Slowly, but surely, in the year 2000, India is beginning to erase the Nehruvian social contract that created the public sector and bound the employees to a corporate unit and the corporate unit to the nation. In the age of restructuring and re-engineering that this has ushered, employees are no longer valued resources but expendable commodities. And likewise, the employers are no longer demi-gods and fuedal lords in one. They are going to become one with a mind-boggling scenario of a private sector, where the growing manager with the corporate experience of a lifetime might suddenly be written off as hopelessly old fashioned; and replaced with a young nerd, who along with, maybe the new owner’s driver, will be sitting on a stack of stock-options valued in millions.
Clearly it is time to think seriously about wealth and what it means to be wealthy in India today. The last time Indians thought self-cautiously about being rich through joint holdings with non blacks, was in the 19th Century when the East India Company revealed to the worldly wise Indians occupying crucial positions within the system, the plunder-potential of their land. They got busy right away. This continued for almost a century till historic events triggered off a freedom struggle under Gandhi over the equitable distribution and domestication of India’s wealth.
The idealism lasted barely two decades. Political debates then were all about the baneful influence of capitalism and money. It was okay to generate jobs but not great wealth which could corrupt our most sacred institutions. Slowly some crusading investigative journalists and economists followed this logic and began to glean disturbing facts about the trumpeters of this brand of Hindu socialism. They made dark revelations repeatedly about questionable personal behaviour and financial chicanery that they had discovered among various political groups in power.