Scams : New Zero Tolerance
(Or, Khaap Capitalism
Something is afoot. Not the ongoing serial exposures of IPL shenanigans , Commonwealth Games Scams, Adarsh Society, 2G scam, Karnataka Mining mafias, LIC Housing loans, and now Radia tapes leaks, etc. Only the birds and school kids ever believed in the brightness of the Emerging India script . We all have known, and known for long decades, that it is not only in Denmark or the Allahabad High Court where something is rotten. The smart have in fact deciphered the genetik and politik of the Indian rottenness and prospered by shrewd sub – radar navigation through it for decades. Of course.
What is new is the serial nature of the expose`s and the curious aftermath. Exposures of scams in India are old hat , and there is a whole repertoire of dealing with them – commissions, CBI probes, JPCs, etc- to carry on business as usual while creating the second- order illusion that scams can be tackled. But this time a different script seems to be unfolding.
From the outset the messages is of no shielding of the unfortunate guilty. Tharoor had to go ; Kalmadi and company were told that they will have to go and they are going; Raja has gone; Ashok Chavan had to go, and the Generals and Admirals are being chased; others are being readied for similar punishments. A new rectitude is in the air. This is strange .
And it goes further. Vedanta, POSCO, Karnataka’s mining syndicates, telecom companies, Lavasa etc which are among the main pillars of Emerging India have been put on real, and legal, notice. Astounded, the pillars are complaining, and going to high courts and cutely demanding “natural justice”. But the buzz is : rule of law to prevail and guilty be punished , even if holy cows like foreign investments or market sentiments are hurt. This is surely something new. Even Pawar has uttered sentences of protest. It is this new nip in the air — and not the shaggy old JPC for 2G spectrum — that has jammed up not only the parliament but the whole darbaristan of New Delhi today.
So, andar ki baat kya hai?
Is it a new conversion or the good old Haj after eating 900 mice? Are the half- unveiled Mr and Ms Cleans of India striking out for a gleaming India, or is it yet another, third- order sleight of hand of the bad old India? Hm , lets see. What are the straws in the wind?
Among the first signs was Vajpaee’s vist to USA in 2000 CE and signing of some strategic papers to indicate that after about a decade of Indian khaap-capitalism’s hitching its wagon to post Reagan/Thatcher global capitalism–coyly called Reforms by the spin-masters –India was ready and desirous of standing up and being counted. As a responsible nation. This has been the leitmotif since that day, through Bush’s India visit in 2006 , and on to Obama`s in 2010 to declare that India is no longer emerging but has actually already emerged. And in between there have been plentiful other signs in domestic and foreign policy spaces – except for the cynics, or the birds.
Unlike the post WW II south- east Asia or the newly fledged Russia, India has been holding out on “full scope” Reforms just as it has been doing so on full scope NPT/IAEA regimes. India’s elite , shrewd like the firangi elites , wants its full pound of flesh. The Indo-US nuclear deal was the turning point, crafted by Bush and Manmohan Singh. In plain English, it recognized that: look, India has the Bomb and unlike Israel, Pakistan , and North Korea, it is willing to abide by the rules of the Club, so let it join the high table. Diplomats, lawyers and managers are to work out the papers — which they have been doing since. No wonder the mild Manmohan Singh, indifferent to everything else, keeps threatening his resignation only on the N-Deal issue.
An aside: the Club is not an ossified restroom of English baronetcy, but a sort of poolroom hangout of yankee-european old money-new money tango , often a mafia, a FIFA / Formula 1 cabal, or even a neo- Masonic knightly parade- ground.
Ergo, the new wine in India, the new correctitude. Now it will not do as it was possible earlier to stop POSCO on environmental or any other laws and let our Jindals and Aggarwals, or even Tatas and Ambanis , get away. Now law has to be law, no feudal exemptions please. Obama has already promised Security Council seat and pointedly told the Indian parliament that India, therefore, has to behave — and fulfill “obligations” of a responsible world power. From now on global capitalisms club- rules apply. This transformation is what is actually going on today in newspapers , magazines , and TV screens.
Of course there are many sides to it, as all club rules always have. Indian domestic and foreign policies will of course be made “covergent” with America`s, still the fattest cat of the club. Of course all this will have to be dovetailed with launching of Rahul Gandhi – the prime Ms Clean – in 2014; new managers like Jairam Ramesh, Manishankar Aiyer, Digvijay Singh, Omar Abdullah etc are busy jockeying for stewardships. Of course, and yadda yadda of course. Manmohan Singh, the humble beadle of this conversion since his 1991 Budget Speech unleashing “animal spirits” is now well on his way to apotheosis — despite his ever- pardoned , correct, but politically inept or ill timed foreign policy sallies on Kashmir, Pakistan etc. There is even talk of a Nobel prize. Yes , don’t be surprised.
And all this that is happening is not some furtive, local little thing. China, with its own legacy of Han-Communism is going through the same process with Chinese Characteristics. For that matter so is America and Europe. After all , the welfare stateist retreat taken by American capitalism – after witnessing WWI and emergence of Soviet Union — through Roosevelt’s New Deal has been corrected only recently, after Reagan , and it has reverted to its brigandist, pure capitalism of post Civil War brand recently with George Bush. Europe is going the same way under its opaque, plastic mysticism of European Union. Yes, capitalism, which cannot but be global in nature has finally overcome its hesitation on witnessing the rise and fall of Sino-Soviet communisms , and is reclaiming the new century.
Hence, the Waterloo of our old style scams and the new rectitude. Bye bye feudalism .
So, are we about to witness a just and moral order of pure global capitalism in India? Will Manmohan Singh be canonised as Righteous XXVII? Well , capitalism is nothing if not contradictory. It forever needs laws if only to disguise its outlawhood. It needs a system of regulations for working its pervasive brigandage. It needs order for its essential inhumanity. Okay but how? How will capitalist life look like , here in India?
Well, remember Bombay? Although it has been losing it since it became Mumbai, as Bombay it was the only Indian city where petty street crimes were low; a civic order prevailed ; and regulations were enforced well – “Mai Pawar/Chavan ka aadmi hoon” etc did not quite work in ration offices ,and traffic lights, and trains . But did it mean that Bombay had no poverty , or crime and skullduggery – Bombay of Haji Mastan? Or, again, does America , the high priest of regulations, have no scams or scandals?
Bihar has already understood this first in India, as usual.
In short, what we are seeing is India’s own New Deal unfolding towards a globally syndicated non welfare- state of pure, unalloyed , capitalism. And naturally it will have Indian Characteristics. Jai ho !