“Skepticism, like chastity, should not be relinquished too readily,” ordained American philosopher George Santayana. Santayana being a Catholic atheist, his obsession with chastity is understandable. I relinquished my chastity one evening with the ease with which I had the first taste of whisky. But scepticism has continued to be a loyal companion till date. Not even litres of whisky could defrost my scepticism which is more deep-rooted than a contemporary right winger’s bhakti.
Right from venerable Advani ji’s Ram Rath Yatra in 1990 to the present day clandestine yatras made by cash from Indian public sector banks to foreign countries, almost everything that the right wing of my country has achieved made my eyebrows arch though without drawing attention like Priya Prakash Varrier’s arches.
From the time the right wing ascended the throne in Indraprastha four years ago, my scepticism is longing for relinquishment. Catholic atheists find it difficult to let certain things go, however.
The amount of money that a few capable Indians looted from the nation’s public sector banks before finding their safe heavens abroad is beyond my understanding though I am quite good at mathematics. How many zeroes are there, for example, in the amount that Nirav Modi alone looted? I can’t count when you say ₹12700 crore. Then there are the others like Vikram Kothari. Who can ignore the classical Vijay Mallya who pioneered the way?
The non-performing assets (NPA) of the country’s public sector banks rose from ₹2.3 lakh crore in 2014 to ₹6.8 lakh crore in 2017 and it keeps rising. Lakh crore. Do you know how many zeroes are there? I don’t. The figure is beyond my imagination.
All that money with countless zeroes was given to just a few individuals in the country. The Ambanis, Adani and the Vedanta guy, whose plants and factories were set up by grabbing thousands of acres of land belonging to farmers and tribal people, were the chief beneficiaries. The people whose names appear in the Forbes list of the richest persons of the world owe the largest amounts to Indian banks. And what do the banks do to recover their debts?
The banks impose fine on the poorest people in the name of minimum balance, ATM charges, non-payment of agricultural loan instalments, and so on. Then there are the ever escalating prices of essential commodities and the hydra-headed taxes.
Maybe, we will see more and more rich people leaving the country soon to settle down comfortably abroad. I hope our politicians also will do the same. Will the country be able to begin anew then from the scratch, even with ‘cleaned up’ banks, after all the vanishing acts perpetrated by our prestidigitators?
The questions keep rising irresistibly. That’s why I wish my scepticism had given way to bhakti. Without blind bhakti you can’t survive tough times.