"Who wants to be a millionaire?"

by Arvind N Das

This Hindi article in Hindustan by Late Arvind N Das was translated into English by Kavita Krishnan and edited by R. Opeh.

'Easiest questions are the hardest to answer.' How Strange!

About 3 million people put down their names to take part in the program KB Crorepati. Surely, GREED is a force to rekon with this nation known for RENOUNCIATION.

All but born fools know that the simple answer to 'who's going to be a crorepati' is two words - Amitabh Bachhan.

Having been a superstar for several years, he is making most of the chance in TV to earn megabucks.

Poor Guy! He doesn't know that it is not Amitabh Bachhan that the public is tuning in for. It is to titillate their greed and to watch others people get money for answering stupid questions. (see him beam if a telephone caller says 'wow!' when he says, "I am AB speaking..."

That the programme doesnot educate was clear from one instance. To the question, 'arrange the dances from South to North: a)manipuri b) Odissi, c) Kathak, d) kuchippudi, the answer was read out by Big B. He didnot tell which dance was from where (which state atleast). He didnot know it either, I supppose.

Lacs of people in India would hope to earn wealth the easy way. What is going to stop people from rejecting productive work and effort? But it is another thing that the media moghul Murdoch's Star TV will earn thousands of millions.

Amitabh Bachhan is not the only peddlar of greed today. There are many such. They not only distort the countries economy but also the mindset of its people.

One peddles the explicit 'dil mange more', others encourage a distorted and 'unstable' economy based on gambling and speculation rather than on production based economy in agriculture and industry.

Years back another person asked, 'who wants to be a millionaire?' - Harshad Mehta. Lacs of people sold onGet Rick Quick dream flocked to the stock market. The bubble burst and MM Singh called it System FAilure! No attempt, however, was made to reform the System. As a result, the chain of greed, gambling and speculation continued, with multinational investors playing a major role by encouraging the unstable economy. As a result of the greed and speculation, the Foreign Financial Institutions (FII) are in a position to make or break Indian economy.

Global capital inveted in India is not from the G5 nations alone. After USA it is Mauritius (an island as small as Delhi) east of Madagascar that invests in India.

2/3 of the $40 billion invested in China was by Non Resident Chinese through Hong Kong. But Mauritius is no Hong Kong and NRIs cannot match Chinese in Patriotism. eg., the foreign exchange crisis of 90-91 in India was created when NRIs withdrew their money from India.

Today indian economyis possessed by the devil of speculation and privatisation. This devil feeds on the mentality of aggressive greed...the stuff the Amitabh Bachan show encourages.

On the side there is this competition to decide who will win this game - Arun Jaitly, RV Paswar, Sharad Yadav or Y Sinha.

In such a double faced situation the Sangh Parivar are forced to play the double role. Swadeshi Jagran Manch chant 'Kabaddi-kabaddi'. bUt when it comes to the crunch, BJP economist Shetty silences the SJM . The SJM turns into quiet school boys. So, Sankhya VAhini or selling of Telecom sector, the SJM falls silent in the end, after its initial eagerness and aggression. One suspects some 'match fixing' here.

SJM is not the players for the people as might be suspected. It is sponsored by those industrialists who made huge profits in the name of 'nationalism' after selling second rate goods to consumers, backward technology to the nation and presents pollution to our environment. So it is 'Bombay Club' nationalism , a farce.

The man leading the SJM is Govindacharya. In agra he appears on the platform of SJM, while in Delhi he is a member of the team to curry favour with MNCs! Thus this game of economic policy has ceased to be the game of contestants. It has become the game of organisers.

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