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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Mumble, mumble, mumble...


BJP’s double speak is most damaging to its own state government
One of Murphy’s inimitable laws goes like this: When in doubt, mumble. The Bharatiya Janata Party, India’s principal opposition party, might want to consider this after having shot their mouths off , simply to oppose the UPA government. Having hastily & impulsively supported President Abdul Kalam’s decision to send back the office-of-profit Bill (for prevention of disqualification of Parliamentarians holding offices of profit) to the Parliament, the BJP belatedly realized that their own government in Jharkand had very recently suggested a similar Bill to prevent legislators from being disqualified for holding an office of profit.

So does backing Kalam’s objections mean that BJP is ready to allow the disqualification of 12 NDA MLAs in the Jharkhand Assembly (and thus allowing its own government to fall)? Of course not, as the BJP’s damage control media spin has already started blaming the discriminatory nature of the legislation, rather than opposing the legislation itself. Though of course again, in the valiant post-mortem words of BJP Spokesperson Prakash Javadekar, “Our opposition is based on principle.
We are ready to make any sacrifice (read, loss of government) if the UPA decides to withdraw the...legislation.”

Brave words, courageous analysis, but unfortunately, lacking in honesty. The BJP has to necessarily realise that opposing the UPA for everything under the sun would only make it look like a frustrated party in the eyes of the nation. The BJP has a wonderful legacy to be proud of. It has to realise that it is now close to rock bottom, and shooting its mouth off with continuous double speak will only take it there faster. Didn’t you hear Murphy at the start? When in doubt...

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Source :- IIPM Editorial, 2006, Editor - Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Triggering the War


It could have been indeed quiet on the western front...
As I uttered these words to spot the moment that spawned world history, I landed at Mortiz Schiller’s Café in Sarajevo, capital city of Bosnia & Herzegovina. The calendar swinging on one of the side walls of the café showed the date as June 28, 1914. Sitting alone, next to the sidewall was a lean and a sickly looking 19-year old Bosnian Serb mumbling, “The Archduke, Franz Ferdinand is here, and it’s our only chance to kill him, but he must be dead by now… and if not, how I wish, it is I who kill him!!” Absorbed in his own world of raging thoughts, the lad the world would come to know as Gavrilo Princip was longing to realise his murderous dreams, doing which he believed would free his nation of the ignominy of provincial statehood, given by the domineering Austro- Hungarian Empire five years back, after it annexed Bosnia & Herzegovina in 1908. His eyes burnt with a mix of fiery pride and hurt dignity and he seemed to be telling the world, both he and his country might seem weak in body and frail of spirit, but are soon going to be both great and glorious.

The Archduke, 51-year old Franz Ferdinand was coming to Bosnia to survey the military and to open a museum in Sarajevo when around a ten-member secret youth nationalist organisation, Black Hand, planned to assassinate him and thus positioned themselves at diff erent locations on the route of Franz’s trip, so as to turn the “Bosnia Herzegovina weds Croatia” journey into the Archduke’s death procession.

The brusque young lads ready to let go off their lives held the trigger of the gun in their hands, with Mehmed Mehmedbašić on the first location across the Cumburja Bridge, but missed a chance to shoot through the crowd. Cabrinovio stationed further down the road, dropped a bomb on the motorcade but missed Franz’s car. Assuming the mission to be a success, the third assassin-to-be moved away from his post and Gavrilo, the fourth one, went across from his location to the café on Franz Joseph Road, which is where I caught sight of him ruminating on the day’s events. Suddenly, Princip rushed out, as he saw a lonely car, with the Archduke and his wife Sophie in it, drive past. Although taken by surprise, Princip didn’t want to miss the opportunity and blinded by passion and encumbered by untrained awkwardness, he aimed at the Duke but shot the Duchess instead. The second, however, was one of the loudest shots ever fired and it still echoes in the pages of history and the valleys of the Balkans, for with that second bullet that killed the Archduke, Gavrilo in his naiveté, changed the face of history.

This ‘Assassination in Sarajevo’, fanned the fires of the warring world and led to the great WWs of history. World War I began as its aftermath, and concluded its treaties, which led to dissatisfaction in potent corners, soon leading to another massive and much more destructive World WarII.

Nationalism and patriotism are great virtues, indeed, but when young unknowing hands hold the gun, their actions are devoid of reason or consideration for consequence and the battle ceases to be for truth and justice and is oft en reduced to a personal quest for glory or a reprieve from one’s circumstances. Their actions could plunge their world, into darkness and despair for generations. This holds true as much for a 19 year old in Kashmir, in Iran, in Liberia, or in the Basque region, as it did that fateful day for Gavrilo Princip of Bosnia Herzegovina.

As I stared at the blood stains of the Franz Joseph road, with none of that which triggered a moment back, I realised that if great passion is not tempered with greater wisdom, it invariably precipitates the greatest of catastrophes.

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Source :- IIPM Editorial, 2006, Editor - Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri

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Monday, June 12, 2006


When the returns offered by Indian financial markets are amongst the best in the world – and with Indian stock markets at an all time high – IDRs (or Indian Depository Receipts) aren’t a bad idea at all! Though the concept of IDRs was propounded way back in the Companies Act (Amendment) Bill 1997, the government is yet to arrive at a final conclusion. After opening Qualified Institutional Buyer (QIB) placement route for listed Indian firms to raise funds in the domestic market, SEBI now intends to introduce the Indian Depository Receipts channel for overseas firms to tap the Indian markets for funds in the 2006. With Asian economies, especially India and China, leading the world’s growth in the near future, the Indian economy surely presents great opportunities for foreign companies to look for funds.

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Source :- IIPM Editorial, 2006

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

New gold, old votes : IIPM

God alone knows what made P. V. Narsimha Rao choose Manmohan Singh as his Finance Minister in 1991. The two had much in common, quiet men who didn’t oppose their bosses, and who went to great lengths to avoid controversy. Rao had, until then, done nothing remarkable, while Singh charted an anonymous existence as a bureaucrat. But, what a duo the two proved.

Rao craftily kept Sonia Gandhi in the sidelines, while Singh took to politics with gusto. He soon unleashed his New Economic Policy of liberalization and put India on the path to superpowerdom. Nehru’s mixed economy was dunked as Singh opted for privatisation.

Though often debated, the policy became irreversible and even the Left had begun to accept it. Many sectors are booming, and India’s growth has surprised many.

Most astonishingly, Singh became Rao’s best gift to India. Today, with backing from Sonia Gandhi, Singh ranks with Nehru, Indira, and V. P. Singh, as the most impactful Indian prime ministers.

Singh’s policy spelt the end of the licence raj, and gave credence to enterprise. There are still plenty of hurdles, primary being infrastructure, but the policy of openness and liberalization seems set to be in place.

The most visible impact of Singh’s policies is the zooming Sensex. Th e middle-class investor is happy, the mutual fund sector is thriving, and all eyes are on the round II of reforms, which is expected to take prosperity to the rural hinterland.

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Source :- IIPM Editorial, 2006

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