Category Archives: Articles

Vinod Dua was not fearless but a political campaigner

By: Balbir Punj

We lost a well known media personality VINOD DUA yesterday. I had known him for over three decades and his untimely demise has left me sad. He was full of life and a karam yogi.

However, his ‘ journalism ‘ was obviously shaped by the ideology he believed in. In last years of his life, he sounded more like an urban naxal, not as a journalist in pursuit of truth.

Over the years, VINOD’s heavily biased views overshadowed his journalism. He ignored inconvenient facts, or twisted them to suit his narrative. No wonder, in such a scenario, truth was the first casualty. But he couldn’t care less.

Can we call him a journalist? I am afraid not. He was essentially a political campaigner, wedded to his worldview. For him, MODI & RSS couldn’t do anything right, and communists / Jihadis / evangelists did nothing wrong.

For many VINOD was ‘ fearless’. He wasn’t. He was a part of the establishment.

In post-independence India, the ‘Left’ is the establishment. The media and academia are still dominated by this self-hating creed. They have the power to set a national narrative.

Here is an illustration. Commies, along with British and Jihadis, were responsible for the creation of an Islamic Pakistan. For this ‘ Establishment’, Commies are not only super secular , they are the ones ‘authorised’ , to issue certificates of being secular/ Communal to individuals and organisations.

Look at the irony: those who created ‘ Pakistan’ are ‘secular’ and the ones seeking a Ram temple in Ayodhya are ‘ Communal ‘.

VINOD was a part and beneficiary of this establishment for long. He usually toed the establishment line – may be out of conviction or for some other considerations – I am not sure.

However, as a person, VINOD was a good, vibrant and entertaining company. He had a sense of humor, and a capacity to laugh at himself. I will surely miss him and mourn his untimely departure from this world.

India 1989-2014 and after — a paradigm shift

“Why China, why not India?” is a question debated in India without a credible answer.

By S Gurumurthy for The New Indian Express

Why China, why not India?” is a question debated in India without a credible answer. Asking an identical question, “Why China flew, India just grew?” Forbes magazine (2019) answered that it was because of the barrier-free autocracy in China and nightmare democracy in India. Forbes pointed out that in the 1980s India and China were on par, but by 2018, China’s per capita income grew to 3.5 times India’s. To drive home its point, Forbes compared how China constructed the Three Gorges Dam on Yangtze river with how India built the Narmada Dam.

Yangtze vs Narmada

The Three Gorges Dam flooded 13 cities, 140 towns, 1,350 villages and displaced 1.2 million people. Yet, China completed it in a decade. In contrast, the Narmada Dam flooded no city. Inundated no town. Impacted far less villages, just 178. And displaced less than 1/10 of the people the Chinese dam had. But how long did India take to complete the Narmada Dam? 48 years! Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation for it in 1961. The World Bank agreed to fund it in 1985, but went back after Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) began its agitation.

The NBA moved the Supreme Court, which stayed construction in 1995. In 1999, the Court lifted the stay, limited the dam height to 88 metres, but later over 19 years, raised the height in five painful instalments — in 2000 to 90 metres, in 2002 to 95 metres, in 2004 to 110 metres, in 2006 to 122 metres, and in 2019 to 139 metres, its full capacity. Democratic India’s Narmada Dam took five times longer to build compared to autocratic China’s. Why, then, wouldn’t China fly over just growing India, asked Forbes. But the magazine missed the wood for the trees. For 25 years (1989-2014) India had only rickety, compromising coalitions, which had debilitated the economy. This is what Forbes sadly missed. 
4 elections, 7 PMs in 10 years

In 10 years, 1989-1999, when globalisation was opening the lucrative Western markets to the rest, India saw four parliamentary polls and as many governments with seven prime ministers. V P Singh, 11 months. Chandrashekhar, 4 months. Narasimha Rao, 5 years. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, 13 days. Deve Gowda, 11 months. Inder Gujral, 11 months. And Vajpayee again, 13 months. Would the West look at India, the duration of whose governments were measured in months and days, instead of China, which was firmly under one man, Deng Xiaoping? Hoping to make the stable China a democracy rather than attempt to make the Indian democracy stable, the US began “positive engagement” with China in 1993.

Things did improve for India between 1999 and 2014 when India had multi-party coalition governments for full terms. Vajpayee, who had better control over his coalition, had earlier even boldly opted for the Pokhran II explosion. But according to Sanjaya Baru, Dr Manmohan Singh’s media advisor, Singh was just a proxy for Sonia Gandhi who exercised real power. How long would the 10 Indian governments that ruled between 1989 and 2104 last in office was always a question. Result, a whole generation of Indians had lost hope that India could ever have a stable government with absolute majority under a strong leader, like say Indira Gandhi. And so did the world. This swung the world to China.

Paradigm shift

In 2014, when Narendra Modi won an absolute majority after 30 years, the paradigm shifted  and stunned the world. Not just Modi, Indian democracy gained the world’s confidence to the extent that in 2019, US magazine Foreign Policy even said Indian democracy “is the silver lining, even golden lining of democracies” in the world. Had an elected Indian government with a majority of its own been in power in the 1990s, like in 2014, autocratic China would not have been the default choice of the West. When India changed hands from one PM to another seven times in 10 years, would the West need a better reason to turn to China? Result? The early bird China wrapped up 70 strategic partnerships by 2020. But including the US-India nuclear deal by Dr Singh in 2008 risking his government and Sonia’s wrath, the late entrant India could manage only 20. No nation would choose India — whose government could fall the next day — as a long-term partner. This is what changed in 2014. The result was instant. Modi soon emerged as a global leader.

According to the monthly survey of US-based Morning Consult, since January 2020 till now, Modi remains at the top among 13 leaders from the US to Australia in the global leadership approval ratings. Long used to be led by others, India is now playing the lead role in the multilateral fora. The latest G7-plus, G20 meetings and the COP26 conclave testify to India’s lead role. The world is now undoubtedly turning to India like it was turning to China in the 1990s. The UBS Evidence Lab CFO Study, Information Technology and Innovation Fund research, Bloomberg report and Qina Report point to the US and the West shifting away from China to India. Japan-Australia-India trade ministers held a virtual meeting in April 2021 to move away from China in 5G and semiconductor tech businesses. By the strategic Pokhran II, India shed its reservation about global power play. With the people of India giving him full majority, Modi has actually led India into the global power play. 

Plans, to develop

Backed by the absolute majority from the people, Modi set such long-term goals, planned on such scales as not imagined in India earlier. Result, in the seven years from 2014, he succeeded in executing massive schemes like opening bank accounts for 43.81 cr unbanked poor; installing 11.5 cr public and private toilets; achieving six lakh-plus open defecation-free villages; building 2.33 lakh-km long rural roads; constructing 2.13 crore houses for the poor; electrifying all villages; providing electric connections to 2.81 cr homes; fixing 37.8 LED bulbs to reduce power consumption; laying optical fibre to 1.69 lakh villages; giving free cooking gas connections to 8.7 cr homes; extending medical insurance to 25.6 cr people, life insurance to 11.16 cr, crop insurance to 11.6 cr farms; putting cash directly in 11.77 cr farmers’ bank accounts; issuing 22.81 cr soil health cards; lending to 33.8 cr micro businesses; bringing 3.42 cr people, plus 55 lakh self-employed under pension schemes; linking 1.71 cr farmers under e-market; connecting 1.85 cr students and youth with online courses for skilling; arranging 1.46 lakh post office payment banks in villages; issuing 129.5 cr Aadhaar identity cards to every Indian resident and 4.9 cr biometric identity certificates. The list goes on.

The speed with which he worked his plans is measured by just one fact. Till 2014 — in 64 years — the length of national highways built was 91,287 km; but in Modi’s seven years alone it was 46,338 km — 50% more. Modi’s development plans are intensely integrated. He could not have opened tens of crores of bank accounts for the unbanked without providing Aadhaar card to all, without connecting lakhs of villages by optical fibre, without lakhs of doorstep post office banks or without laying lakhs of kms of village roads. Nor without these could he have provided several tens of crores in medical insurance, crop insurance, life insurance, soil health cards, toilets, cooking gas connections, health cards or put cash in tens of crores of farmers’ bank accounts. One would not have been possible without the other or others.

Purgatives, to detoxify

He also administered unpopular purgatives to the economy like demonetisation (DM), GST, bankruptcy law, privatisation of PSUs to make his long-term development plans work. Many fault DM for failing to catch black money hoarders red handed while exposing people to hardship. But what was missed was that DM was a multidimensional venture. It brought the informal and black trade into registered accounts. But for DM, the taxpayer base of India which was 3.79 cr till 2016, would not have shot up to 6.84 cr in 2018 — a rise of 80%. The tax-GDP ratio, too, would not have gone up. Had the parallel black trade continued as before DM, GST mop-up could have failed miserably. That could have threatened states’ finances and the federal structure itself, even caused financial emergency. State Bank of India’s two latest Ecowrap research reports (Nov 1 & Nov 8) have brought out the truth about the unpopular DM. It says because of DM, the Jan Dhan bank accounts rose by 5.7 cr; digital transitions from 182 per 10K in 2014 to 13,615 in 2020 — by 135 times; ATM network growth, that indicated cash drawls, has flattened; the savings in the Jan Dhan accounts has risen to Rs 1.40 lakh cr.

It also says DM, GST and digital transactions have reduced the share of the informal economy from 54% in 2014 to 15-20% in 2020-21. The formalisation extended to 36 lakh jobs, says the Employee Provident Fund office, and to 5.7 cr unorganised workers — mostly in Bengal, Odisha, UP and Bihar in that order — as per government’s E-Shram portal. Cash use of Rs 1.2 lakh cr, agricultural credit of Rs 4.6 lakh cr, and petrol/diesel purchase of Rs 1 lakh cr have also been formalised through bank or digital transactions. The outcome of the formalisation is higher GST collections. For October 2021, GST collection is Rs 1.30 lakh cr. Ecowrap (8.11.2021) also brings out the social benefits of the rise in Jan Dhan accounts and says it has reduced alcohol & tobacco consumption, wasteful spending and crime rates! Truth always emerges, but late.

Forbes went wrong

Integrating development plans with purgatives to detoxify and formalise the Indian economy reflected the Modi government’s long term vision. But neither could have been possible without the other. And, both would have been impossible without bold leadership. Nothing would have been possible had Modi not won absolute majority for the second time. Forbes was wrong in faulting democracy. As the dynasty-led Congress declined, Indian democracy was in distress for a quarter century. Narration of what an absolute majority rule with bold leadership could do cannot be complete without saying how India handled the Covid challenge. 

Covid challenge

Modi’s greatest challenge came within months of winning the 2019 elections. The mysterious Covid-19 hit India. With no textbook model to counter it, Modi had to innovate, experiment with risky, unorthodox, unpopular ways to stop it, but failed. That disturbed the people, crashed the economy, inviting the Opposition to go ballistic. Seeing a golden chance to cow him down and India, China began spilling blood on the borders. Facing the worst challenge from within and outside, which was exploited every minute by the Opposition, he focussed on his Indradhanush Mission to produce Made in India vaccines for Indians.

How important it is can be measured by the fact that in the past, foreign made vaccines took as long as 17 to 60 years to reach India. Had India depended on foreign-made Covid vaccines, first it would have become bankrupt paying for it, and next, it could never ever think of relief from Covid. Millions would have died. As Modi doggedly rooted for Made in India vaccines, the Opposition even cast doubts on its efficacy, causing vaccine hesitancy. Finally, India, one of the earliest, now the largest, producers of Covid vaccines, has vaccinated the largest number of people fully and partially. India has well confronted Covid compared to the best of the world. If the Indian economy is looking up today, credit should go to the Made in India vaccine. 

This is where post-2014 India stands. Imagine a rickety, compromising coalition in its place with some proxy prime minister. Where would India have been with the Covid devastation from within and China firing at the border? This is the difference between India during 1989-2014 and after.

S Gurumurthy
Editor, Thuglak, and commentator on economic and political affairs

How Communists invented Hindu nationalists’ Hitler connection to hide their military alliance with Nazis

By: Abhishek Banerjee for Firstpost

The Communists led by the erstwhile Soviet Union collaborated with Hitler, and shared in his victories, until Hitler decided much later to betray them

For decades now, one of the most powerful tactics used by Left liberals has been their effort to connect the history of Hindu nationalism in India to Nazism in Europe. Left-wing thinkers have harped on this theme endlessly in their articles, books and speeches. With the BJP in power, the Left has been using this to shape public opinion around the world on what Hindu nationalism means in India. But this narrative deserves to be challenged seriously, by bringing out the facts of history.

Because this narrative is not just wrong. It is also ironic, considering who usually makes these charges. Instead of drawing spurious connections between Hindu nationalists and Nazis, we need to know that it is actually the Left, indeed the communists, who were military allies of Hitler. The communists collaborated with Hitler and shared in his victories until Hitler decided much later that he would betray them.

Two things are surprising here. First, the extent to which the collaboration between Nazis and communists has shaped our modern world. The second is how cleverly Leftist historians have kept us from talking about what is hidden in plain sight.

The most widely accepted date for the beginning of World War II is 1 September 1939, when German troops invaded the western frontier of Poland. It is not equally well known that this was part of an arrangement between Hitler’s Germany and the communists in the Soviet Union. On 17 September, the Red Army invaded the eastern frontier of Poland. Having destroyed Polish resistance in a coordinated two-front attack, the victors met up for celebrations and a Nazi-Soviet joint parade in the city of Brest-Litovsk. Western Poland was then annexed by Nazi Germany, while the Soviets took the east. In fact, the communist share was slightly bigger.

The pact between Nazis and communists

We need some background here. With both Nazis and communists looking to expand in Europe in 1939, the two sides decided to come to an understanding. The pact was signed by Hitler’s foreign minister Ribbentrop and Stalin’s foreign minister Molotov at a meeting in Moscow on 23 August. The protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact split Europe into two spheres of influence. Now that his border with the Soviets in eastern and central Europe was secure, Hitler was free to expand the Nazi empire into the west.

In their turn, the Soviets would invade six countries: Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Finland. The brutality of the Soviet occupations deserves mention, in particular the Katyn forest massacre, when 22,000 Polish citizens were executed by the Red Army and buried in mass graves.

This was in 1939-40, during which time the Nazis occupied most of Western Europe, including France and began to threaten Britain. In this period, the friendship between the Nazis and the Soviets was deepened by a number of agreements on economic cooperation. While the more industrialised Germany exported military technology and hardware to the Soviets, the largely agrarian USSR kept Nazi Germany supplied with food, oil and raw materials. When German tanks rolled into France, they were using fuel from the USSR. Their troops ate bread supplied by the Soviets.

Communists courted Adolf Hitler

The events in the run-up to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of August 1939 are quite revealing. By mid-1939, it became clear to Stalin that he would have to remove irritants that stood in the way of a deal with Hitler. One of these was the fact that the Soviet foreign minister Litvinov was Jewish and therefore vilified in the Nazi press. Then, in a sudden move on 3 May, Stalin’s police surrounded the foreign ministry in Moscow. Litvinov was expelled, to be replaced by Molotov. As Molotov recalled in later years, Stalin’s express order was to purge the ministry of Jews. The path was now clear for the Nazis and the communists to come together.

Communists worldwide mobilised to help Nazis

When war broke out, communist parties in Western Europe, especially in France and Britain, had to get creative. How could they justify to their own people that they should welcome an invading enemy? This was a war between imperialists, the communists said. And therefore, the working classes had to be “anti-war”. In other words, they would have to undermine the efforts of their own countries to resist the Nazi aggressor.

Accordingly, communist parties in France and Britain organised strikes in weapons factories and even sabotages. When the communist party in Britain appeared unhappy at being called on to betray their own people, Stalin promptly replaced its leaders. It should be noted that all communist parties at the time functioned under orders of the Communist International or Comintern, based in the USSR and headed by Stalin.

Of course, once a country was successfully occupied by the Nazis, the stance of the communist party promptly changed from “anti-war” to “neutral”. This was especially true in France. There, the communist party petitioned Nazi officials to allow publication of the communist party mouthpiece L’Humanité, which would adopt a neutral stance on the occupation and call on the French people not to resist Nazism.

Communists also signed up with Japan

If there is still doubt about which side the communists expected to be on in World War II, it was removed by Stalin’s actions in April 1941. At this time, the USSR signed a pact with Japan, which guaranteed no war between the nations for four years. This pact did for Imperial Japan what the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939 did for Nazi Germany. With their Asian side secure, the Japanese were free to turn to the Pacific and attack the United States at Pearl Harbour. The USSR was now firmly in the Axis camp, with Japan and Germany. It is indeed remarkable how steadfastly Stalin kept his word to Japan, even after Hitler attacked the Soviet Union. All the way till 1945, the Soviets would not fight Japan, nor give the appearance of helping anyone else who was fighting Japan.

Hitler broke the alliance, not the Communists

On 22 June 1941, Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, or the invasion of the Soviet Union. The communists were taken by surprise. They had sent 5,000 tons of rubber to the Germans in just the preceding month. Now Nazi troops were rolling into the USSR on those tires. The Communists did not break the alliance, Hitler did.

Overnight, the communist party line on Nazism changed. The formerly “imperialist war” was now suddenly a “people’s war”. And communist parties across the world were supposed to help out. The communists rose up not for the sake of their own countries, but for the sake of the Soviet Union.

And that is how the Soviet Union came to be on the winning side in World War II. And no, the communists never returned eastern Poland which they had captured as part of their arrangement with the Nazis in 1939. They permanently annexed it to the Soviet Union. Poland was compensated for the loss of territory in the east by taking territory from Germany in the west. And then Stalin also imposed a communist dictatorship on the whole of new Poland. And on whatever remained of eastern Germany.

That is our modern world, at least until the end of the Cold War, shaped by the alliance between communism and Nazism.

What does all this have to do with Communists in India? It should be repeated that all Communists everywhere at the time answered only to Stalin’s Comintern and not to their respective countries. In fact, the Communist Party of India was also formed as a division of the Communist International at Tashkent in 1920.

All this should be to the eternal shame of Communists everywhere, including Indian communists. But for some reason, it never comes up. We should ask our Left-leaning historians why, as well as our media and our civil society.

Shri Krishna & Ustad Bismillah Khan:

A few years back, Ustad Bismillah Khan was traveling by train from Jamshedpur to Varanasi. It was a coal run passenger train and Ustad was traveling in the third class compartment.

From an intermediate rural railway station, a young cowherd boy boarded the bogey in which Ustad was sitting. He was a dark and lean boy; and he was holding a flute in his hands. Slowly the boy started playing his flute. 

The supreme quality of his music surprised the maestro Ustad who didn’t even know the ‘Raga’ the boy was playing. Ustad Bismillah Khan immediately recognized that the boy is none other than Sri Krishna, the Supreme God Himself. The nectarin Nada-Brahman (Brahman in the form of music) flowing out of Krishna’s flute filled Ustad’s heart with ecstasy; and tears of joy started pouring out of his eyes.


After the stunning performance, Ustad called the boy near and presented him with a coin requesting him to play the song again. Krishna obliged. This repeated again and again until Bismillah Khan’s wallet became empty. Young Krishna got down at the next railway station and disappeared.

In fact, Ustad was en route to participate in a music concert related to Kumbha Mela (a Hindu religious gathering of millions of devotees). In that concert, Ustad presented the new ‘Raga’ (which he learned that day from Krishna). 

This melodious ‘raga’ was greatly appreciated by the audience who begged Ustad to sing it many times. The music scholars around couldn’t make out the name of the ‘Raga’ and they asked about it to Bismillah Khan. Ustad replied that the name of the Raga is ‘Kanharira’.

Next day’s newspapers contained headlines about the melodious new ‘Raga’ invented by Ustad Bismillah Khan. Having read it, Hariprasad Chaurasia, the legendary Musician (Flutist), asked about ‘Kanharira’ Raga’s details to Bismillah Khan. 

Ustaad revealed the truth and sang Kanharira; and Hariprakash Chaurasia, the topmost Flutist in the world, burst into tears of joy.

‘Kanharira’ is a divine gem in Indian music, as it originated from the lotus lips of Sri Krishna, the God of Gods!!!.

The following incident was revealed by Ustad Bismillah Khan to the editor of Illustrated Weekly of India.

Bismillah Khan was born in a family of musicians. His ancestors were court musicians in the princely states of Bhojpur, now in Bihar state. His father was a shehnai player in the court of Maharaja Keshav Prasad Singh of Dumraon Estate now in Bihar.

Bismillah detested studies, so he played marbles on the streets of Benaras. He spent most of his time in the corridor of the house where he could hear his uncles playing the shehnai. Sometimes he even played marbles to the shehnai’s tunes.

Bismilla Khan’s uncle Ali Bux used to go to the nearby Jadau Sri Balaji (Maha-Vishnu) temple every morning. There, he played the shehnai for the entire day to earn four rupees a month. Sometimes Bismillah followed him in the morning, listen to his music, get engrossed and bewildered. 

After the mornings’ sessions at the Jadau temple, uncle and nephew walked towards the Balaji temple. A room was reserved for Ali Bux. He practiced there for about five hours daily. When Ali Bux finished practicing he found Bismillah sitting beside him, listening to him and hungry as well. Never did Bismillah disturb his uncle. They returned home each day after these morning sessions for lunch.

Bismillah often wondered why his Uncle went to the room in the Balaji temple to practice while he could practice at home without being disturbed. Unable to suppress his curiosity he asked his uncle one day. Uncle Ali stroked his locks and answered, “You will learn it one day.” Bismillah was quick to ask, “But, Mamu when will I start playing shehnai?” “Why talk about when; you are going to start today,” he said.

That evening uncle Ali took Bismillah to the Jadau Maha-Vishnu temple, and after the evening shehnai recital to the room in the Balaji temple where he had practiced for over 18 years. Finally, uncle Ali granted Bismillah Khan permission to practice there. However, Uncle Ali came with a note of caution, “In this temple, if you happen to experience or see anything extraordinary, don’t say to anyone.”

Overjoyed, Bismillah practised in the room for 4 to 6 hours. Oblivious to the changes taking place outside the four walls he experimented and discovered new heights and depths of musical scales and melodies. Bismillah was overtaken by the thirst to perfect his music.

One day Bismillah khan was engrossed in his shahanai practice at 4:00a.m in the premises of Balaji temple, all alone. Suddenly he realised that someone was sitting next to him. It was none other than Bhagavan Balaji Himself !!!.

Shocked and astonished, Bismillah Khan remained still. Then Sri Balaji smiled and said, “Play…” But Khan was still too shocked to continue. Then Bhagavan Balaji smiled and disappeared.

Later that day Bismillah Khan went to Ali who is his Guru and Uncle, narrated to him what he has experienced in Balaji temple. Uncle slapped him on the cheek and said, “Did I not tell you not to say anything to anyone? ” … If anyone watched the Video about Ustad Bismillah Khan on Doordarshan some 10 years ago, you would have heard him refer to it again.

Mysterious are the ways of Bhagavan Narayana when it comes to blessing His devotees.
“VICHITHRA-ROOPASTHWAT-KHALU-ANUGRAHAH.” (Dasakam 87, Sloka 7– Narayaneeyam)

Bhagavan doesn’t go by caste, creed or religion. “BHAKTI” is the only criterion.

This story was narrated by author Praveen Kumar Jha in his book Wah Ustad

An OPen Letter to Sh. Narayan Murti

Most respected Mr. Murthy,

Trust you and your family are safe.

I am writing to you on behalf of crores of small retailers, sellers, small family-owned micro-enterprises and SMBs across India.

The first wave of Covid in 2020 hit their business badly. As they were slowly picking up the pieces of their livelihood and business, the second wave is now threatening to deliver another severe blow.

However, these two waves are not the only one that has brought them to their knees. Before Covid, there was another crisis that hit their livelihood and the future of their children and families. This is a crisis that continues to plague them and you, Mr. Murthy, could be a key factor in ending this scourge.

For years, Mr Murthy, you have been the idol of millions of Indians. With your constant emphasis on honesty, integrity, fairness, values and transparency, you have demonstrated that it is possible to build a world class business based on principles of ethics and accountability.

More than leading the Indian IT services revolution for India, what most people consider your greatest achievement is your adherence to the dharma of straight and the narrow. At one point, some people even wanted you to become the President of our country.

Unfortunately, Mr. Murthy, this perfect image of yours is slipping away in the minds of observers like us.

In 2014, your investment company Catamaran entered into a Joint Venture agreement with Amazon to form Prione. On paper, Prione is majority owned by Catamaran. However, in reality, Catamaran owns its shares as a “trustee of Hober Mallow Trust”.

Sir, a mantra that you have always held as core is transparency. In your own words “Transparency is a prime value attribute in the corporate world because good corporate governance depends on transparency.” You have said several times “When in doubt, disclose without any hesitation.” This is dharma that you have flagrantly violated when it comes to Catamaran’s real relationship with Amazon.

Who really owns the mysteriously named Hober Mallow Trust? How much of your equity is invested in these companies? Does Amazon give you a fixed fee or a fixed return for lending your name to this nefarious quagmire of multiple companies, trusts and LLCs named after Catamaran, Prione and Hober Mallow Trust?

You have consistently stonewalled all queries. A recent media report said that all queries with regards to the contributors and beneficiaries of Hober Mallow Trusts and trusteeship fees or the asset management fee earned by Catamaran, were not answered and have never been disclosed.

In your much quoted interview with the Harvard Business Review in 2011, you said “A good company must always go beyond following the law. Ethical behavior transcends legal compliance: It’s about satisfying your conscience, whereas legal compliance is about satisfying the authorities.” Yet, it is this very principle that you have brazenly flouted.

The Government of India, under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modiji rightfully believes that small Indian retailers need protection from foreign companies with deep pockets in doing retail business in India. By law, Amazon can only operate a marketplace and can’t do retailing.

Since 2014, you have been in cahoots with Amazon – through what appears to be a name-lending arrangement with Cloudtail acting as a front for Amazon’s retail business – and defied the objectives of the policies of the Government of India. To what end, Sir? Just for a fixed fee or returns, have you sacrificed the interests and livelihood of millions of small traders in India and left us at the mercy of a nefarious company like Amazon?

Since 2014, when you gave your name to Cloudtail India, it has been the largest seller on Amazon India. On paper, this arrangement does not flout India’s FDI regulations. However, in reality, is it the mysterious Hober Mallow Trust that actually owns and controls Cloudtail. Some signs are clear – the senior leadership of Cloudtail as well as majority of board members of Cloudtail are all former Amazon employees. In 2018, the government amended the laws to stop these practices of foreign retailers forming front companies to carry out retailing. You promptly increased your stake to 74%, but changed nothing else!

This deceitful stealth conquest of Indian retail by Amazon is hurting 100 million families in India whose lives and livelihood depends on their small shops and micro establishments. Due to Covid, buying has moved online and due to your arrangements with Amazon, these small and medium family-owned businesses are left with no option to earn their livelihoods. Sir, Amazon is legally bound to be a marketplace in India. Instead, Catamaran along with a handful of other enterprises dominate and capture more than 90% of retail business on Amazon, leaving little scope for these small and medium family-owned businesses to do any business and earn their livelihood.

Sir, perhaps you entered into a business with Amazon in 2014, in good faith. Now, you have been turned into a ‘night watchman’ for Amazon which is playing a test match to dominate India’s retail business by investing billions of dollars every year.

With every passing year, you are falling deeper and deeper into a quagmire that does not do your good standing and reputation any justice. A Reuters report showed documentary proof that the objective of Amazon is to “test the boundaries of Indian law.” With your multiple corporate structures, you have become a party to this objective.

Sir, you are a Senior and Respected Leader of India. You do not need to be a sleeping partner of an enterprise that is clearly built on an edifice of dishonesty and opaqueness.

You have been on record saying that “the softest pillow is clear conscience.” And that “honesty makes a person sleep well because they know they have done nothing wrong.”

Sir, Amazon is under investigation by the Enforcement Directorate, Competition Commission of India and various Indian regulators. The US Senate is investigating its rampant abuse of monopolistic powers and workers’ rights. Regulators in Japan, Italy, France and Germany are investigating its naked abuse of power and tax avoidance. Is this the kind of company you want to earn money from?

Mr Murthy, do you sleep well, knowing that all the principles that you have stood for and espoused your entire life, have been violated and that is what people like us increasingly believe?

In 1994 at Infosys, you courageously and famously walked away from your biggest client based on the conviction of your principles,

In 2021, invoke the spirit of 1994. Walk away from the mess that Amazon has entangled you in.

You owe this to India and you owe this to the crores of Indians who admire you and once even wanted you to be the president of this country.

Do it for all Indians across the world, so that we know that one of our tallest corporate stalwarts, is not a Valmiki who turned into Ratnakar.

Do it also for your inner soul and your troubled conscience.

Warm regards.

Arvinder singh-

(President all india mobile dealers association)