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The interest is cut, finally

But Rajan wasn’t economical with cultured response to savage attacks.

Written by Vivek Deshpande |
June 20, 2016 8:02:37 pm
raghuram rajan, rajan, Subramanian Swamy, swamy, rajan swamy, rbi governor, reserve bank governor, reserve bank, rexit, rbi, india business, india finance, india rbi, india rbi governor, blog, raghuram rajan blog But if Rajan’s critics don’t see any merit in his American or global credentials, why go ga-ga over the American Congress’ ovations and claps to the PM’s speech?. Express Photo/ Ganesh Shirsekar

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan can go back to Chicago and unroll his American credentials. That is where he belongs and for once Subramanian Swamy is right. Rajan belongs there. He isn’t simply Indian enough. Swamy is – he perhaps represents the quintessential Indian. He has his take on everything and that is consumed by his admirers outside the echelons of power with a great sense of respect and by those in the corridors of power with muted response. The former are nakedly open about their conferment of a genius intellectual status on Swamy. Those in power choose not to speak against or supporting Swamy since that can give them the advantage of not being seen on the same page as Swamy despite being there. Perhaps they agree with Swamy but don’t have the intellectual courage to say it. They say it is not the RBI Governor but the PM who investors look up to. So, if PM can bring all investment, why do you need a Rajan to head the lead bank? Isn’t the current dispensation doing good enough without great talents being there at the disposal of the PM? To cut the long story short, if we can make do with the likes of Gajendra Chauhan, Pahlaj Nihlani and Chetan Chauhan in our premier institutions, why should Rajan be seen as indispensable? Nobody is for that matter, except……, we all know who that person is.


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But if Rajan’s critics don’t see any merit in his American or global credentials, why go ga-ga over the American Congress’ ovations and claps to the PM’s speech? Does that make him more admirable for his followers? So, please check on this dichotomy before you trash Rajan’s American credentials.

The argument perhaps could be: never mind if you have American credentials. Even Swamy, too, has them. But be fully Indian, whatever that means. Like Swamy, just slam anyone you don’t agree with and even seek a CBI probe. Hasn’t he himself faced the “CIA agent” allegation? So, what’s about Rajan that he can’t be probed? Even Swamy is a “very capable” economist himself, they would argue. But why is this Rajan guy so restrained in the face of such insulting treatment? Is it because he isn’t fully Indian or is possibly fully American? Why isn’t he giving it back to Swany fittingly enough? Is American culture greater than that of our Bharat Mata?

Remember Venky, the Nobel winner American chemist? Would you say he is an Indian after all? One of those Indians, who have raised the Indian flags across seven seas? But ask Venky. He would take pride in claiming to be an American. So, are our nationalists and patriots ready to accept this magnanimity and maturity? Or they would be as dismissive about Venky as they are about Rajan? What happens to our “Wasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (the world is our extended family) credo? And how about Bobby Jindal, an Indian-American, who became a Christian and also takes pride in being only an American rather than being an American-Indian or Indian-American? He vied for American Presidency and nobody in America questioned his “foreign origins”. How does that compare with our treatment of Sonia Gandhi? Incidentally, when Swamy publicly speaks contempt for Sonia and her educational credentials, the “bhakts” happily spread it across through all possible propagandist tools but when someone special’s educational credentials get questioned, rightly or wrongly, then it’s not done, right?

So, whatever happened to our great assimilative traditions? We owned the Shakas, the Huns and all those, who came to us, don’t you protagonist of Indian culture cite that day in and day out? And Rajan must go back? Simply because he doesn’t genuflect or doesn’t sign on dotted lines? Is this the so-called great Indian culture?

Irony is most confounded with there being people in the current dispensation to defend Vijay Mallya but nobody coming forward to speak a word of admiration for Rajan. Nitin Gadkari, considered the most dynamic of Modi’s handful of good ministers is on record saying that we mustn’t forget that when Mallya was doing good business, our banks earned hundreds of crores of rupees in profit. If one can have that kind of sympathy for the likes of Mallya, doesn’t Rajan deserve much better that what this government gave him?

Strangely, there is something relevant here about the two exits – Mallya’s and the impending one of Rajan’s. While Mallya managed a safe passage for himself despite his questionable credentials, Rajan is being made to exit despite his honest and sincere services to the country. Rajan went after NPAs but was treated like one by the present dispensation. In our system, Real NPAs are allowed to take a safe exit while those who go after NPAs are made to bow out with insults heaped on him. But like the Rupee, which Rajan so painstakingly stabilised, he too will find his due value. Rajans are global citizens that gain currency wherever they go. And, despite the humiliating treatment meted out to him, he only shows his cultural sophistication when he says he will always be available to serve his motherland. Can the Bharat Mata brigade ever match this cultural finess?

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