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The waves

As the Wind Blows

Location: Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

19 June 2004

Post Elections 2004 in India, you know which way the wind blows!!

It is elementary my dear Dr. Watson, it is elementary!! It is the “P” word!!! (To state the obvious, Economic Times editorial folks have caught up on a funny habit of using the “stupid” term – It is the economy stupid; it is the Industry stupid; or it is the dah..dah.. stupid and so on. Right from Swaminathan Ankaleshraia Aiyar – he insists on writing all of his names and his wife’s sir name too – to “Team ET” the entire desk keeps popping up this stupid word all over the pink paper. Often I have felt infuriated at this over dose of calling their readers “stupid” !! And to tell you the truth, and to my horror, I found that I was influenced too – I was almost keying in the words “ It is the “P” word, stupid!!! and then I realized my own stupidity(!!), halted midway, changed track and borrowed another phrase with similar connotations! Arthur Conon Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes sounds very dignified compared to ET ’s “stupid” – which may sound camaraderie to some, but sounds absolutely “stupid” to me!! oh. Well, you can’t shirk away a bad influence that easily. It is “elementary” you see… J)

Alright; coming back to my topic today – The “P” word is populism. Make sure you use the right words to impress the public – particularly after May 13th, no one dares to antagonize the “People”. Dr. Manmohan & co., are treading very very cautiously on each of their announcements. The CMP (n Common Minimum Programme, the navigational document drafted by the Congress led coalition government, has all the right words to reassure the public about their intention to protect the “POOR”. Even if you have to announce HARD measures such as disinvestments ( which anyway is a bad word) wrap it in the right silver foil – say use the term “generally” to give you enough elbow room for later maneuvers and in “general” seemingly look “left” while you actually go “right” !! Above all, the key lesson is - NEVER forget to liberally sprinkle the term “Poor” or helping the Poor”, “removing poverty” etc in whatever speech you are delivering – even if you are addressing a bunch of school kids!!

And the latest to catch on this band wagon of “Poor” and “Poverty” sprinkled speech is none less than Mr Julian Schweitzer, Director, Human Development, South Asia Region, World Bank. Read on what he has to say to sustain economic growth for human development.


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