Was reading this very interesting Report from First Global on India’s economic crisis. The author, Le Grand Fromage, talks about how once a rags-to-riches occurs, the person who makes that journey cannot adjust back to the “rags” situation – something that happened to the young Azhar (young Jamaal in “Slumdog Millionaire”) – who is from a slum but got all the attention from the Oscars and went all the way to LA for Oscars and came back to his slum dwelling and couldn’t sleep because of mosquitoes!
Well, I have attached the report – which is a good read overall. But this is one bit of information that really shocked me (have put the most important part in bold).
“Exposure to real estate alone was 175% of Net Worth for ICICI Bank, 180% for Axis
Bank and 88% for HDFC Bank…and this was after the serial fund-raisings by all of them..…plus
there was significant exposure to other cyclicals like steel, textiles, et al. Unsecured loans were
(and probably still are) are between 112-165% of tangible networth. Total Sensitive Sector
exposure + Unsecured lending, of these banks is: 305% of Tangible Net Worth for ICICI Bank;
Axis Bank has the same ratio at 316% of Tangible Net Worth; and HDFC Bank, 292% of
Tangible Net Worth. Sensitive Sectors are Real Estate and related sectors + Capital Markets”.
SAARC is the body with the full form – South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. But the body is anything but about cooperation. Cooperation cannot be brought about by formal bodies but bringing together hearts. Some wonder why the nations are not cooperating. Its a good question, but does the hurt of “My land for my God at all costs” inflicted on others ever go away? Is 60 years enough for that? What have we done to get away from that madness? The answer is very little.
Anyways, the Secretary General now says that “nations in the region miss business opportunities worth $8 billion a year due to non-cooperation and could double the amount of investments they attract by checking corruption.”
Personally I feel, for India, there is a great opportunity in reducing corruption. But it cant be wished away. It will require change in attitudes and thinking. That has been the bane of many a generation for all these years in India… and a question that has stumped many intellectuals and thinkers.
Pakistan is in serious turmoil! A blogger friend – Rubab Saleem, who runs “Pak Times” has compiled reactions from Pakistanis from different walks of life on her blog. Drishtikone is grateful that she is sharing the article with our readers.
AMBER KHAN, LAHORE
The personality and the politics of Benazir Bhutto evoked various responses from various people. There are very few people who were so contradictory in their personality and popularity; she was revered as a politician nationally and internationally yet many didn’t approve of her political strategies and gimmicks; she was often considered a leader with a vision and a symbol of democracy yet her government was twice suspended on corruption charges; she was a western-educated, modern woman living a luxurious lifestyle but her home town of Larkana was strewn with poverty. The contradiction list may go on and on. But the truth lies beyond the obvious. Her absence clearly has left a vacuum that can NEVER be filled. With the demise of BB and the legacy of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in the form of his beloved daughter gone, Pakistani politics will never be the same again.
In her life, many accused her of further dividing the already tattering political and social fabric of Pakistan but her death has revealed that she was the only epicenter around whom the divisive Pakistani voters could agree to rally. Her self imposed exile had matured her into a seasoned politician who had become a ray of hope for the oppressed majority of our country. She wanted to conquer not just Sindh but the entire federation of Pakistan. The positivity of BB’s politics was that she had firmed her party’s roots amongst the poor and the lower middle class of our country. PPP’s followers were and still are one of the most ardent and die-hard supporters of true political principles symbolizing democratic values, rule of law and an open, progressive society.
That the country has many people in power with vested and twisted interests is bad enough.. but when the educated people start thinking and believing in nonsensical scenarios that are make-believe – it becomes truly scary! This interview with a software engineer from Lahore – Hamid, Pakistan is one such example.
This guy believes in the following:
1. Islamic fighters are Mujaheedins and are now – used by the Pakistani agencies – killing its own people.
Who was Benazir Bhutto?
Bhutto was the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state, twice elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. She was sworn in for the first time in 1988 but removed from office 20 months later under orders of then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan on grounds of alleged corruption. In 1993 Bhutto was re-elected but was again removed in 1996 on similar charges, this time by President Farooq Leghari.
There are reasons why I call the American administrations dealing with Pakistan blind. Indians knew the reality behind the “alliance” between US and Pakistan when Pakistan got into it! We all knew that the money – in billions – that they were going to get would end up in weapons that would be aimed at us. For, to fight with Al Qaeda, Pakistan did NOT need any weapons. They just needed to “tighten” those idiots. Pakistan’s top brass had their main organization in their hands firmly and tightly! And this is a verity that no one can argue with me on! IN fact, Musharraf had made this claim unabashedly from a Chinese Hotel to his Lieutenant at the height of the Kargil War.
Now, the US Administrations acknowledge that the money given to Pak, in fact has made its way to fighting India as opposed to fighting Al Qaeda! As if the Americans will learn….
In interviews in Islamabad and Washington, Bush administration and military officials said they believed that much of the American money was not making its way to frontline Pakistani units. Money has been diverted to help finance weapons systems designed to counter India, not Al Qaeda or the Taliban, the officials said, adding that the United States has paid tens of millions of dollars in inflated Pakistani reimbursement claims for fuel, ammunition and other costs.
Just found this article on TOI site by Swami Aiyar. It explains the genesis, life and end of Khalistan mess very well and paints parallels with the situation in Pakistan. I agree with him completely! Whenever anyone has raised monsters, you ultimately get eaten up by it. Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sant Longoval, and now, maybe its the turn of Musharraf. The similarities are striking.
For decades, the Pakistani Army and politicians nurtured Islamic militants, to use them as a tool in Kashmir and Afghanistan. But now, a la Frankenstein, the monster has turned against his creator.
This parallels India’s own experience. Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the Sikh militant, went from strength to strength in the 1980s because both Indira Gandhi and Sant Longowal of the Akali Dal wooed him. Indira backed him against the official Akali candidate in a minor election. Longowal used him to polarise politics along religious lines, hoping to ensure Akali political dominance in Sikh-majority Punjab. Indeed, Longowal let Bhindranwale occupy the Golden Temple and launch a reign of terror from there.
Ultimately Indira sent in the Army to kill Bhindranwale. But militancy in Punjab continued, and she herself was killed by Sikh militants. So too was Longowal. Both paid for nurturing monsters.
It seems Pakistan has given a “general warning” – that it possesses retaliatory capacity to defend its strategic assets. The big unanswered question: Retaliate against whom and with what?
Its the same pattern all over again!
Assassinations using the aircrafts are a favorite ploy in the sub-continent! When Sanjay Gandhi was killed it was a plane. When Zia-ul-Haq was killed it was a plane. When Madhav Rao Scindia was killed it was a plane. Now, Musharraf was about to say good bye to his life. But was saved by a hair’s breadth perhaps! He probably took a different helicopter than he was supposed to.
Musharraf is a survivor is anything! He can turn any odds against him from the way he has shaped up over the years. Something inside me says that one day we may see him as the "Most Wanted" in US foreign affair circles. He will be where Osama and Saddam were yesterday and today.
Pakistan’s situation worries me. I am amazed it worries not many people around the globe. Until now, they exported terrorism unabashedly. Then terrorism started hurting them itself! But until now, however much fundamentalist the Pakistani Army was they would use the poor and brain-washed as cannon-fodder. Now an incident has come to light where an Army officer himself became a suicide bomber!
According to reliable sources in the local police, a Pashtun army officer belonging to the elite Special Services Group, whose younger sister was reportedly among the 300 girls killed during the Pakistan Army’s commando raid on the Lal Masjid in Islamabad between July 10 and 13, blew himself up during dinner at the SSG’s headquarters mess at Tarbela Ghazi, 100 km south of Islamabad, on the night of September 13, killing 19 other officers.
The incident coincided with United States Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte’s visit to Kabul and Islamabad for talks with leaders and officials of the two governments.