Thursday, February 14, 2008


When controversy convulses Mumbai and its social tensions are seen to be politically sharpened, it becomes so easy to forget its proven capacity to survive. The city became a commercial centre in the 17th century when Gerald Aungier, the second governor of Mumbai, invited and attracted skilled and trading talent — Gujaratis, Parsis, Bohras, Jews, Banias. On August 8, 1672, while inaugurating the First British Court of Justice he told the court: “The inhabitants of this island consist of several nations and religions, like English, Portuguese and other Christians, Moores and Gentoos, but you, when you sit in this seat of justice and judgment, must look upon them with one single eye as I do, without distinction of nation or religion.”

Opinion in The Indian Express, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

'It is not worth CAG’s while to look at Rs 100 telephone bills or Rs 200 staff car bills'

How do you define the holistic picture? How is it a step away from what the CAG has been doing so far?
I’m not saying that what the CAG has been doing is not right. No, I’m only saying, prioritise. Government budgets are expanding by leaps and bounds. Which means Government expenditures will increase. But the CAG staff is not expanding. We have limited staff and we have to do the audit in this limited staff. Hence the need to prioritise. We have to ensure that we get to those issues which have a larger impact on society. Maybe NRHM, NREGS. It is not worth our while going and sitting on a PSU, the sales turnover of which is Rs 400-500 crore.
Also, if audit comes up with some findings, it doesn’t mean the findings are malafide. It only means that somewhere some omissions have occurred, it’s not necessarily commissions all the time.

Interview in The Indian Express, February 13, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

Business of bliss

Whatever else the world may throw at him, there is no doubt that along with Osho (1931-90), Mahesh Yogi brought the second wave of Indian Spirituality to the US, which in turn offered both gurus the opportunity to re-export it to the rest of the world. Sitting on the crest of the first wave --- created by Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) in 1893 with his speech at Parliament of Religions in Chicago and Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952) with his life changing 1946 work, Autobiography of a Yogi --- Mahesh Yogi and Osho discarded the simplicity of the first wave and embedded their spiritual messages with matter. If Osho’s outer signatures were his 93 Rolls Royce cars and sex (remember From Sex to Superconsciousness?), Yogi had the Beatles as his students, trademarked transcendental meditation (TM) and levitating techniques.

Opinion in The Indian Express, February 11, 2008

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Have credit, will vote

Has Veerappa Moily lost his mind? Or, since he is only the chairman of All India Congress Committee’s media cell and hence represents the Indian National Congress, has the party lost its aam aadmi plot? Since I ask this question in the context of Moily’s statement underlying the importance of low interest rates in the economy, particularly for home loans, I would argue that the party has not forgotten its poverty-votes story, but has found a new chapter: homeownership-votes.

Opinion in The Indian Express, February 6, 2008