those who think poverty & regulation are the key elements.

the resounding message from both schools is : education can wait. meanwhile, around sixty million kids in india are not in school. and there'd be many more by the time india becomes a 'superpower'. or a scandinavian 'welfare' paradise. and i'm quite sure we'd be discussing farmers' suicides in 2016, 2026...2106.

13/10/06

washington still doesn't get it...

if democracy means the state listens to the people, then what would you call a state that listens to only some people?

here, an argument that any effort to 'install' democracy is ...well, a dumb (and deaf) idea -

'but the language we choose for "democratic" representation in the country is the same for chalabi or allawi or any of those people. miraculously their leaders speak fluent english, as in vietnam.

in vietnam, the top people spoke english, but the middle people, in general, spoke french. and that gave me a very big advantage because i spoke french. i could speak to the district people, the province chiefs, and a lot of the army commanders, in french. of course i didn't speak vietnamese like my colleagues. none of u.s. really noticed what the implications of that were. the people we were dealing with were, to a man -- and they were all men -- collaborators with the french regime. they were so perceived and recognized by the vietnamese.

it didn't occur to u.s. that someone who spoke english qualified himself for political, electoral leadership in vietnam. the vietnamese, left to themselves, wouldn't have made that a requirement, probably any more than they would have made it a requirement that the leader, like diem, be christian. and in iraq, again, speaking english wouldn't be the natural requirement for a leader there.'

29/09/06

if one wants that bird

you know,
there was a king in mongolia,
who once invaded some
distant kingdom, where
he heard a new bird singing,
and wanted the song for himself.
for the sake of the song , he wished to capture
the bird , with the bird its nest,
the branches that held the nest,
the trunk of the tree, the tree itself ,
the roots, the earth that held the roots,
the village,
the water,
the surrounding land,
the country,
the entire kingdom......

wanting to take them all
he gathered together all the remaining
elephants, horses, chariots
and soldiers,
conquered the entire kingdom,
annexed it to his empire

and never returned home.

- a.k.ramanujan,
translated from kannada by s.k.desai.

here, my own amateurish effort to describe unreason in rhyme. or whatever.

23/09/06

out of africa

'i don't want money, and i don't want hand-outs.' browsing, those lines caught my attention. the man who was saying that was the president of senegal. a very level-headed man, you'd agree, after you read this interview.

'i believe in a liberal economy and have never put much faith in the state-run economy, because it fails. i support the state, but not the state-run economy. the state should intervene only to create the conditions necessary for the private sector to thrive. i am counting on the private sector, because it is crucial to senegal's future.' i agree with that..to a great extent. indian politicians can learn a thing or two from this president.

probing more, you learn that senegal is a functioning democracy, with a vibrant, multi-party political culture. its economy is growing at more than 5% per annum for the last ten years. and no coups in the last forty five years. pakistan can learn a thing or two from senegal.

21/09/06

a horror story

"the basic feature that dominated the socio-economic life of the people of hyderabad and especially in telangana was the unbridled feudal exploitation that persisted till the beginning of the telangana armed peasant struggle.
out of the 53 million acres in the whole of hyderabad state, about 30 million, that is about 60 per cent, were under the governmental revenue system (the diwani or khalsa area); about 15 million acres, that is, about 30 per cent, were under the jagirdari system; about 10 per cent constituted the nizam's direct estate (the sarf khas system)...
the income -or loot- from the sarf khas area, amounting to rs.20 million annually, was used entirely to meet the expenditure of the nizam's private estate. he was not bound to spend any amount for economic and social benefits of and for the development of the people's livelihood in that area. whatever was spent, was from the other general revenues of the state. in addition, the nizam was given rs.7 million per year from the state treasury. "

perhaps things were okay in the jagirdari area ?

" in the jagir areas, constituting 30 per cent of the state, paigas, samsthanams, jagirdars, ijardars, banjardars, maktedars, inamdars or agraharams, were the the various kinds of feudal oppressors. some of them used to impose and collect taxes through their own revenue officers. some of them paid a small portion to the state, while others were not required to pay anything at all. in these areas, various kinds of illegal exactions and forced labour were common. in the jagir areas, the land taxes on irrigation were ten times more than those collected in the diwani areas, amounting to rs.150 per acre, or 20-30 mounds of paddy per acre.
...the extent of exploitation by these jagirdars, paigas and samsthanams can be judged from the fact that 110 of them collected rs.100 million every year in various taxes or exactions from the peasantry. out of this amount, rs.55 million was appropriated by 19 of them. (it must be noted, by way of contrast, that the whole income of the hyderabad state before 1940 was no more than rs.80 million)."

at least the diwani areas had to be better..

"...apart from these were the deshmukhs and deshpandes who were earlier tax collectors for the government, but who were, after direct collection by the state apparatus was introduced, granted vatans or mash (annuities), based on a percentage of past collections, in perpetuity. these deshmukhs and deshpandes, as collectors of taxes, grabbed thousands of acres of the most fertile lands and made it their own property, reducing the peasants cultivating these lands to tenants-at-will.
these feudal oppressors had acquired these lands by innumerable foul means from the people. the major portion of the lands cultivated by the peasants came to be occupied by the landlords during the first survey settlement. using the power in their hands, they got lands registered in their names without the knowledge of the peasants cultivating them; the peasants came to know of this later, when it was too late to do anything. even lands which were left in the possession of the peasants in the survey settlement were occupied by the landlords in the years of the economic crisis of 1920-222 and 1930-33. owing to bad harvests or unfair prices for the crops, the peasants were unable to pay the taxes; the landlords tortured the peasants, unable to pay the taxes, and took possession of their lands. in many instances, the acquisition took place without the knowledge of the peasants. lending agricultural products like grain, chillies, etc., to the peasants at usurious rates, the feudal oppressors later confiscated the peasants' lands under the pretext of non-repayment of the loans.
the scale of the acquisition of lands can be judged from the fact that the jannareddy pratap reddy family had one and a half lakh acres of land, and had laid a mango grove on a plot of 750 acres.
....in short land concentration in the hyderabad state and the telangana region was tremendous. the adminstrative report of 1950-51 showed that in the three districts of nalgonda, mahbubnagar and warangal, the number of pattadars or landlords owning more than 500 acres each were about 550. they owned about 60 or 70 per cent of the total cultivable land."

what makes kcr so very nostalgic and misty-eyed about the glory of telangana of the nizam era? why does he keep talking, so very fondly, about 'our nawabs' ? one reason could be..that he was born in a house whose grounds itself covered six acres.

in a way, i should thank srt and cosmic voices for this post.

17/09/06

a problem with authority

because it is the anniversary of the day osman pasha signed his last firman :

mournful koel

the rains let loose the streams, rivers this year
you know there were no seasons, the last ten years
listening to the koel's welcome, as i stepped into jail
i wondered, has the spring arrived so early?

walls from the nizam's time, barbed wire, electrified to kill
the sentry ramparts, walls within walls, gates within gates
locks locked unlocked, between the guards
the captured greenery
the pigeons that can't fly
the sky imprisoned in the yard
the faint call to namaaz in the absent noon
the moist-eyed ground giving the wind a chill
it's here the seasons had been held since long
the mango sprout neem blossom taste the same
the jail koel sings all the time
like belle lalita
a chained song
in my honour perhaps
or because my mate kanakachari isn't here.

vara vara rao wote that on 25.08.05 in chanchalguda prison, hyderabad.

the poet wasn't thinking about punctuation when he wrote that.. so it's to be read as it drones - like life in a prison, i suppose. also, i don't know who/what 'belle lalita' is/are. i tried to capture, that word again, the sense of the poem. i know others can do it better. so i'm inviting them to do so (especially the poems that follow) - especially gadde anandaswarup. i mean to update this post in the near future - this is a work-in-progress in a way. but in this poem i like the use of the word - 'ruthuvulu' (seasons). it could be understood as seasons, plain and simple, or as the peasant's season 'kaalam' which is the monsoon. when he says there haven't be seasons for the last ten years - he means the incessant drought during the naidu rule..or the repression, as he perceives it, let loose during the period..or he means simply a long period. or that he hasn't been in prison for a long time. or just time.

it's the peasant's

the peasant who, staked life felling
fierce jungles, creating
fertile lands, grinding bones
to ash tilling, filling
the nawab's coffers with gold,
it's his, telangana is his; will
the old fox get it?

o nizam demon! there
hasn't been one like you;
you plucked the strings and dipped them in fire
my telangana, a crore gem-studded veena.

this is where the purists can begin whetting their knives - this poem, of course, defines the telangana freedom struggle, or the telangana peasants' struggle.. and has been a war song, especially the last line since it was written (but published later in 1949). in nizamabad prison by dasarathi. but i wish they'd wait..until they read this :

i can't endure this beating anymore ramappa, save me

i said i'd do good, what do i have to fear
i gathered varaha moharis for your servants

i gave not a pie to others, i submit at your feet
they whipped me govinda, i can't endure this

i trusted in you, govinda, can't endure this
where's the courage that bound the ocean, demon slayer, save me

rama bhadradrisitarama rama, didn't i chant your name, always.
what have you done to ramadasu ?

that's a kirtan written/composed by kancherla gopanna, or ramadasu, in prison inside the golconda fort some..day in the seventeenth century. here's the original, ( if the pundits haven't guessed that by now). what's the point in translating a kirtan that's more music and mood than a poem? only to complete this short compilation of prison lore.

yes, they must be bad translations..but i was only trying to make sense of those times..identify..what's common among those experiences and the times.

14/09/06

sucking the world dry

'the company admits that without water it would have no business at all. coca-cola’s operations rely on access to vast supplies of water, as it takes almost three litres of water to make one litre of coca-cola. in order to satisfy this need, coca-cola is increasingly taking over control of aquifers in communities around the world. these vast subterranean chambers hold water resources collected over many hundreds of years. as such they represent the heritage of entire communities.'

no, i haven't joined the greens..yet. but i think this is a lousy trade-off. i agree we indians are a hardy race who can nonchalantly imbibe 'levels of pesticides around 30 times higher than european union standards' and burp any health concerns away..but three litres of water for one litre of coke?

12/09/06

bovine spongiform logic

'yes. i think americans are safer today than they were five years ago. i also think it’s a more dangerous world than it was five years ago. both things are true. the conventional statement we made in the report is that we are safer but not safe. we still have a lot to do to make ourselves safer.' said lee hamilton, vice-chairman, 9/11 commission.

does that make any sense to you? around three decades ago, philip roth wrote about the unspeakable things nixon was doing to language..political language in particular. the bush adminstration seems to be engaged in doing unthinkable things to logic. now consider this :

"some people, both in this nation and abroad, have questions about that strategy, make no mistake: president bush is acting to protect the american people against further attacks, even when that means moving aggressively against would-be attackers."said dick cheney, talking about the invasion of iraq. see what i mean? in roth's book 'our gang', the nixon character supports what he calls the rights of the 'unborn', or as cheney would say, 'would-be babies'.

perhaps there is some logic in there that we don't see.. especially those of us who aren't american. perhaps the 'americans are safer today'. but the world has become a more dangerous place. not because of 9/11..but because of what happened after that.

11/09/06

less than 10% pro-poor

please read my new post on the performance/implementation of the employment guarantee scheme at shivam vij's blog, national highway.

29/08/06

this is funny

'last night, it was so cold, the flashers in new york were only describing themselves' - johnny carson.

link, thanks to srt.

you may have heard this one:

'Jesus and Saint Peter are golfing. St. Peter steps up to the tee on a par three and hits one long and straight. It reaches the green. Jesus is up next. He slices it. It heads over the fence into traffic on an adjacent street. Bounces off a truck, onto the roof of a nearby shack and into the rain gutter, down the drain spout and onto a lilly pad at the edge of a lake. A frog jumps up and snatches the ball in his mouth. An eagle swoops down, grabs the frog. As the eagle flies over the green, the frog croaks and drops the ball. It’s in the hole. Saint Peter looks at Jesus, exasperated. "Are you gonna play golf?" he asks "Or are you just gonna fuck around?" '

23/08/06

better engineers than snake charmers?

an online poll conducted by newsweek (international edition) has thrown up some interesting results (until now)..33% of readers, asked 'which country will have the best engineers in ten years?', voted for india ! other countries on the list, ranking second, third and so on.. were - china, u.s.a., germany..

what's happening? has india finally managed to lose its no.1 position as the nation with the best snake charmers?

20/08/06

rebel

'While what you desire is
propitious to one and all
What do I care whoever is
The god you swear by?'

- kaloji, who never belonged to any group, but would join every passing crowd that asked questions..sad, the website dedicated to him doesn't record the fact that he passed away a few years ago.

16/08/06

meet the birthday boy

'you can meet him at any of his offices all over the country. he is the the man with the unctuous smile and the outstretched hand. if he's not in, you might run into him at any street corner, dressed in a uniform, waving a lathi or a gun or, once again, an outstretched hand. or if you're lucky he might call on you at your home or your workplace. that'd be the hectoring stranger with a lathi or a gun or an outstretched hand. he might be waving a bill, a notice, a warrant, an order or none of the aforementioned.

you should start worrying when it's none of the aforementioned.'

i'd written that a year ago. have things changed? or is he, the indian state, still like this :

'you'd be well advised to meet him on his own ground. say, on the piece of his land that you've occupied. he is a tough negotiator: if you don't like any of his rules, break them in his full view so that he'd respect you more. he doesn't like dishonesty and crookedness. if you plan to steal from him, tell him beforehand so that he'd know when to look the other way. he is obsessed with quality. if you build a bridge for him, and it's washed away, say, after five years, he'd expect you to build another of the same quality. he likes risktakers- if you succeed in duping him to the tune of a major fortune, he'd provide you with top class security at his own cost. the courts are his favorite playground. he'd like all his vendors to play a game or two of 'dispute' with him every once in a while.'

11/08/06

al qaeda

what's al qaeda?

you know you're a part of it when america tells you, you are.

so what do i do when i am a part of al qaeda?

you blow yourself up. and some others along with you.

so how would you know i blew myself up ..and it wasn't someone else who blew me and others up?

because america knows others aren't part of al qaeda.

so okay.. i'm a part of al qaeda..so how would you know i blew myself and some others up ?

because al qaeda blows others up.

saddam hussain didn't blow himself up..?

he hid in a hole.

so?

al qaeda hides in holes and caves.

i've never hidden in a hole..and have never been near a cave.

you're a sleeper - you hide among people.

and do what?

do what everyone else does.. until it's time to blow yourself up.

how would i know when ..to blow myself up?

america would issue a travel advisory on that - telling its people not to go anywhere near you because you're going to blow yourself up.

how would america know when to issue a travel advisory?

it has allies who know when you're going to blow yourself up.

how do the allies know when i am going to blow myself up?

because they know when america should issue a travel advisory.

and what if i refuse to blow myself up?

the allies would be angry because they wouldn't be able to tell america when you're going to blow yourself up.

so?

they're going to hold you under house arrest until you agree to blow yourself up.

and what if i still refuse ?

america would be very angry because it wouldn't want its citizens to think it's so weak it can't issue even travel advisories..

and ?

the american president will warn you - you're with us or against us.

04/08/06

on the brittle backs of children..

what'd happen if children really stopped working in indian homes? india would finally reach adulthood.

22/07/06

separate telangana...from a safe distance

this post might not directly speak to non-telanganis and non-telugus..many would not be aware of the background, and the issues involved. but recent events in vidarbha - the suicides and the pm's visit and the despair of the people..and the machinations of politicians trying to reap something out of this unfolding tragedy took me back to a letter i'd written to mr.sudhir kodati, an official with the telangana development forum, an overseas organisation working towards the goal of a 'separate' telangana {please note: they're interested in a new telangana state, to be carved out of andhra pradesh..and not a separate nation}. i have a sizeable number of acquaintances among the 'separate telangana' crowd..some working at the political level, and some working outside india. i did not know mr.kodati ( but i knew people who knew him)..so i wrote to him around a year ago, when i read the appeal.., they'd presented to the pm, on his visit to new york in september, 2004. my letter, was actually written several months after the actual event..but the reality of nris in the u.s., directly involving themselves in ..politics in india, and its implications hit me only when i read the appeal..so i felt charged enough to pull up someone immediately..and hence this letter. i wrote it in an ...emotionally driven hour or two..and i'm posting it here for whatever it's worth. i don't regard it as a private communication, because it doesn't deal with any private/personal issues..it is a letter addressed to an organisation of nris (telanganis, so nrts) working for public causes, so i've no qualms in making it public. my views, as you will see, differ radically from the 'separatists',.. so, here is the full text of the letter..to which, may i add, i also received a reply:


"mr.sudhir,

'as a resident telangani, i thank you for your concern for our development. speaking for myself, i wish to respectfully decline your patronage and support. i fully agree with youthat there has been neglect and you have made an effective job of identifying the guilty. i wish to draw your attention to those who haven't been identified in your chargesheet: people without whose tacit approval, the said neglect would have been impossible. the central government and other institutions overseeing the delivery of justice in this countrycan and should rightly be accused of failing in their duties. as they have even failed intheir primary duty of ensuring the implementation of constitutional guarantees, their guilt is more deplorable. therefore, i respectfully urge you to raise the banner of a separate telangani nation as the indian state has gone back on the promises made when hyderabad state was forcefully annexed. the rationale you have laid out for the separation of telangana should, i believe, be carried to its logical conclusion. telangana, as you pointed out, has acharacter and a history of its own and it has very little in common with the rest of andhra pradesh, leave alone the rest of india. i implore you to give this issue your due consideration. and when you raise the banner of telangani nationhood, rest assured, i will be there behind you marching on the streets of storrs, connecticut or providence, rhode island. until then, you must forgive my delinquency.'

that was my letter, reproduced verbatim here, to your associate mr.madhu k.reddy, sent two weeks ago. mr.reddy, in his u.s. acquired wisdom, has chosen not to acknowledge my missive(i shudder to think about how attentive your cronies here in telangana would be when, or if, they come to power in a 'separated' telangana). his reaction is quite understandable, quite in keeping with the general indifference with which 'leaders' here in india tend to treat petitions from members of the great unwashed.why should they change when they don the mantle of leadership when abroad? i kept the tone of my letter deliberately servile (in the vein of peasants pleading with their doras for compassion.....kalmokkutha banchan) in order to drive home the glaring insincerity of nrts crying about injustice being done to telangana when they have already voted against telangana and india with their feet!

petitioning a sikh pm, who is probably as seized of the issue of telangana (and as knowledgeable) as comrade marshall stalin was in 1948 when a somewhat similar plea was made to him by members of the indian communist party, you have revealed the depth of, not your emotions, your own 'separation' from your moorings. why would a sikh pm pay any attention to a plaint of injustice from a minority community when he maintained a studied silence all through the 80s (when you and i were probably loafing it off in osman pasha's arts college) while members of his own community were being brutally suppressed for raising the banner of revolt? silence was a good career move for him then, considering his plans for an entry later into politics. just as ' telangana' is a good career move for guys of your ilk now - prepares the ground for a grand entry later into desi politics, right?

whatever be your intentions, i'm glad that you guys are concerned about the development of telangana - or is that just a reaction to the apparent prosperity of people of coastal andhra? because all your rationale, your evidence and your logic carries the subtext of being 'dominated', 'cheated', 'robbed' by the people from coastal districts. doesn't that sound like the whining of a weak, self-pitying and complaining child to you? where is the grand plan, the great vision you have for the development of telangana in your manifesto ? stripped of its overwhelming concern with 'injustice' ( andhraites seem to dominate your thinking here too) you have nothing to offer the telangana you forsook long ago. development? the pm would have been impressed if you guys had invested even a cent here in business. i would have been impressed if you had business interests in places where it matters the most, like say in other major towns, apart from hyderabad, like warangal or khammam or nizamabad or even siddipet....don't jump to the conclusion that i mean only monetary investments.

i've had the opportunity of working with businesses promoted by the much reviled andhraites in the pharma industry ( right down from dr.reddy's labs to the newest entrant in the industry) and i can tell you that they didn't invest much, by way of money that is, when they started out. what they invested was their undiluted interest, their willingness to commit honest mistakes and learn from them and the untested knowledge they had gained from education. of the twenty odd companies i had done business with only one was promoted by a telangani. a telangani who had come from a much more privileged background than dr.anji reddy himself (who was a small farmer's son, by the way, like most other andhra pharma entrepreneurs) and had great access to both political clout and money. his company folded up within two years of its launch. there was one other entrepreneur, son of a prominent minister in several governments, who i have heard of and don't personally know, from adilabad who was from a similar privileged background, and who duped apsfc of several crores before shutting down. yes, andhraites too have duped sfc...of much more money. but it only shows that they have tried more.
that's the scenario in the pharma industry, the only other industry apart from i t, which seems to be doing well here.

development, in my view, mr.sudhir, is not just about irrigation dams and ayacuts, it is about people. about educated people who are willing to invest their heart and soul in projects that require superhuman efforts to fructify. if you had been an entrepreneur here in the overregulated, infrastrustucturally bankrupt 70s and 80s you'd have appreciated that. you'd have appreciated it more if you had to wait years for a telephone connection for your factory in godforsaken narsapur. or for a simple dirt road to your neighbourhood in kukatpally from where you'd have to ride on scooters and travel in overcrowded buses to reach your workshop in jeedimetla. that's what the now successful andhraites have done. apart from, of course, looting and cheating telanganis as you so rightly point out. their sons now go to the u.s., to study and bring back more knowledge to their businesses. and loot and cheat telanganis more, perhaps.

development mr.sudhir is about doers not petitioners. your logic seems to suggest that once telangana is separated, development would happen automatically. once telangana is separated, you'd have a new set of complaints and a new list of 'cheats'. a separate telangana wouldn't lead to the automatic arrival of a new generation of doers. it wouldn't lead to any wonderful growth in new investments in industry or the services which are employers of the future. what it does for the rural economy would be marginal because agriculture is set to lose more and more jobs even if you manage to increase investments and raise productivity.

if a separate telangana is only about jobs in the government then it is doomed right from the start. increase jobs, or as the separatists seem to suggest, fill the posts left by the departing andhraites and you lead yourself into the death trap of never having any fiscal maneuvering power to invest substantially in anything faintly resembling development. no, mr.sudhir, a separate telangana , if it is going to have a criminally, large and cumbersome bureacracy just as a united andhra pradesh did, in order to accommodate the interests of a frustrated few it would be driving a nail in its own coffin.

i'm not finished, but i'm not sure whether you are going to read any more (if you have managed to read until now i'd be surprised). but i've decided to mail this letter to a few friends in the u.s.,(who had first mentioned your name to me by the way) in order to reach at least some telanganis, so that they would keep in mind the sentiments of the dissenting many in telangana when they make up their minds on the issue.it would also serve, i hope, as a record of sorts, of the opinion of an average dissenting telangani.

i'd appreciate a reply, but i don't expect it. because the issue of telangana, according to many knowledgeable people, should be decided by people with as little appreciation of it as possible, outside telangana, either in delhi or in the u.s.,

regards,

a resident telangani. "

i agree..it's a kind of a futile exercise.. but it did generate a response..which was ...hardly a response.. but about that, and my views on the issue of telangana..later,..if any of you who had the endurance to read through this post..is interested in my views, that is.

and btw..i don't really believe andhraites 'looted and cheated' telanganis.that's a crude generalisation. and it's not mine. as i said, the letter was written in a certain kind of moment..and its tone was mostly dictated by the audience it was sent to.
__________________________________________________

05/05/06

digging trenches, filling trenches

like i said (or made a very cynical forecast ) here, citizens who signed up for the employment guarantee scheme in a village in vizianagaram district (andhra pradesh) are filling up a tank they had dug up a year ago (for the food-for-work programme). the project director, accosted by television reporters, offered a very longwinded explanation ....and a long sheepish grin. the channel, which reported the scam, also says most of the small-time political leaders in the region are making good money from distributing 'the right to work' among select applicants/non-existent benami applicants.
also, another nosy reporter had discovered, a few weeks ago, that jobcards had been issued in the names of a lot of, not benami, but namcheen applicants in madhya pradesh. lucky applicants included some top babus in the state government, mlas, ministers and..

06/04/06

education guarantee act, anyone?

i had commented thusly on a well-written (as always) post by dilip d'souza a few months ago. the post was on the employment guarantee act and dilip's dissatisfaction with it being turned into an assurance instead of a guarantee. (dilip did not respond to it.. i don't know if he read it. i'd like to republish it here in the hope that it might elicit some response. i'd like to add some more thoughts to this in a later post).

here goes :

''Thus the scheme to "assure" wage-employment to poor rural families "assures" instead of "guarantees" so that the scheme will not be legally binding.' (dilip's words).
the govt.,(the centre and the states) spends around two-and-a-half hundred thousand crores every year with the aim of helping the poor. this it does through various subsidies, grants and other means.now, you tell me, how is the government supposed to 'guarantee' the spending of any amount beyond this huge sum already committed? the sum committed already constitutes a major portion of its yearly budgetary spending - how is it supposed to raise(something in the range of 10,000-60,000 crores) and spend(and more effectively than the earlier schemes you have referred to ) a sum beyond its current capacity ? under the circumstances, don't you think the pm did the honorable thing by 'assuring' and not guaranteeing work? a guarantee would have been a false promise. the proponents of this current project are the same ideologically inclined wise men who had earlier backed the failed schemes you mentioned. they have always remained closest to the ears of the powers-that-be and (avowedly) to the pulse of the poor. it's funny that they should raise the questions we should be asking. right to work shall be supported by the right to information act? what about the right to education, guaranteed much earlier? a character in the movie 'austin powers' points out why james bond survives all the attempts on his life : because the villains were too smart for their own good. they would think up elaborate schemes to torture and kill him where a simple bullet to the head would have served much better. why do we fall prey to the temptations of these smart, elaborate schemes when a simple straightforward dole would cost half as much and be doubly as effective? it would avoid the pitfalls of going through the sieves and filters of the babus, elected officials, contractors and others who block the path between the poor and the promised manna. it would also eliminate the necessity of a hundred such schemes and considerably lessen the strain on governmental resources and more importantly, attention. mahbubnagar, one of the poorest districts in india, sends every year (as reported by mr.p.sainath in the course one of his expeditions in search of the holy drought) tens of thousands of migrant construction workers to mumbai and the school drop-out rate in the district too increases every year. you would find a similar picture in all the backward districts of india. the schizophrenia, i believe, lies not in the attitude of the middle classes who live only a few notches better than the slumdwellers (at times) but in the attitude of those who hide behind the poor. why do they pay so little attention to the non-voting children in mahbubnagar as compared with the voters in mumbai? a simple dole of ,say, rupees five hundred a month (which is what, almost, the current bill assures) to rural parents who send their children to school would not only cost much less than what the current project would but also a. stop the migration and b. protect the rights of the children.would you call that charity? most of the subsidies and other giveaways intended for the poor are today cornered by the more privileged classes. why shouldn't the poor have their share? but that would not be elaborate enough for the wise men. have you considered why the pm had said so little on the bill he is supposed to pilot than its votaries in the political class and the press? because it ties him up in the ultimate fiscal knot which would severely restrict any maneuvring space he would need to formulate any ideas of his own on tackling poverty or any other major issue (like how to reduce the burden of the 'elaborate' schemes so that the poor get more attention not the poverty-mongers). the wise men have effectively made irrelevant the very virtue/merit on which he was chosen: his ideas. let's not support this farcical exercise of creating 'work' for the poor when the government can't find work for its own babus. or, if we should, let's rename it : right to profits-for-all-except-the poor.'

24/03/06

sonia & the 44 profiteers

sonia loves to sacrifice-
there's no profit in office
when the opposition's upto nothing nice
and the reds listen to no pleas.

this politics is a dirty game
but she has learnt the abc:
pull the rug from under them
then everything comes to you, nice and easy.

look at the mice scurry for the gaddi
she doesn't need it, no please!
she married into the family gandhi
in india, is there a bigger office?

when you live in 10, janpath,
you know power isn't an easy path-
only when 44 others pay the price
do you get to claim the sacrifice!

12/02/06

congress party, my pooch

when i die, i want to come back as the congress party.

i'll be a blob, a forming, re-forming thing..a perpetual changing object, a now amorphous, now defined mass of flubber with one unchangeable feature which would be my tail. my tail would define me, be my compass, my head and my vishnu and my brihaspati and my meru and my indra and my iravata and my samaveda and my ganga and my skanda and my ashwatha and my narada and my bhrigu and my kapila and my maritchi and my uchchaisravas and my vajra and my kamadhenu and my vasuki and my varuna and my yama and my prahlada and my garud and my gayatri and my mrigasira and my vasanta and my first, and last and my middle..

the rest of me shall live, work, strain to please my tail... my gandhi.

i'm sorry... the first line should read ' when i die, i want to come back as the congress party's tail'.

22/01/06

have no bread ? eat ega.

a conversation between a babu and a citizen :

citizen: ega ? i still don't understand what it means .
babu: ( a little sarcastic) you needn't, because it would be cooked and delivered to your doorstep as egp.
c. what's an egp, does it contain eggs?
b. no, but it may contain grain as a nutrition supplement.
c. may contain ?
b. it depends, you see, on the availability of funds and stocks. and work.
c. work ?
b. yes, you have to pay in work for whatever you get in return.
c. work ?
b. like filling up trenches.
c. oh ?
b. and digging up trenches. or whatever you in the boondocks consider 'productive assets'.
c. so it's a dole?
b. definitely not. we tax the rich and pay for this programme.
c. (now really interested) you mean you tax the rich and pay us?
b. no, we tax the rich and make you work.
c. that means we would get all that you take away from the rich?
b. no, you might get the minimum wage.
c. who gets the rest?
b. what do you mean?
c. i mean who gets the rest of the money from the taxes after you pay me?
b. the pm says 'institutional mechanisms' would be set up to deal with that.
c. (disgusted) deal with whoever steals the money ?
b. no, to see that there is a 'timely transfer of resources' ?
c. who gets transferred ?
b. whoever fails to show 'transparency in maintenance of muster rolls and payment of wages.' ?
c. what ?
b.whoever says you worked for 30 days when you only worked for 3.
c. who ?
b. your programme officer.
c. why should he say that i've worked for 30 days when i've not worked for a day ?
b. because he's not transparent - he should tell you everything about the scheme the day you register.
c.( feeling he's the one that's transparent) nobody tells me anything.
b. don't worry. now everything has to be put down on paper and recorded. you'll also get a job card....don't pawn that.
c. and then?
b. you apply for work.
c. i can't write.
b. that's okay, the panchayat will help you.
c. what's in it for them ?
b. 50%.
c. you mean they take away half of what i get paid ?
b. no, you idiot. they get half of all funds for the scheme.
c. who gets the other half ?
b. the programme officer decides that.
c. i work for nothing ?
b.you get paid for whatever work you do.
c. (scratching his head, making rapid calculations on his palm) the officer gets 50% and the panchayat gets another fifty..please sir, what do i get?
b. (exhausted) you get paid for 100 days of work.
c. what work ?
b. (#$%..!) whatever work the panchayat assigns you.
c. (thinking of his past experiences) what if they don't ?
b. you get paid anyway.. at least a part of the minimum wage for not being given work after applying.
c. ( warming up to this idea) what if i gave you a part of that.. you know..so that i
keep getting whatever money..
b. (frowning) yes.
c. ...without being assigned any work..
b. (feigning anger) that's illegal.
c. (grumbling) i won't get any work because the sarpanch doesn't like me. i voted for the opposition..
b. you can complain.
c. what would happen then ?
b. the programme would be stopped in the whole district.
c. ( wondering how that would help ) who thought up this scheme..a sardar ?
b. oh, it has its supporters... a belgian who likes yatras.. an italian who doesn't... a bengali who didn't like the ias... ....
c. (lost in thought) i can ask sagar anna for help.
b. who is he?
c. he heads the racha (..konda dalam, he almost says, but stops )... maybe i can give him something..
b. who ?
c. the sarpanch.
b. i told you the whole programme would be stopped if there are any reports of corruption.
c. so how do i get any work?
b. you apply for it, you are assigned work and then you get paid for it.. every week ..or after two..weeks..maybe. you know how it is..
c. what if i don't get paid ? (now getting wiser) don't tell me ... i shouldn't complain..
b. i didn't say that..you could tell the gram sabha.
c. that's what i did when he siphoned off money from the housing scheme to build another floor on his house.
b. and ?
c. he hates my guts now.
b. so why don't you talk to the other leader then..the one you voted for..
c. no one listens to him now..they found fwp rice in his cowshed...
b. don't worry, they can't stop the payment..i'll be there.
c. what's in it for you ?
b. 50%.
the citizen walks away, thinking of sagar anna.

08/01/06

a vaartha.

he is a businessman with interests in textiles, cement, real estate and etc., his family is rich and owns a lot of property in and around hyderabad and gujarat, mostly acquired in the last three decades. he is also a rajya sabha mp from andhra pradesh.he manages his own group within the congress in the state. he also publishes a telugu newsdaily 'vaartha' from ten towns across the state. and a hindi newspaper called 'swatantra vaartha' from hyderabad and nizamabad.

so what made him think he had the right to demolish his government allotted bungalow in new delhi and construct a marble-and-carved teak eyesore in its place ? a two-storeyed concrete insult in an area where even the pm can't build beyond one floor?

girish kumar sanghi and his family have a reputation of being heavy-handed. they reportedly beat up even managers and editors who refuse to toe their line.and the power of a newspaper seals many lips. that's their way of getting business done. one year ago, a bus carrying workers from one of his factories was involved in an accident. the police arrived, and found out that the passengers were all poor schoolgirls who were returning from a night-shift at one of his factories. the opposition cried foul and then child labour. the labour minister said in the assembly : an inquiry had been initiated, but from the information he had, there was no evidence to support the charge that any child labour had been employed. so the television channels who had beamed the unhappy fact had performed the duplicitous act of conveying one thing to the people and another to the minister. we know that happens.

vaartha is the second most widely read telugu newspaper in a.p. that means, when push comes to shove, sanghi could be the second biggest arm-twister in the state. so i look around, and i urge you to do so too: and tell me how many sanghi parivars can you spot around the country. too many, in my opinion. so what, you ask, whatever news i consume in the morning, and sometimes in the afternoon and the evening turns into raddi by the next morning.

we know what micro-organisms that live for less than twelve hours are capable of doing.

and there is hardly anything we can do about it. like someone i know realized when he came up against sanghi. one of sanghi's companies was building a pricey apartment building in one of the poshest areas of hyderabad. there was only one small lane that connected it with the main road. my acquaintance owned a plot that lay between the proposed complex of buildings and an arterial lane, bigger and better, to the main road. the arterial road, if extended to sanghi's complex (slicing the vacant plot that lay in the middle), would definitely add to the saleability of the complex.this is what the sanghis wanted.one day, a crew of municipal workers began demolishing a part of the wall dividing the complex and the plot. the plotwallah accosted them and he was told they were only clearing the road (?) that led to the complex. so the owner, because he wasn't aware of any plans to build a road, panicked and ran to his lawyer. the family had owned the plot for more than forty years and it had collected its share of the dust of disputes over the years. but his rights were almost clear. and there never had been a road proposed through the middle of his plot. the sanghis, in their ingenuity, had thought up one and certain babus, with a little 'persuasion' had dutifully agreed. so the plotwallah deduced he had to take certain 'clever' measures to protect his property, because he could sense big shadows lurking around his plot, before any 'timely' relief arrived from the court.so he approached another minor congress leader to stop sanghi from pushing the authorities to build a second approach road to his complex 'partitioning' the plot he had foolishly saved for forty years. he had very little time - a dirt path had been cleared through his plot and the road could be laid any day- given the 'urgency of pupose' of the municipal authorities.

the minor leader liked the idea of fishing in troubled lands in such an expensive district..so he sent along a couple of 'party workers' to scare off any possible invaders by brandishing their credentials as 'ruling party yuva' leaders. the owner, still not reassured, thought up the idea of making his plot truly 'unpaveable'. so he got a young friend of the family to haul in several truckloads of boulders ( the remains of the huge rocks that dot hyderabad which are now being blasted and cleared by truckloads everyday to make way for new buildings, despite several conservationists' protests) and plonk them on his plot so that it couldn't be cleared. the deed was done, and without much cost, because the truckers who hauled the rocks were looking for empty plots to dump the rocks anyway.the rocks were big, and despite the fact that they were only pieces cut from bigger boulders some of them stood as high as a man. they can't be cleared in less than a week, he thought.

he woke up the next morning to discover that he made the vaartha that day. featured on top of the front page, just below the masthead, was the news that he had grabbed a 'sarkari' road with the help of congress party goons.. while he had been enjoying the sound sleep of a satisfied landgrabber, the presses and other gears of authority had been busy.

the news made only vaartha, and no other newspaper.

certain babus among the municipal authorities who had all along supported the sanghis' bluff now expressed righteous chagrin at their non-existent road being grabbed. and took' immediate measures' to reclaim their lost road. a spanking new road, after clearing the rocks with much motivation and machinery, made its way through the plot by, not the next week, but the next morning. increasing the value of the apartments in the proposed complex by several notches.

this happened nearly an year ago. now, to answer my own question, sanghi probanly thought (when he was applying his special building skills in lutyens' delhi) that when he could always have the right of way in hyderabad, why couldn't he enjoy the same privilege in dilli ?

he knows what to do if stopped...start another edition of 'swatantra vaartha' in delhi.
 
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