Dr Jay Dubashi
First, let us get the name straight. Is it Robert Vadra, or Robert something else? For Vadra, no matter how much you anglicise it, does not have the sound of an Indian name. Does it stand for something non-Indian? We come across many funny Indian names – and words – nowadays, and Vadra seems to be one of them.
Robert is quite familiar, an Anglo-Indian name used by Anglo-Indian families. Is Robert Vadra an Anglo-Indian? After all, his wife is certainly one, the daughter of a Hindu, or quasi-Hindu, for his father was a Parsi, and an Italian mother. So the Anglo-Indian girl went for an Anglo-Indian husband from, of all places, Moradabad, where he was running a tiny business – if you can call it business – buying and selling brass curios and others, as some Kashmiris do.
Now, he is buying and selling land, not a few hundred square metres in Delhi colonies, but thousands of acres all over north India, where his mother-in-law’s writ runs. From brassware to acres and acres of land is quite a change, and only those who can pull strings can do so. And sons-in-law are always past master at pulling strings, especially if at the end of it, you can see your bank account swell by a few crores, not one measly crore or two, but a hundred crore at one step, as if you were gambling on horses and your number wins the race and you end up cashing your tickets and collecting your loot.
This is a brand new business model, as my friend, Yashwant Sinha, pointed out in the Parliament the other day, before he was rudely interrupted. It is a business model that needs no capital, which makes it a hell of a lot better than buying and selling brassware from Moradabad. All you need is contacts, and flunkeys from the administration carrying out your orders, because you are a son-in-law, with capital ‘S’ and capital ‘L’. All you do is orach your whip, and you can have any document made to order in no time at all. And Hey Presto, you walk away with a cool hundred crore in your bank account, which you can convert into dollars or lira, even before you arrive in Delhi.
In other countries, this is called loot, loot with capital “L”. And this is perhaps the latest instance of how this country is being looted right and left before our eyes, and before the ink dries on the fake registration papers. This is a kind of business model they do not teach at Harvard, and in any case, a leap from Moradabad to Harvard takes quite a bit of effort. Families that have never seen the inside of a university can never dream of such a thing.
I said Robert was not a common name in India. The only famous or infamous Robert we know of is Robert Clive, who too had never been to Harvard or Cambridge but ended up a millionaire ten times over after looting a Nawab in Bengal – Bengal, remember, not Moradabad – and winding up as an earl in England, where, unfortunately, his past exploits caused him so many nightmares that he wound up as an opium addict and, one fine day, shot himself when nobody was looking. He too had looted Indians, not in Moradabad or Haryana, but in Bengal, but the loot proved too much for him, and the poor fellow died choking on opium, of all things, and shooting himself.
Foreigners have always looted this country before making their exit in history. We have been looted, right and left, for the last thousand years, and are still being looted by moradabadi highway robbers who flaunt their connections in Delhi and gather the loot. It is this loot that has kept us poor, not our bad luck.
According to some estimates, at least one per cent of our GDP is stolen from us every year by the modern-day highway robbers like Quattrochi and their friends in Delhi and Italy, including brassware salesmen from Moradabad. You can make a rough calculation from which it turns out that something like Rs 75,000 crore ends up in the pockets of foreign crooks – and their Indian friends – every year. This is equivalent to $12.5 billion every year. So over the last twenty years, when this loot business began in right earnest we have been robbed of something like 250 billion dollars, which is almost exactly equal to our current foreign reserves. It is as if our entire foreign reserves had been stolen by our foreign friends – or people masquerading as friends.
The Chinese, always a clever lot, have found a way to deal with such large-scale loot by people connected with the administration – the firing squad. Last year, they executed over 20,000 people, most of them high officials and members of the ruling party, the highest number of such executions in the world.
We cannot, of course, follow the Chinese on this gruesome business – after all, we are non-violent people and the crimes they commit are also non-violent, such as falsification of documents and, of course, false signatures. When, two hundred years ago, the French discovered that things had gone beyond control, they dismissed the firing squad and brought in the guillotine.
The guillotine is a much simpler device – two steel blades that slide against each other and carefully slice the head from the body and gently deposit the head in a carefully placed basked. Just two blades and a basket, and the job is done. The guillotine is a device that knows no class, gender or age and deals with everybody without fear or favour. If you doubt what I am saying, just go to Paris outside Bastille, which is still used as a jail, and see the contraption for yourself. The blades still show marks of blood, including, it is said, that of Marie Antoinette, poor girl who was caught unaware in the turmoil.
I am not saying that we should set up a guillotine at the intersection of Janpath and Rajpath, but the idea should not be dismissed out of hand. The French are experts in such matters, and if they found it necessary to have one, we should give it a thought and order me from the French embassy in Chanakyapuri.
You may think that I am exaggerating, and we should not panic. Perhaps the next government, which is bound to be other than Congress, will bring things under control, and the flood of money to bank accounts in Italy and other seedy places will come to a stop, though I am not sure.
Anyway, we should wait for the coming election before taking drastic action, and guard all the airports to see that the quarry does not escape, as our good friend Quattrochi once did. And Quattrochi has lots of friends in high places in this country!