Horned Politicians – The Indian Caricature

The World Of Indian PoliticiansFilmi Stereotypes

Till 1980s, the popular Hindi filmi villain was the caricatured businessman. Madhuri Dixit’s movies and the 90′s liberalization, killed this stereotype. Possibly, the massacre of politicians in ‘Inquilab’ ( a 1980′s film starring Amitabh Bachchan) initiated the change of villain from the businessman to the politician. Today, a popular profession for villains in Hindi films is politics.

The Neta In Colonial Times

From colonial times, the Indian neta has been a favorite target of smear campaigns, innuendo and propaganda. Colonial administration in India worked hard to undermine the credibility of the Indian ‘neta’ -Political Creaturesfor obvious reasons. Colonial bureaucrats (and their successors, the IAS) covered their incompetence and corruption with this lopsided image of the neta. Indians politicians are possibly as corrupt as any others in the world.

Ask the Japanese about Kakui Tanaka and Lockheed affair. Or ask the British about Mark Thatcher shenanigans. But don’t ask Americans about the son of bootlegger who flouted the US Constitution many times – John F.Kennedy. After JFK’s killing, 60 years on, there are many suspects who had motives. Mafia tops this list.

IAS – Indian In Name Only

But the English speaking, Indian bureaucracy is another matter. Having dragged India to the bottom of global corruption pervasiveness ratings, they cover their owns misdeeds, under the ‘umbrella’ of the neta.Cynical View Of The Indian Politician

This is one colonial institution that India has tried digesting, without succes. IAS (ICS during colonial times) a venal, corrupt cadre, has tied up India into knots – which have taken us decades to even start disentangling.

As in colonial era, the IAS lobby works behind the scenes. The IAS lobby continues with this. Indian TV channels routinely conduct sting operations on various institutions – politicians, universities, colleges, film stars, etc. But no one has tried a sting operation on an IAS officer. Is it their propaganda skills that they are able to cover their corruption – and the popular, elected leadership is continually tarred.

Or is it fear?

India’s Relations With Other Neighbours

The Pakistan Fixation is a a cover-up of India’s laziness or lack of resolve on part of the diplomatic corps – the IFS. Does Pakistan have the focus or the persistence to do half the things that India imagines Pakistan is doing.? In the last 20 years, India has lowered its guard – and has become further fixated on the Pakistan bogey. The Pakistan Fixation hides Indian ineptness at confronting the root of Pakistani problem – USA, amongst others.

If India’s problems were limited to Pakistan, possibly, there is some merit to India’s Pakistan Fixation. India’s relations with its other neighbours are also in trouble. Its relations with Bangladesh are at a historic low. Relations with Sri Lanka are back from the brink. Nepal is the new fire in the sub-continent.

Indian neta - favorite target of the Westernized rich

Indian neta - favorite target of the Westernized rich

The Root Of This Problem

The state of inter-government relations in South Asia is a sign of lazy Indian diplomatic corps (the IFS) which considers all these neighbourhood postings as ‘punishment’ postings. The ‘best’ of IFS corps wants postings to Western capitals. Like the IAS, the IFS is another albatross around India’s neck.

A large part of India’s Foreign Ministry budget goes towards Western engagement (for proof, look at the dubious Festivals of India in USA, France, Russia, Britain, etc). Instead if the same money was spent in the sub-continent, it would have been better spent. The huge monies spent on Western embassies are mis directed. It would be ideal if those Western embassies were Spartan, frugal (I should actually say Gandhian) – and the money saved can be invested in the sub-continent.

India’s Western engagement are at a direct cost of involving and managing the neighbourhood relationships. The terrorism related issues have an element of Indian element. After all, who propped up Bhindranwale? The treatment of J&K Governments by the Rajiv and Indira Gandhi do not bear repetition. The birth of LTTE was midwifed by India. I have not followed the Naga and ULFA story as closely to get a clearer fix – but there is an element of ‘games’ in there also. And these ‘games’ have a habit of getting out of hand! It is not a co-incidence that John Nash suffered from schizophrenia.

Hence, our favorite game is blame game – blame the neighbours and get on with the Western pre-occupation. The Pakistani involvement in various crimes of omission and commission could be better understood if our relations with our other neighbours were better. It is India’s superior attitude that makes us believe that we know better. No neighbour would want to willingly embrace China! After all, India offers a template that others can use – and China offers a road map that points downhill. It is India’s superior attitude which has made it attractive for our neighbours to embrace China.

For this reason, again SAARC has been bombast – and little action. It is our diplomatic corps that are found wanting. The SAARC opportunities in the economic area are huge – and history is on our side. It is our Western pre-occupation and Pakistani Fixation which are to blame for the slow uptake on SAARC. SAARC has become a case of all potential and no performance.

The NRI DrivelRahul Gandhi & Congress

Lord Meghnad Desai, in Times Of India, made some ‘standard’ comments about Indian ‘netas‘. While Desai’s article talks about what India’s netas need to do, it gives them no credit for where India is today.

If India’s netas, are powerful enough to influence the future then does it occur to His Lordship that they may have been (at least partly) influential in India’s post-colonial re-construction. Is it too much to expect even-handedness from His Lordship? Does His Lordship realize that India’s under-rated netas have nurtured the world’s only successful Republican Democracy in the last 200 years. India’s illiterate voters have participated enthusiastically in this success. Westernized Indians (like Lord Meghnad Desai) have seen India through a Western eyes and English language.

His prognosis for the West is even more interesting. It is His Lordship’s belief that possibly only the USA (from the West) will make the cut. The Euro zone, he implies will be irrelevant. How and why is Lord Desai silent about the role of Euro-politicians in the decline and eclipse (His Lorship’s pessimism) of Euro-zone. Is it that His Lordship does not dare criticize Western politicians? Or is that the West can do no wrong? Is Euro-eclipse as much black magic as The Rise Of India?

Indian Rope TrickBehind Indian Success

Is this forward march of India an accident ? Or a happy co-incidence? Black magic, perhaps? Not forgetting credit to The West? After all, the the West is confident that modern Indian success is due to Western contribution? Of course, it begs a question as to why this has not happened in any other country.

Not to forget the NRI contribution – especially the Westernized NRIs (like Lord Meghnad Desai who wants to be an Indian now). Possibly, the only people who should not get any credit is are the desi, home grown Indians.

Post script

On April 28th 2009, a little less than one year after this post, some of the details of NSDL and NSE project were revealed. CB Bhave, who set up the dematerialised share repository, NSDL, revealed some interesting facts. The most interesting is that he felt the need to resign from the IAS – for things to happen.

Bhave resigned from the IAS in 1996, to take up what was then seen as a rather low-profile job — to create India’s first share depository, even though he had the option of going there on deputation. “The job needed full-time commitment from me and from the team I was recruiting. How would I get it, if I did not burn my boats myself?” he says. (via Lunch with BS: C B Bhave).

Corruption Perception

PT Barnum – Seven Pillars of Western Wisdom

Sanitize and smuggle

With passage of time, the real harm to the Indian society by some of the foreign rulers is forgotten. For instance, the Mughal period saw the impoverishment of the Indian farmer, due to uncertainty over land title, whimsical tax regimes – and not the religious agenda, which has been ‘sold’ to Indians. By latter colonial rulers, the British.

We may see a repeat of the same phenomenon, this time, seeing the colonial rule through rose-tinted glasses. Colonialism was an unmitigated disaster – and should be clearly remembered as such.

We may see attempts to cover up the colonial misrule, by ‘academics’ whose motives are not always obvious or in the open. One such ‘academic’ is Kishore Mahbubani.

Kishore Mahbubani

Kishore Mahbubani

Gushing Press

H.E.Professor Dr.Kishore Mahbubani, of the National University of Singapore, Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy has recently written a book.

In an interview with The Times Of India he opined, a cloying, subservient and ignorant view of the modern history. “Asia has benefited immensely from the western seven pillars of wisdom — free market, science and technology, meritocracy, pragmatism, culture of peace, rule of law and education” says Mahbubani.

On Mahbubani, comments The Economist, very patronisingly, “Kishore Mahbubani makes some sensible recommendations.” Strangely, The Economist, says this is “an anti-Western polemic, designed to wake up Americans and Europeans by making them angry. In that goal, it will certainly be successful.” Reportedly, The Economist, has decided that Kishore Mahbubani is an “Asian Toynbee preoccupied with the rise and fall of civilisations.”

Echoing The Economist, is The Shanghai Daily, which pronounces “Singaporean author Kishore Mahbubani has been likened to an Asian Toynbee”. Joining the fray, The Deccan Herald chips in with “Kishore Mahbubani is the ultimate foreign policy guru.” Niranjan Rajadhyaksa of The Mint (a HT-WSJ publication) intones,“Asia has both suffered and learnt a lot from the West … Mahbubani has been extremely fair.”

I tried disagreeing. I thought I had overwhelming evidence. But after the Mahbubani experience, with liberal doses of assistance from St.Barnum’s (patron saint of propaganda), I must admit, I was enlightened.

And I also want to know, who your PR agency is, Kishorbhai!

Ulta Chor Kotwal Ko Datein

1. Free Markets

I was a non-believer in Western commitment to free markets. After reading Kishore Mahbubani, I realized, I was reading too much propaganda about how Indian mangoes could not be exported to USA for the last 18 years – because of pesticide residues.

India, (wrongly) disallowed imports of allegedly, ‘over-priced, gas-guzzling, polluting’ Harley-Davidson motorcycles. USA, in turn taught India a thing or two about free trade. After a sufficiently, enlightened India, lifted restrictions on imports of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, pesticide residues disappeared, and the US allowed imports of Indian mangoes again.

I am sure that Indian farmers, with some devious trickery, ensured that pesticide residues vanished.

For the last 300 years, the West restricted imports of fabrics and garments. Dhaka’s de-urbanization due to this in the 1800-1900 is written into history – wrongly. The last law was the MFA agreement which created a quota-based regime for textiles, in the West.

Agricultural subsidies of nearly US$20 billion dollars by USA and EU, to their farmers are also in the spirit of free trade. For the benefit of the starving Rest, the West is giving these subsidies to Western farmers, to lower food prices. How does it matter that the agricultural economy of the recipient nations gets destroyed!

West Is Best!!

Things like non-tariff barriers are hokum and over-worked Eastern imagination. The story of repeated and frequent rejection of mushroom exports from India is also in the spirit of free trade.

Indian applications for ‘equivalence’ certificates have been pending with EU for the last 7-8 years – and not processed for the last 7-8 years due to lack of manpower. Interim annuals approvals are given instead – in the spirit of free trade, after some ‘concessions’.

Of course, the Western zeal for free trade extends to enforcing opium trade (just ask the Chinese). Kishorebhai, I only wish, ignorant Easterner that I am, is that we in India can enforce ‘free trade’ in opium today in USA and the Europe.

When the ignorant East, did not see the benefits of Western invention of free trade, the West was compelled to use force (remember Commodore Perry? For more details, ask the Japanese).

St.Barnum’s Says

Mahbubani’s assertions are right. These ‘facts’ above are like a bikini. What they reveal is indicative, what they conceal is vital! In this case, the Western spirit of free trade. How can the ignorant East, question Western wisdom – or ethics, integrity, motives? Of course, all these cases and incidents are a conspiracy to defame the West.

2. Science & Technology

Before Western invention of Science and Technology, what did the East know?

Zilch. Zero. Sifr. Shunya. That is all. This claim about India inventing the zero and infinity is probably right. Because they had infinite knowledge about Zero – and nothing else. All their books about geometry (Aryabhatta, Bhaskara) are just figments of Eastern imagination. Eastern knowledge about eclipse prediction has now been proved wrong by Kishore Mahbubani’s expose. Indian shipbuilders and steel technology was just puffery – as demonstrated by Kishore Mahbubani.The Hulk Dropped The Easter Island Statues

Of course as Hegel said, there is no African history. I realize after reading Kishore Mahbubani’s interview that there is only Western Science and Technology. It must have been some Westerners behind the ‘achievements’ of China, Africa and India.

How ignorant I was before being enlightened by Kishorebhai!

PT Barnum adds - Are you not forgetting the option of crediting aliens?


Poor ‘Blacks’!

They were always mislead by their leaders. The only place in the world that they could find equity, was in the West. If the West had not ‘bought’ these poor ‘Blacks’ and allegedly ‘enslaved’ them, they would have still have been in Africa – and lost the benefits of the Western meritocracy. Some Black leaders are today claiming that they have even contributed to Western technology.

The sheer audacity!


Similarly, if the Gypsies had not left India, (supposedly) a thousand years ago, they would have lost all the benefits of Western civilization. Early Punjabi settlers in USA did not properly understand their position in Western society. They were basically inferior people who demanded equality to their White masters.

This mis-perception, of course, created misdirected protests. These ignorant immigrants from the East did not properly understand Western meritocracy.

The Wisdom Of St.Barnum - If Japanese and Chinese immigrants faced discrimination in the USA, it was their fault – why did they have to look different?

4. Pragmatism

I agree that the West is truly pragmatic!

Dr.RA Mashelkar, a senior scientist and administrator, writes:

“A recent study by an Indian expert group examined randomly selected 762 US patents, which were granted under A61K35/78 and other IPC classes, having a direct relationship with medicinal plants in terms of their full text. Out of these patents, 374 patents were found to be based on traditional knowledge …”

After annihilating the Australian Aborigines, the Australian Government decided to apologize. What more does the world expect? This apology from the magnanimous West was as pragmatic as anyone can get! Kishorebhai, we have a saying in India, about cats going on a pilgrimage after killing a hundred rats. In this case, of course, the West went one better. They killed millions of humans – and apologized for that!

Western practice of Pragmatism at its best!

St.Barnum sez - What could be more pragmatic? I agree with Kishore Mahbubani!The Pollution Conundrum

5. Culture Of Peace

The Native Americans were wiped out – nearly the entire race! Today they are a relic – a tourist attraction! Like rare animals in a zoo!

Aborigines in Australia have similarly been annihilated. Two world wars in a space of 40 years. The entire Jewish population of the world has been reduced to 10 million – by the West.

But, Kishore Mahbubani says, the Western civilization is about peace! And he is right!

These wars were forced upon the West – and were fought to bring peace on Earth. Now since there are no Native Americans  and Aborigines, how can there be a war with the Native Americans and Aborigines. Similarly, if there are no Jews, there cannot be a war with the Jews. The West is also trying to cleanse the earth of all Muslims. Then there cannot be a war with Muslims also.

St.Barnum pays a tribute to Kishore Mahbubani - Kishorebhai, you concept of culture of peace is stunning to say the least. Hats off.

6.Rule of Law

Completely true and a matter of fact!

Consider the Western laws on slavery! And those related to minorities! Or current laws in the UK and US to deal with terrorism.

The disenfranchisement laws came into effect by the 1890′s – that continue till today. This ensured that the disproportionate numbers of ‘Blacks’ could not vote – and George Bush became the President of the USA for the 2nd time. After some 60,000 ‘Black’ Voters were disenfranchised, George Bush technically, won by less than 1000 votes (most of the disenfranchised voters were expected to vote against George Bush).

Petty crime (where poor) ‘Blacks’ were convicted in higher ratios were grounds for disenfranchisement. These laws ensured that 10 times higher number of ‘Blacks’ were disqualified compared to Whites. If that is not bad enough, it continues till now. Such tactics continue to be used to limit Black participation in democracy.

In 1904, the US pressured Tomas Estrada Palma, a ‘puppet’ Cuban President, to sign the Platt Amendment. This allowed US intervention in Cuban affairs, if ‘vital’ US  interests were at risk (meaning at US will) – finally modified only in 1934. The many laws which made Gypsy hunting legal – like laws which made hunting animals legal. The latest news in that Italians are going to crack down on Gypsies – as per a EU law.

St.Barnum confirms - Yes, Kishore Sir! The West believes in laws.

The Usual Suspects


I must admit, that Western education does achieve its goals!

West does produce leaders, generation after generation, who relentlessly execute the same agenda. The annihilation, the massacre, the pogroms – against natives in America and Australia, minorities like Gypsies, Jews and various Christian sects. The kidnapping of Aboriginal and Gypsy children. The massacres in Africa – from Roman times to 20th century. And now the specter of Islamic Demonization.

St.Barnum adds - This degree of continuity and consistency is missing with others. There is something about Western education Mr.Mahbubani, I agree.

Country Model of the West

The real country model that the West manages itself on is something else Mr.Mahbubani. Loot – of gold, resources, ideas. And slavery. Add significant amounts of fraud.

Nothing more and nothing less. And their strategy to ‘white wash’ this – propaganda. With Kishorebhai’s plausible sincerity, I am not quite able to decide if Kishorebhai is an innocent and ignorant victim of Western propaganda or a part of the propaganda.

Either way, his book and his ideas are trash – and this post is a case of intellectual slumming.

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