Saturday, 27 January 2007
Should we do biz with Modi?
India’s business barons are keeling over each other, desperately wanting to invest in Gujarat. CM Narendra Modi has had them eating out his hands, and the list is by no means thin. It reads heavyweight names like Ratan Tata, Anil Ambani and Anand Mahindra.
And why not too? Gujarat has promised many incentives and Modi is a man determined to bring prosperity to his State, in fact Gujarat is economically the most progressive State in the nation. Also, unlike many other CMs we know, Modi is a kick arse leader, he will come down hard on anyone who dares to even toy with the idea of doing a Singur on Gujju land, the man is a visionary, and has great ideas on the way forward.
Also, Gujaratis adore their leader, they will make sure their ‘Chhote Sardar’ wins by handsome margins in any election, which also provides stability to investors. The worst thing that can happen to businessmen is frequent changes of governments and leaders.
So far so good.
The question to ask is, should ethics, humanity and morality be damned by our tycoons? Should they ignore Modi’s very nefarious role in the 2002 riots? Can they simply forget about the fact that many Gujarati Muslims still need to be resettled, punishment has still to be awarded to the murderers and rapists? Can they duck the truth that even the judiciary lost faith in the courts of Gujarat? How can one do business in a State where one section of the populace is disgruntled, unhappy and angry?
Sure, I know I am talking like a fossilised loser out here, no business is ever done on emotion. As they say, ‘Ganda hai par dhanda hai!’ I recall Sanjeev Kumar’s cutting line in Trishul, and it’s my own reality check every time I see the movie: “Agar jazbaaton se business hota, to aaj har bhikari karodpati hota.” The Tatas and the Ambanis are only interested in stuff like ROI, Toplines and Bottomlines, as they should be.
However, since I am a loser, I would refuse to sleep with the enemy only to fatten my balance sheet. I would first demand Modi clean up his house, be just in his actions, and only then would I sign deals with him. But then, I am loser, and now you know why.
Going back to Trishul, if I ever meet Modi after his financial windfalls, this is what I would be tempted to say to Motabhai: “Aaj aap ke paas aap ki saari daulat sahi, sab kuch sahi, lekin maine aap se zyaada gareeb aaj tak nahin dekha.”