Of kings and commoners



When my bureaucrat friend Pavan Varma, currently Director General Indian Council of Cultural Relations, mentioned that he is off to Bhutan as India’s ambassador, my mind went back to 1991. That was the year that Bhutan’s ruler King Jigme Singye Wangchuk had granted me an audience. My photographer and I were royal guests for ten eventful days.

Pavan Varma

Pavan Varma

Bhutan was then in a turmoil. There was an influx of Nepalis in the southern part of the country. The royal government of Bhutan had launched a census programme to check migration. It branded many ethnic Nepalis as illegal immigrants. There was a war like situation between the natural citizens of Bhutan’s and the migrants who then constituted a majority in south of Bhutan. Measures were adopted to enforce the citizenship law and stress on Bhutanese culture. This antagonized the ethnic Nepalese community. The Royal Government of Bhutan made it compulsory for the nationals to wear the national dress. If the Government levied a fine for those “detected roaming around without wearing the national dress”, Dago Tshering, then Bhutan’s deputy Home Minister ruled that any Bhutanese national leaving the country to help anti nationals will have to forfeit his citizenship.

It was under these circumstances that King Jigme Singye Wangchuk had first offered to abdicate the throne in the face of the failure to untangle the Bhutan imbroglio. Both the National Assembly and all the King’s men as it were, decried it as a “soft option” to a national problem. Worse still, the King granted amnesty to southern Bhutanese who were agitating to replace the existing monarchy with a multi party democracy.

It is under these circumstances that I interviewed the King. He was a good-looking soft-spoken man: very un-kinglike: actually warm and friendly. He was, to put it aptly, a cool, normal guy: sharply contrasting the edgy ushers. Except for their body language, there was nothing to suggest that we were commoners or Wangchuk a King.

I recall that there were only thirty minutes set aside for the “audience” with the King. And tape recorders? Out of question. I violated both: I spent over two hours and  met the King several times during my stay. I also insisted taking my tape recorder for the interview. Our escort was aghast at my guts. Recording His Majesty? Sacrilege…blasphemy…He did not use the words but implied that I was committing hara-kiri.  Worse still when I suggested that I would check with His Majesty his jaw dropped. In the Druk Kingdom, you were supposed to obey not ask. When I walked in with the tape recorder, he thought I would not come out alive. And when the King put his arm around me for a photo shoot, the  burly bodyguard nearly fainted.

It had been a long afternoon. The King was a worried man. Yet he spoke from his heart.  The weakness of any monarchy, he told me, was that a king was chosen by birth and not merit; and a country cannot depend on the hope that in future there will be a wise King; decentralization was important; it is the people who decide the political changes: “The future destiny of Bhutan lies with the Bhutanese people and not immigrants” the King had declared even as the revolt was at its peak.

One thing the King did not grant: an audience at his house: actually a one bedroom cottage where he lived with his four wives: all sisters. He had, we were told, renounced his Imperial Palace to live in the cottage that was out of bounds for everyone. EVERYONE. But I cannot grumble because His Majesty did not fail me. Despite reservations he acceded to my request of writing his biography and for many years continued sending me ripe, red apples annually from Bhutan with a personal note. If anyone is at fault it is I, for not honoring the royal gesture.

Back to Pavan and his Bhutan posting. As Ambassador, Pavan would be presenting his credentials to the current ruler, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk, who is my friend King Jigme Singhye’s eldest son. Despite his intention to abdicate the throne  in the early nineties,  Jigme Singye Wangchuk finally stepped down in 2008. Pavan’s posting has rekindled the thought of taking the former ruler up on his offer of the biography.

Pavan does not know any of this. In fact till I met up with him last week, the thought had not even struck me. Bhutan, I am sure, has come a long way from its yak meat days, something we were forced to survive on then.  I wanted to forewarn Pavan but given that his wife Renu is a wonderful hostess, there will be no dearth of edible food if one chooses to visit Bhutan during Pavan’s tenure.

After the former King, Pavan is my next Bhutan connection. Both Pavan and Renu are wonderful people to know. They are not exactly the happening couple in Delhi. Nor are they the page 3 items. They are good friends and believe in living life to its fullest. Therefore whenever you feel like a party, dial Pavan and he will either organize one or host it himself at his Vasant Vihar home in South Delhi. For those who do not know Pavan and Renu, they are “that couple” who have the best collection of jamawar shawls and temple sarees respectively. If Renu is doning an exquisite saree can Pavan be far behind? In winter, it is rare to find him without an exquisite jamawar carelessly thrown over his shoulder.

When Pavan wrote the “Kama Sutra: the art of making love to a woman” his wife called it an “intellectual angle” to sex. But it was not till Pavan’s mother,herself a litterateur, gave the go ahead that the book was actually published.  That Renu had to suffer the how and whys of her husband’s “daring pursuit” is another matter.

Even though Pavan calls Bhutan a challenging posting, my guess is that Bhutan may be ideal for him.  Because at heart Pavan is a writer. Kamasutra apart, he has written a biography on Ghalib, translated Gulzar’s poems and done another one on the Havelis of Old Delhi. His first book, however, was on a contemporary subject The Great Indian Middle Class that is currently being translated into French.

Hate as I do to say goodbye to Pavan and Renu, I also nurse a fear: at the end of his Bhutan tenure, will Pavan end up as the former King’s biographer? Or savor the red, ripe apples from the royal Palace? My only hope: his turning biographer would be a conflict of interest in his role as India’s Ambassador to Bhutan.

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  • Pradeep

    Enjoyed reading the piece.

    Pavan K Varma’s The Great Indian Middle Class is great work. I enjoyed reading it. His Being Indian also made good reading.

    [Reply]

    kumkum chadha Reply:

    txs

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  • Anonymous

    He amply made it clear there is no likelihood of resumption of talk in the near future .

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    engrich Reply:

    palestanian say that stop land grabbing then talk peace.in oslo they talked 11 years and break everything which was agreed.

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  • Anonymous

    May I ask are you Indian first or Palestinian first?

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  • Anonymous

    Why can’t Syria, Saudi Arabia etc. give a part of their land and create Palestine?

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  • RajX

    What’s Palestine got to do with Zia huq? Looks like the Arabs set the political agenda and expect Muslims around the world to follow that agenda. On top of that agenda is being anti Israeli/ anti Jewish. Zia is just following that agenda. You won’t read articles from him about Chinese oppression in Tibet even though tibetians are culturally closer to Indian culture than Palestinian Arabs.

    When you strip away all the facades, what’s left is that all this palestian talk from people Like Zia boils down to religious affinity misused by the Arab agenda network to almost act like a cult. This is just plain disgusting and actually dangerous to rest of the society to be honest.

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  • RajX

    By the way, why would israleis or any other country for that matter recognize a group of people who don’t recognize their right to exist? I was listening to a BBC program on this topic and not one palestian and other Muslims who are talking for palestians gave a straight answer to the question from the host if Israel has a right to exist as a state. On the other hand, all Israelis and Jews on that program unreservedly accepted the right for palestians to exist as a state. The Palestinians are former Egyptians and jordanians. Maybe Israel should give west bank to Jordan and gaza to Egypt and let’s see how these two countries treat these “Palestinians”.

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    engrich Reply:

    Maybe Israel should give west bank to Jordan and gaza to Egypt and let’s see how these two countries treat these “Palestinians”.

    palestine is historical identity while jordan is 100 years old,came into existence through imperialist bandar baat(monkey trading).

    arabs are ready to recognize provided isreal return back to 1945 terrotery and stop the bussines of land grabbing.how they are opposing the formation of palestine state reveals their true intentions.

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    RajX Reply:

    The Israelis will never give up Jerusalem. That’s very clear and I am sure you understand that too. The Palestinians can make a deal and bring peace and progress to their community or they can unwisely fight for something they can never hope to get against a significantly stronger power like Israel. The bottom line is there is no clean solution to most problems. Land belongs to people who are strong enough to hold on to it. There are communities all around the world who live in lands which don’t belong to them making the original inhabitants of the land powerless. If people all over the world ask for a clean solution to their problems, there will be blood everywhere.

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  • RajX

    So what you are implicitly saying is that the plight of tibetians or hindu kashmiris does not enter the perspective of this Indian who happens to be a Muslim even though these two situations affect india more directly? Why not? Are Muslims programmed to rally only to causes promoted by fellow Arab Muslims? Is Zia an high commissioner of Islam and he is temporarily residing in India? Your statement raises a lot of questions about your mindset.

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  • Jai Khosla

    The Jewish-Muslim conflict started in 7th century Arabia when the founder of Islam, Muhammad, massacred thousands of Jews and then expelled those who would not convert to Islam. Muhammad’s modus operandi was to attack the unarmed Jewish males of the rich Jewish plantations, kill the males, steal the land and other property and sell the widows and orphans into slavery. Of course any young female child that excited his libido landed in Muhammad’s bed.

    Jews were half the population of Arabia and therefore are the rightful owners of half of Arabia. Muslims should first return half of Arabia that Muhammad stole from the Jews. then we can talk about Israel.

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    engrich Reply:

    ignorant jahil khosla,,
    u are liar and propagandist.jews are not arabs they are originally egyptian few of them came to arabia during moses period.at present most of the jewsin isreal are ashknazis who have no history or dna link with palestine.this is absolute rubbish and wrong to say that jews were mascared wqhen islam came.
    they were doing usuar(interest)bussines in that area,enslaving the people and sucking the blood from the veins of local inhibants.
    when prophet mohammed stopped usuary bussines they migrated to venice.

    all other point which u mentioned are nothing but bullshit as crores of jews were living in muslim countries becfore isreal came into existence.

    arab jews are tretaed like shudras in isreal.now they remember their good old days with muslim and christian palestanian.

    dont forget that hazrat omar brought back the jew to jerusalam.christian expelled them.

    like bhaand u only do propaganda bussines without any truth.

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  • engrich

    palestanians wants peace but isreal has to withdraw 1945 terrotery.uno gave them 45%of palestine they are occupying 90%.they are land grabbers and terrorist.ashknazi have no historical calim on this land they should go back to their country of origin.

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  • engrich

    because they were awarded 45%of palestine by uno.now they they have 90%of palestine through land grabbing.they should vacate that land.livein peace.

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  • engrich

    guest bibi is biggest crook.they are nogotiating from last 40 years without any result.negotiaton means to take time to grab more and land from west bank.bibi is a cheater.

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    RajX Reply:

    Well…allhamdulillah bibi is not a suicide bomber nor does he promote suicide bombing restaurants in gaza or west bank nor does he say that he will drive the Palestinians into the sea.

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  • engrich

    rights of kashmiri pundits is recognized by kashmiris.now in india being brhmns they are treated well and are settled nicely.they will not go back to kashmir.they have joined the gang of brhmns who are fkng india.

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  • engrich

    ur comment shows ur lack of knowledge.muslims consider jesus and moses as their prophet and respect them.even now there are 2crores christians living in arab world.
    in palestine muslims and christians are jointly fighting isreali occupation.christian crusaders killed millions of jews not muslims.

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    RajX Reply:

    Islamist jihads killed millions of Hindus and other nonmuslims. They probably killed some of ur forefathers too.

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    engrich Reply:

    when ,can u name where where.can u show anything written by any brhmn of that time who wrote anything bad about moghul emporers.including tulsidas.

    [Reply]

    engrich Reply:

    india was ruled by muslims indians were ruled by brhmns it is they who were fkng indians.sucked every drop of blood from the veins of indians.

  • engrich

    abc force is way to solve any problem.isreal is under of europen ashknaazi jews.jews of other origing are not ready to accept their hegemony hence lot of demostrations and protests are going on there.ashknaazi treat local semitic jews as brhmns treated local indians,shudras.
    now they have seprated even their schools.

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  • engrich

    snil ghaza and west were occupied in 1967 by israelis.but they did had enough jews to rehablitate there.so soviet union was destroyed.jews were taken to isreal.most of them returned are on the way of returning.cannot bear the atmosphere of religious aparthied state.syria has 4500 jews .some of them migrated to isreal,but returned almost immediately.pledging never to go there.

    last jew from iraaq told in lecture to jewish boys that FOR JEWS IRAQ WAS THE GARDEN OF EDEN.U CAN LISTEN HIS LECTURE ON u-tube.

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  • engrich

    bibi is cheater his only aim to hold terroteries.HIS ORIGINAL NAME IS ATTALAH ABDULRAHEEM NOUL.he is from sudan master in nuban language.he was hiding himself among muslims with muslim name.like indian jews(brhmns)are hiding among indians.fooling us

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    RajX Reply:

    Indian Jews are Brahmins?? Hahahah.. You are a funny guy. You almost sound like tajender.

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  • RajX

    Your heart beats for the Arabs but I am sure that Kashmiri Hindus are oppressors. Can’t blame you. You have been arabized.

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  • RajX

    I think ur leaders understand that. Good for you. We, alas, have weak kneed girly men for leaders. They have still not got the guys who planned the Mumbai attacks even though they know who they are and where they are living. Pathetic.

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  • engrich

    sometime they throw projectile to bring their case to world attention.in response they naplam sulphur and depleter uranium bombs.

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  • engrich

    yes i deny.jews of european origin has no right over palestine.
    semitic jews opposed them as vehemently as muslims or christians.
    when jews were descending in palestine,almost every semitic jew gave memorendum to general balfour opposing their arrival.
    this memorundum is available in archive.

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  • engrich

    u are right but ashknazi jews are not from palestine.they have european dna origin is khazr.they have nothing to do with semitic jews of palestine.they are mostly atheist.i doubt if they are jews.once their king ordered them to choose from one of the revealed religion,they have choosen judaism to avoid conflict from western christians and eastern muslim.but i think they are still pagan.call themselves jew to have control of palestine.

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  • Anonymous

    Mohammadanism has produced 1.2 billion morons like Zia…One day whole of muslim world will be called MORONISTAN.

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  • zindagi zindagi

    I have a sincere theory for the disproportionate sense of victim hood felt by muslims the world over and this relates to the origin of Islam from a psychological perspective.

    The mainstream Islamic opinion believes that the fledgling Muslim community in Mecca was under constant attack from the pagans and Muslims had to fight for their survival. It then resulted in Prophet Muhammed raising a army and defeating the pagans.

    What if that fledgling Muslim community in Mecca felt the same victim hood and injustice which Muslims feel now? What if it’s the pagans who were peaceful and Prophet Muhammed due to his convictions or (illusions according to modern psychology) drove the fledgling community into an unnecessary confrontation with the pagans. Abraham after all is a mythological figure to all modern science. And Ka’aba was a communal place of worship at that time to the pagans. So, Prophet Muhammed was the aggressor in the violent takeover of the Ka’aba to the pagan community .

    The islamists and muslims in general are channelling the same sense of disproportionate and invalid victimhood which Prophet Muhammed and the fledgling community of early muslims were channelling in the hostile takeover of the Ka’aba.

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  • http://rohanabraham.tumblr.com Rohan Abraham

    At a macro level view, wouldn’t this create more demand? As prices will be competitive and goods will be easier to obtain for the consumer.

    More demand would lead to more consumption. More money flowing back to the retailer and supplier. While I understand some of that will be kept by the retainer, lots of it would go back to the supplier as well, right? Isn’t it better to have that, than to sit back and say no we cant do it because the farmer will lose? I think that’s quite pointless.

    Using that logic, we should close down large malls, multiplexes etc. Pointless again.

    This is just my opinion.

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  • Anish

    Not sure how this gentleman even allowed to write misleading blog.. Its common sense that this will bring huge investments for creating supply chain, cold storage which will create huge jobs.. Kirana stores are cheat.. they sell inferior good at high price .. with no return policy. If you want to return something .. you are doomed … do you suggest , India should shop all over life in such a manner.. ?? When global retailers come.. competition will increase and consumer and suplier 9 farmer) will be benefitted.. If you are crying for those corrupt middleman than its fine .. they just contorl the supply and artifically increase the price … please do some research and then write… when computers came to india .. these kind of people said it will increase unemployment.. now India as over 25 M in computer related industry .. This is good chance to get rid of this corrupt trader lobbies.. I am coming from farmer background .. and traders will simply refuse to take your stuff if you ask good price … in the end you do not have choice to sell at reduce price as it will rot..

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    Anonymous Reply:

    Eventually this will turn into a farmers vs corporations battle with the govt. on the side of the corporations. This battle is in a advanced stage in America, with the corporations close to winning. See this:
    http://www.healingtalks.com/health/decades-of-suppressing-and-now-criminalizing-of-raw-milk-sales/

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  • Anonymous

    These were the same concepts backward thinking folks always had , when computer technology & communication techology was freed and opened up in india 20 years back – their theory was india will lose lakhs of jobs…what would’ve happened to our youth of india today if then we had listened to them. Let the customer decide what they want and let india have investment in logistics and supply chain and customer front infrastructure…it will be best boon india could have when we look back 10 years from now in both manpower work force it will create and also the modern techology it will bring from Farm to the customer !!! The naysayers will always be naysayers….who have their own vested interests to keep the same old hoaders and middle man traders who are pinching money from both farmers and the customers

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    Rohan Abraham Reply:

    Well said!

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  • Anonymous

    Whatever paul…i too stay in usa for last 12 years and u are absolutely wrong. The single biggest reason for low food inflation in usa is Walmart’s every day low prices and highly efficient technology and logistics efficiency and smaller mom and pop thrives here too. There will be always be small nbr of haters of a company due to their vested interests…you cannot change their mindset. India needs to remove the 5 to 10 touch points between Farmers and consumers. The baniyawalas and trade mafiya unions have been making lot of profit by not paying the farmers and then making consumers asking high price to customers with low quality stuff this has been going on for last 60 years…. In case you do not know 40 to 50 % of india’s vegetables and fruits are damaged before reaching customers. I accolade this FDI opening rule change…this is the best change indian farmers and customers will have…competition is always a good thing. Do not make it far fetched by connecting walstreet demos to these…. You are correct this will be a big inflection point for india…but for good though…

    [Reply]

    Paul Reply:

    ratz,

    You argue that small farmers will benefit from large corporations. Could you tell me how many small farmers or for that matter family farms exist or are profitable in US? The biggest players in Agriculture market continue to be other corporate farms who have been taking over family farms. I live in an Agricultural state and have seen this first hand. The Agriculture subsidies is a s/ham and finally Americans are waking up to the reality.
    I am no socialist but at the same time want a captalist system that that is fair and open.

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    Anonymous Reply:

    paul,
    You are mixing Apples and Oranges. The FDI opening rule is for FDI in retail frontend and not for taking farm land from farmers !! In USA for generations it has been big land owned family farmers. I believe this fdi opening is fair and open and will benefit both in the increase of jobs for workforce in future and also improve our supplychain logistics.

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  • Ram Singapore

    Bhaiya you are right Congress party and NCP honcho Sharad Pawar are behind this game. All this policy has done has confirmed they have done backroom deal with BIG FDI retailers and Indian corporate and mid term elections are around the corner. Congress LADLA Rahul GANDHY and Ms,Sonia are making HAY while Govt is stil in their hands KAL KA KAUN JANTA HAI!

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  • Alexmon

    i feel i will be benfitted by the move to allow foreign direct investment since i will be able to get quality products at a cheaper price. iam sure that farmers will get better price for the products. also wastage of food grains will be considerably reduced

    [Reply]

    Anonymous Reply:

    Eventually this will turn into a farmers vs corporations battle with the govt. on the side of the corporations. This battle is in a advanced stage in America, with the corporations close to winning. See this:
    http://www.healingtalks.com/health/decades-of-suppressing-and-now-criminalizing-of-raw-milk-sales/

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  • Alexmon

    sir,

    the middle man and the small time traders are also not into the bussiness of helping the so called aam admi

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  • hh

    if u eliminate the intermediate 3+ retailer, u are talkin about complete collapse of economy of atleast 30% population, plus the economy of population{doctors, small hospitals, nursing homes, CAs, lawyers, almost all other smaller professional services, esp in smaller cities} which is dependent on this very 30% population….

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  • Anonymous

    The logic applies to Congless too, my bengali friend. Congress is the original Baniya party, and they also get hafta from shopkeepers, more so than any other party. So your informed analysis, is really, just a pile of dung.

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  • Anonymous

    Eventually this will turn into a farmers vs corporations battle with the govt. on the side of the corporations. This battle is in a advanced stage in America, with the corporations close to winning. See this:

    http://www.healingtalks.com/health/decades-of-suppressing-and-now-criminalizing-of-raw-milk-sales/

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous

    guys this is a post by somebody from australia from another news blog

    prakash234 (Sydney Australia
    13 mins ago (09:06 AM)
    You are a fool if you believe that opening up the Indian retail sector will create 10 million jobs. The multinational retailers may employ these many people but it will render many times more unemployed. The biggest losers will be small business owners and ever bigger losers will be the growers and small manufactures. These giant multinational retailers will squeeze the local growers and have no interest in dealing with small to medium manufactures who cannot supply them at the scale and prices these multinationals will get from China. This will render tens of million of small manufacturers out of business while further blowing out India’s already precarious current account deficit. It is true that these multinationals will employ many people but these shop assistants and cashiers are the lowest paid workers how have no further career prospects. A many large business moguls had started their career from a corner shops. Shop assistants and cashiers will not get any opportunity to become the future entrepreneurs. It is pity that the Indian Government did not have the courage to stand up against the tirade of these multinationals. The whole country will pay the price for this timidity for generations to come.

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  • Anonymous

    YOU GUYS SHOULD ABSOLUTELY CHECK WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FARMERS IN THE US.

    Farmers in the usa are now practically slaves to Walmart and Target.

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  • Rodsamuel

    Your comments though correct but are out of context. Where is question of government control or socialism exist in retails sector in India? The retails market in India is driven by private sector and based on market forces. India also has few big retailers- reliance, etc. The issue is of allowing foreign companies. If you think US model is so good then why US is facing unemployment and stagnating economy. It is for these reasons that US is pressuring India to allow its companies to set up shops and boost US economy. The Indian SME sector will suffer as these retailers can and will easily import. Benefits to farmers is unknown at this stage but definetely harm the self employed retailers. New job creation is doubtful rather it will be shifting of employment from small stores to big retailers.

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    Anonymous Reply:

    I don’t think any country’s model is good or bad. I do know that the free market should set prices. Capital should flow to wherever it is used most efficiently. If this means individual retailers will lose jobs, or small farmers will suffer, then that is what it will be. I’m sorry, but people should acquire new skills and make themselves more competitive. I’m not sure where you are going with the US pressuring anyone. The US has been a market to all countries and has allowed all producers to sell their products. In return, what have the other countries given? A whole boat load of protectionism. If now the US asks a country to open a market in return, what is the issue? If this whole process exposes India’s sub par productivity and underemployment, so be it. It cannot be sustained forever.

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  • Anonymous

    Check this out why indian states need to participate in Retail modernization otherwise only those states people will be doomed when they look back at other states which welcomed this….
    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/services/retailing/fdi-in-retail-to-immensely-benefit-states-like-up-says-cii/articleshow/10894881.cms

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    Anonymous Reply:

    1. CII is a lobbying body. Their statements are self serving. They don’t give a sh*t about the small retailers in India.

    2. All this is happening just to allow walmart a foothold in India.

    3. Small retailers and farmers are not equipped to handle competition from companies like walmart.

    4. Efficiency won’t increase magically by just hand waving. There’s nothing walmart can do that we can’t do ourselves.

    5. When Walmart begins to have lot of stores and thus more clout in India, they will become a MONOPOLY. Then they will start to pay farmers LESS. This is what happened in USA. It will happen here.

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  • Anonymous

    So farmers did get a higher price? Sounds like farmers did get benefits. It takes time for things to trickle down. Once 3-4 big players become dominant, it will put downward pressure on prices. On the specific question of apples, more data is needed to determine causality. There may be other factors in play. But, one the whole, small farmers and small retailers are inefficient users of resources and are a cost to the economy. I get the moral argument. But, inefficient resources should find a way to get new skills, or be simply left behind. Yes – the world is cruel, I get it.

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  • Abu Ahmed

    Pragmatism is good – and you do not have to break the egg for being a pragmatist as there are various ways of having an egg – like boiling it instead of frying it. So neither the Congress nor the BJP can ignore the historical ties that India has with West Asia – the BJP went out of its way to bypass all old West Asian friends and make freinds with Israel and paid the price for it in the 2004 elections. So have the egg without breaking it – boil it first – be friends with Israel without being an enemy to others – even the American Jews are getting sick of Israel and its extremists, so why are you intent upon licking the Zionist shoe?
    People voted out Bush because they had fallen sick of him and brought in Obama in the hope of a fresh perspective. Obama could not do much for India as India never figured highly after 1947 in the US’s scheme of things. Now that the Yankees are suitably disillusioned with Pakistan, both the democrats and the republicans would like India to join hands with America for containing China, that is why Obama allowed australia to sell uranium to us.
    The american president, either republican or democrat, would act in the interest of his own country – nobody would support India for altruistic reasons. Bush loved India as he was hated throughout the world. Obama started twisting our arms as he had to sell defense and other things to us. Moral of the story – we have to proceed on our own path without breaking old ties the way the Yankees do. The Yankees can afford to break hearts because they have the money – we can’t as we don’t have that kind of resources.

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    Arnab Mitra Reply:

    Several countries, including many in the Arab world, have ties with Israel while supporting the Palestine cause. Why should India do things differently?

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    Arnab Mitra Reply:

    It’s a quid pro quo… India has to decide: what does it want… and what price is it willing to pay for it…. for this, the govt will have to do a hardnosed cost-benefit analysis to decide which positions it can give up and what it wants in return.

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    Abu Ahmed Reply:

    Exactly – the West Asians not only absorb millions of our work-force, they are also a very big market for our products; its another matter that we are not pushing our products there as much as we should. And we are also dependent over their oil. What more quid pro quo status are u looking for? Do u realise how much US$ we are receiving from our work-force based in the West Asia – all white money, hard-earned and squeaky clean. Israel is dependent over us for its defense products – we are not dependent over Israel for anything at all, apart from pleasing the Americans Jews and following an anti-Muslim line. Don’t fool yourself, it won’t take u any further – whereas West Asia is the place where we can export our labour as well as agro- industrial products.

    Anonymous Reply:

    India should never go on muslim line India should support isreal , then to support terrorist muslim nations

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  • JJJackxon

    1. I agree that US Republican economic nostrums are crazy but Republicans have a global vision which places India near the epicenter (including a Japan-India-Australia-US alliance of democracies). India can really use US support to slay its own demons, for example, the politically paralyzing fear of China and of FDI in retail and to move toward a strategic alliance with Vietnam and yes, Taiwan.
    2. As long the US is kicking *** with Pakistan, Pak will try to make nice with India. The moment that stops, Pak will be back to its hate-India, terrorize-India institutionalized habits. Indian policy should be to quietly build offensive military and anti-terror capabilities and encourage the break-up of Pak. After so many years and so many wrong turns, there simply is no other way.
    3. India does not have to match China’s military power at every point but it does have to do so at the BORDER and in the NAVY. China does not want to occupy India; their policy is to cow India into psychological submission so India does what China wants without the Chinese having to attack India. Strengthening the border must include capabiity or offensive retaliation as well as political and military readiness to liberate Tibet (dont scream). As Indians and Chinese see that India is serious about defending itself, China will begin to accept India’s rise and Indian citizens will become less hysterical re Chinese intentions.

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  • Gt12563

    Both Democratic and GOP have same policies towards India and whoever wins in next election will not make much difference but most probably Mr.Obama will win because GOP does not have any strong candidate.Regarding China we have to take care ourselves on eastern border by strengthen our armed forces with latest weapons and modern infrastructure and ballistic missiles with nuclear weapons.America always thinks her own interest first and there is no permanent friendship with any nation in their books and generally do not change its foreign policy easily.What Mr.Bush did it was good for both countries and not alone for India.My guess is Obama adminstration was disappointed when India decided not to buy 126 fighter planes and change his adminstrations attitude to wards India but it may change soon.

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  • Anonymous

    This is perhaps the stupidest article I’ve read this month. The best corrective to the flawed nostrums about the true nature of the Republican Party is to be found by watching any of the dozen of the debates among the Republican candidates. Almost without exception, their number one priority is to side with Israel to the exclusion of all other foreign affairs. And they have been vocal in their intentions to start war with Iran if possible. They propose doubling down on Bush’s disastrous economic policies and deficits for as long as the eye can see, which needs must cause a drastic retrenchment of any US activities in the Pacific theater. Put very simply–and entirely from an Indian perspective–if you were to side with Republicans, you would lose medium-term certainty of an American alliance (surely you remember that China holds much US debt and may not continue to bankroll its own entrapment) and you would probably also lose attention in the short-term, since they are much worse at prosecuting the wars to your west THAT THEY STARTED IN THE FIRST PLACE. If all the treasure rests between Israel and Iran, you’re only lucky that Obama is ending the Iraq war now so that maybe there can be some oxygen and political capital to tend to the Indian-American alliance.

    Just remember: the mountainous debt problem that the US finds itself in was incurred because of Republican policies. That, and the expensive and distracting wars that the Republican war machine started in Southwest Asia has weakened America’s financial (and thus, military and diplomatic) position, exposed it to weakness via China, and distracted America from more determinedly cultivating relationships with partners in South and Southeast Asia. Note that the spiralling debt under Bush was enabled by China and the contours of that relationship allowed China to keep their currency low and embark upon a decade of economic growth by exporting to America. Thus, to the extent that Obama is able to reverse all of Bush’s messes, India and America may very well be brought into closer harmony. (You will remember that without a war in Afghanistan the Pakistan-American partnership would not have gotten so much play over the last decade, especially as India was liberalizing and could have served as a more preferable economic trading partner to China.)

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  • Marc Levy

    Why would you “love” Obama? He’s owned by the same private central banks he decries in his two-faced bs speeches. He’s taken more rights from Americans than Bush ever did with indefinite detention. He’s caught red-handed running guns that were used to kill police officers, and who knows who else, to Mexican drug lords; then has the nerve to use it as pretext to take more rights away from Americans. If you can’t see by now that Obama is not the swell guy he poses as for the fools, you’re a fool. He needs to go, and Ron Paul is the only choice that isn’t cosmetic and insignificant. The ONLY choice.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DLQATMMACSKP7ZAHYWR7BDSHMI Bharat

    On the balance of things, President Obama is likely to win the next Presidential term. This article has too many suppositions, assumptions, and presumptions. Even factually, everything may not be correct!

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  • Abu Ahmed

    I am definitely interested as a Muslim in having good relations with the west Asian countries as Indian Muslims have to go on pilgrimage to Makkah & Madina! That does not mean that we have to be enemies with Israel, not at all. Israel is a foreign policy arm of the USA – when it goes to war, it is akin to the USA being at war with Israel’s imagined enemies. Iraq or Iran were never and will never be any threat to the US – but it destroyd Iraq and is now at the verge of launching a war against Iran – all in the name of defending Israel! Whereas the easiest route for Israel to keep peace in the neighbourhood is by accepting the Palestineans rights and allowing them to have a state of their own. However, the whole point of creating Israel in the middle east is altogetherly different, with which we have nothing to do. The Arabs and Muslims have lived in peace with the jews since the advent of Islam all over the middle east, whether in Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, algeria, Morrocco, Turkey… u name the Muslim country and there you would find Jewish people. Whereas Jews were persecuted all over Europe throughout history and were finally kicked out and sent to a newly-created state of Israel as good riddance. It is the extremist Zionists who in their quest for power, are creating mischief and trouble in that part of the world. Arabs and Muslims have no fear of neither the Zionists nor the RSS, we can easily take care of any challenge – the need is to balance things in India’s favour and that requires having best of relations with West Asian countries without licking the zionists’ boots.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_A34THPGSJZOZVPEDR3O2JYV7VM edward poe

    Please give the whole neo con agenda the proper salute that it merits. Flush the toilet and go on with your day

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  • http://www.facebook.com/swamyg.swamyg.3 Swamy G

    For one thing, however mute and inconsequential it was, he was indeed punished by his organization and he himself wrote a email and agreed for “atonement” of being away for six months (“tejpal leave”). Second, plenty of circumstantial evidence that has been reported in the newspaper. Third his highly conspicuous silence and his deputy Ms Chaudhary’s stances that keep shifting every hour and yet in each incriminates Mr Tejpal.

    There you go!

    - SwamyG

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    chinu Reply:

    teju IS guilty according to his first letter. but you are right, in a few cases the alleged perpetrator may be the victim.one has to live with it considering the times we live in-when a very large number of women are being molested and raped.

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