Thursday, March 16, 2006

Is it fair?

I have no bloody clue. I am dazed. LN Mittal? Well, I once happened to read a column that wrote about the return of a prodigal son. The story, as it goes, is about a farmer. He has two sons who he managed to bring up with a lot of difficulty and happiness. The older son, one fine day, left home to earn somewhere and lead a life more comfortable than what he’d have at the village by tilling his fields. The father was shocked and shattered. The younger son held the family together. He toiled in the fields. He worked hard so that his old parents live comfortably. He provided. Food, comfort, peace of mind for years. He felt he needed to fulfill his duties as a son because he owed so much to the ones who brought him up.

One morning, the prodigal son returned. Was it because he became unwanted somewhere or he now needed his family after deserting them for years? Nobody knew. The father, who was longing to see his son for years - the son who went to lands afar without even telling anybody – was thrilled to have the prodigal child back. Amidst tears of joy he hugged his son and said it was no nice to have him back. Now the family is complete again. That night he called the whole village for a feast to share this happiest moment in life with them, his son had returned.

In one remote corner stood the younger son. He kept wondering – “I could have left my old parents in the lurch to seek comforts for myself in lands new, probably greener, but I stayed back and did my duty. I was never acknowledged and never did seek it. What is my fault that my father has forgotten me?”

The same is the story of a LN Mittal and his bid to take over Arcelor. He is an NRI. He has employed very few Indians. He has made himself a fortune, living in England. He buys steel companies abroad and makes even more money by his amazing business acumen. He now wants to buy a French company that, probably, in no way would help India or Indians. Why do we need to highlight this prodigal tycoon’s business ventures so much? Dr. Manmohan Singh also brought this up with Jacques Chirac. I fail to understand why.

After all these years Mittal has now shown an interest to do something in India. But that’s too little too late. Nothing’s happened yet. Why does our PM need to discuss something that is the personal financial interest of an NRI? Racism, one might say. One may say that what has happened to Mittal today might happen to other Indians tomorrow. Well, something even worse had ened some time back in France. Sikh children were banned from French schools as they were wearing patkas or turbans. The French had said many silly things. Don’t show your religion. It would damage the French. They might be terrorists. Cut your hair. Those people are still oppressed, because of racist and religious reasons. Our media is mum about a greater number of people. Our Sikh PM didn’t find this a moving enough thing to tell his French counterpart.

It is shameful. Probably Manmohan had his reasons. The Sikh in France don’t have Mittal’s money. Or probably Sonia Gandhi had asked him not to. Minority vote bank politics is ok in India, rather it is a must. When the reasons are right, we should shut up. LN Mittal is a very rich man. Let’s please him. Let’s pretend to appease Muslims. Sikhs anyways are a smaller vote bank, unlike Muslims. Probably, these were Congress’ thoughts.

And shame on our free press. Really, Mittal winning or losing another bid is not going to affect Indians in India in any way.


Rajesh said...

Hi Buddha,
Your views are unfortunately true.
Today the brand image of every country is defined by their exports. In terms of fiscal stability as well as the "worth" of a country is estabilished through their business relations.
For eg, till about a decade back, India was still a 'poor' country. Not to mention other adjectives like "third world", developing to some, underdeveloped to others...Japan, US etc were economic powers.
Wealth is not a notion. It is real.
I can cite innumerable examples of visiting US presidents having a secret economic agenda. Forget head of states...Bill Gates was treated like a messiah. The levels to which state governments stoop to attract foreign investments is legendary. The 'VOLVO' and the hyd goverment fiascio is telling in this regard.
Lots to add on...but your effort is laudable...
Hope to see more of such intg stuff.

Belose said...

Probably you are not aware that twenty years ago Mittal invested in steel in India under the banner Ispat Group. They did not do well because the anticipated demand did not take shape in a sluggish economy.