Rajnee thi…

 

Every time a non Rajni fan watches a Rajni movie their utter bewilderement is far more exaggerating than Rajni’s stunts themselves. But at this moment I think of Rajni’s block buster Sivaji which dealt with the subject of black money. My thoughts strayed towards superstar Rajni after watching some discussions on the subject of black money on Twitter initiated by Pritish Nandy. In the movie Sivaji, Rajni valiantly states while flipping chewing gum in the air that humongous amounts of wealth are stashed away in Swiss Bank accounts. I cannot recall the exact amount that he had said in his dramatic dialogue but it sounded exaggerated. However, reports as of April last year have stated that black money stashed away could be to the tune of 70 lakh crores ( I may have missed a zero too )and it was beginning to sound even more incredible than Rajni’s own incredibility.

Most are guilty at some point of their lives. Some fall prey to hoarding of wealth, amassing it to his own defined proportions and avoid paying taxes. The amount that is black in nature varies from individual to individual. It is not only the ultra rich who are good at this catch me if you can game, the middle class is as guilty. Property sales in India remains a profitable area to conceal transacted values. The agreed price between the buyer and the seller on most transactions is at least 30% to 40% higher ( and more ) than what is on paper. The buyer benefits in paying a lower property registration fee / stamp duty  and the seller in terms of non declaring the full proceeds in his assessable income under capital gains. This is only one reason why such transactions occur. If the buyer and seller do not wish to reveal the trail of transactions then “benami” registrations are common. The chain is rather long in most such transactions and the babu who sits in the Government offices has an itching palm. The babu demands a bribe for moving files, he demands a bribe for getting the property registered and he also demands a bribe for turning a blind eye towards the value of the registered property. All links in this chain have accumulated black money, top down.My point of talking about property registrations is that this is one area amongst a myriad others where most bypass the law. There is of course black money that is made from illegal trades from the arms trade to drug trafficking to human trafficking to human organ trafficking. Even begging in India is a big time business. Some of these beggars earn more money than you and I, guess who is the needy one now? The list is endless. Even traders do not issue bills and escape paying sales tax, service tax, customs and so forth.

Back to my favorite movie Sivaji, Rajni uses his typical “Rajnee thi” tactics and with a group of his sidekicks bashes the living daylights out of tax evaders. In fact he uses a warehouse for storing gunny bags of cash that he gets back from the evaders and uses the same cash to develop villages in a glorifying manner. Our fantasy to eradicate the black money racket starts and ends in movies. At least we have a hero who can make this happen in reel life and maybe we should get him to do this in real life too if he puts his foot in the dark world of Indian politics.The policy makers of this country will never take any strict action against those who have stacked away their cash in Swiss banks and unlike what is happening in the US, where the IRS has tightened disclosure requirements for its citizens and corporations alike, India will sit like a flightless duck that only quacks. The policy makers themselves remain the biggest accumulators of black money in the brotherhood of evaders. The big brother in India is a blind boy.

What can we do? Many come up with excuses that they do not pay taxes because the Government is anyway corrupt and swallows up the tax money and the Government does not spend enough for the welfare of the state. Yes, the netas swallow our money and burp on our faces but this is no excuse. So long as there is one among ten of us who think and do the right thing, there will also be one among ten in responsible positions in the Government too who will do the right thing.We all need to adopt flashy Rajni’s art of living and dealing. Lets wear our dark glasses but lets not be blind to what is happening around us. Lets stylishly flip coins in the air but lets ensure that when the coins fall, the right number fall in public coffers. Lets beat up those greedy babus who stretch their hands out demanding a bribe for issuing a license or registering our property. A tip to tackle the baddie, watch the video –

No, we do not have to be so over the top really.Have you tried yelling at these people? You may not succeed in getting your file moved to the next table, there are bound to be delays, but the earful you can give these people does embarrass a few not so thick-skinned buffaloes. You can shame them, use expletives if you must but do not go with the flow. We must stop participating in what has now become a national past time, bribery and lethargy. Why should we pay those who are meant to be doing their jobs. The next time you get caught for a traffic offence, do not wag a five hundred rupee note in front of the sooty traffic inspector’s face, instead get him to give you a slip, insist on it and pay up at the station. If more of us start doing this, the cops too will not unnecessarily catch us and will get jaded that he cannot fill his pockets. I have NRI friends who regret not living in India. When I ask them what is it about India that you miss, pat comes the reply ” In India we can do anything, life is cool”.Patriotism is never the reason, the way of life always is.

I complain far too much about everything around me, the change must start in me and then I will complain more. In parting, a punch dialogue from Rajni – En vazhi ? thani vazhi.”– “My way is a unique way.”There is nothing Rajni Kant and there is nothing we cant!

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42 Responses to “Rajnee thi…”

  1. Black Money = Swiss Bank ! What an Equation!? Money stashed in that bank would be worth making USA Economy in surplus in current situation. Gosh! someone could bring that money back to stabilize this fluid situation which has not hit Rock Bottom yet it seems. 😦

  2. parmaatma Says:

    Sharmila,

    ‘En paera Rajni, teriyamma?!’

    Black money is an interesting feature in Keynesian economics. Being a Finance professional I am sure you would be able to place it’s role more precisely in the overall picture.

    From a layman’s view, black money is that amount for which taxes have been evaded.

    But the money held in foreign accounts are tax free in any case. The swiss bankc hold money in US dollars, if I am correct. Why should that be called black-money?

    🙂

    • Sudhir – There is no restriction for holding currency in US$ alone @ the swiss banks. Its tax free in Switzerland, but income was earned in India and hence taxable in India. Besides it does not matter what profession any Indian wishes to be in, he could be a drug dealer or a gambler, his income is assessable.

  3. Aishwarya Says:

    Sharmila,

    As a layman, I feel the most common reason we fall prey to bribing is our lack of time. In a country as populated and corrupt as ours, push and shove and pay our way seems to be the only way through.

    My first experience with bribing was in 1991. All bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, proud to have qualified in the All India Entrance, I waited with my parents in the college office for the admission formalities. Despite being ahead in the queue, the clerk kept rejecting my papers saying it was ‘incomplete’. By evening, we were tired, hungry, and frustrated. Thats when one of my batchmates who had gotten his papers told us that the clerk has to be bribed. Silly NRIs that we were, we never knew! As soon as dad paid him, the clerk smiled and within seconds, the formalities were complete, the dean welcomed me and I was in!

    Its a no-win situation! You are right, we need more Rajnis from reel reeled in.:)

    Good post, Sharmila.

    • parmaatma Says:

      Aishwarya & Sharmila,

      I could write an entire book on the state of corruption but I’ll have to grease the palms of several bureaucrats before they let it slip throught their hands! I’ll probably get a kick in the back if I don’t pay kickbacks!

      Long ago, when Mrs. Indira Gandhi went into the nationalisation mode there was a flurry of empowerment of government officials.

      The land reforms confiscated the wealth of royal families, removed Property from the list of fundamental rights in the constitution, nationalized banks, empowered the Reserve Bank of India, declared the government Collector as the rightful representative owner of all property in a district, taxed everything excluding oxygen!

      The result was there to see.

      Walk into any government office and feel the general ambience of the government employee. His attitude is simple and clear. He owns everything. Private citizens live only to make him happy and serve his needs. His only duty is to keep the private citizen on a leash. The government officer rules. He is the chosen one!

      When Mrs. Gandhi drew the socio-demoractic model, supporters RK Karanjia and detractors like Khushwant Singh had no idea what sort of monster had been conceived.

      The ideas were simple to an extent. The infrastruture development like roads, electricity, schools, pharmaceuticals and basic utilities required huge amount of money to buy the services.

      She set up Public Sector industries to acquire all the natural resources and generate direct income for the government.

      Everyone including the richest of the rich and the biggest industry in India is merely a contractor to the government. They have leased rights to produce and manufacture goods. The raw ore has to be purchased from the government.

      All that revenue translates into a defense budget of USD 1.5b , a civic budget of USD 3.2b apart from railways and other government owned businesses.

      This sort of ownership I feel is the cause of the corruption.

      🙂

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Sudhir,

        Too many rights for the govt. and too less for the public. The govt has redefined democracy to their benefit, they might as well coin a new term for it.

        Between the bomb scare at TVM airport, hassle over AB as the brand ambassador, and Kochi for the IPL, Kerala is all over the headlines. Whats in it for the public? No security anymore, no benefits whatsoever…

        No wonder my heart is still in Dubai.:(

      • parmaatma Says:

        Aishwarya,

        Are you sure your heart is Dubai? I thought Rajesh is in Bangalore!

        Kidding,

        🙂

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Lol..Sudhir,

        Na jaane kahaan dil kho gaya…:)

      • parmaatma Says:

        Aishwarya,

        Dil-e-nadan tujhe huaa kya hai,
        Aakhir is dard ki dawa kya hai

        … … … Innocent heart! what has affected you
        … … … What is the medicine for such a pain?

        Maiyn ne mana ki kuchh nahin ‘Ghalib’
        Muft haath aaye to buraa kyaa hai

        … … … I know, “Ghalib”, is of no consequence
        … … … But if he comes for free, whats wrong?

        🙂

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Sudhir…thank you. Hmmm…kya kahoon ke sharm se hain lab sile hue…:)

      • I understand that the connected are contractors, it is about time PSU’s are not government owned and must be decentralised. Its funny how a centralized model works in China and decentralized in India.

    • Aish – Only Rajni can save us.Period…:)

      • parmaatma Says:

        The Chinese model is what I am afraid of actually. There is a good objective study of the Chinese model I had studied once on the BBC webdsite. I will post a link if I can find it.

        There is a fundamental aspect of Freedom that we are missing.

        Mahatma Gandhi had seen that and wrote about it in Young India when the country was celebrating independence. He wanted the Congress to be dissolved. His contention was that the congress had done its job and now it should leave the people alone to themselves. It was a strange thought and naturally everyone discarded it.

        But there is a lot to learn from his thoughts about freedom. Governments are for governance and administration of the law – which means power over the lives of the citizens. It is not about representing the desires of the people or serving their needs. It is actually about subverting the freedom by making rules and restrictions in the name of their welfare!

        Sounds ironical but true in many ways. Anyone who knows his human rights will always stand against governance. He becomes an outlaw.

        🙂

      • Thanks Sudhir, no wonder the Mahatma was called such.

  4. parmaatma Says:

    A good relief. I have at last got my 17″ HP laptop back. Big wide screen! I can read what I am typing. 🙂

    The tablet was difficult to read and made my views narrow.

    Now, get your all New Broad Minded Sudhir.. Free!

    🙂

    • Glad that you will be getting a broader perspective from this space..

      • parmaatma Says:

        Yes 🙂

        God is in His Heaven and alls right with world.. at last!

        🙂

        I am sitting 2 feet away now, without my specs and I can still tell you what I am thinking!

        🙂

  5. A very valid and interesting point that you made while mentioning that,why and how black money is made…..you are a CA right….have you caught or noted someone do so somewhere in your service 😛

  6. I’m back!! No, I hadn’t been to Switzerland, but was sick. Diagnosed with terminal laziness and a bit of madness too.

  7. Reprising my role as poster of small steps in the right direction, if I may.

    Sometimes a good idea and private initiative can make a real difference!

    WATSONVILLE — Three years ago, two native plant buffs began collecting cuttings from their favorite old redwoods around the county.

    Some came from a giant tree that fell across Highway 1 in Aptos, blocking traffic for an afternoon. Others came from a stately redwood near Good Shepherd Catholic School on Mattison Lane, while still others were snipped from trees off Branciforte Avenue in Santa Cruz. Even more were taken from trees along back roads through the Santa Cruz Mountains.

    The two men potted the cuttings and watched them take root. This spring, 300 to 400 cuttings from about 40 trees around Santa Cruz County are destined for soil along the Highway 1/17 Merge Lane Project, which wrapped up in 2008. The 8-foot-tall seedlings wait for their big move in 5-gallon pots at Monterey Bay Nursery outside Watsonville.

    “There’s a lot of trees that people recognize that will be out there,” said Luen Miller, 54, who owns the nursery.

    The redwood tree project is the brainchild of Clark Magruder, 59, of Santa Cruz. A native plant fanatic and Miller’s good friend, Magruder attended public information meetings before the Highway 1/17 project broke ground in 2006. That project widened the two highways to six lanes across from the Pasatiempo overcrossing on Highway 17 to the La Fonda overcrossing on Highway 1.

    “I read the landscape plan and it said they were going to plant hundreds of redwood trees, and they would all be one clone,” Magruder said.

    Not only would the genetically identical trees look like a uniform hedge, Magruder said, they would descend from a cutting originally clipped in — gasp! — Humboldt.
    So Magruder called Miller and then Caltrans, which allowed the two men to take matters into their own hands.

    Magruder “suggested that since I was using a lot of redwoods, we should try to plant native Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods instead of generic nursery stock,” recalled Caltrans landscape architect Bryan Parker. “He said he had a friend with a commercial nursery who might be interested in helping us out. … When I called Luen, he was already planning the details of how to do it.”

    Parker said he told Miller the state couldn’t pay him for years, and even then it would be at the state’s rate and only for sizeable, thriving trees. That didn’t faze Miller and Magruder, who now have the cuttings lined up and numbered, according to which tree they came from. Their supply is expected to make up 80 percent of the redwoods that will be planted alongside the construction project, along with coast live oaks, native grasses and wildflowers and vines up the soundwalls.

    “I have to live with this project, so I might as well do it right,” Miller said.

    At the nursery, genetic differences between redwoods are obvious in the bright sunlight. Some branches angle up while others point down. Some trunks are noticeably fatter than others, while other trees are significantly taller. Needle colors range from deep green to yellow-green to greenish-blue.

    Miller and Magruder said they plan to plant genetically identical trees together in rings, similar to the circular groves that naturally sprouted from the roots of logged redwoods around the county.

    “It’s the look you see in the Santa Cruz Mountains,” Magruder said.

    While the cuttings come from locally prominent trees, Miller said he and Magruder did not sneak them from famous state park redwoods, like the Mother of the Forest at Big Basin Redwoods State Park or those in the old-growth Redwood Grove at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.

    Lincoln Taiz, professor emeritus of molecular, cell and developmental biology at UC Santa Cruz, said the genetic diversity of Miller and Magruder’s collection should ensure more trees fare better than the typical nursery stock under stressful roadside conditions.

    “Trees growing alongside highways are under stress, and you’ll see they look a little scrubby,” Taiz said. “Having genetic diversity makes sense because you have a higher likelihood that some of the trees would be able to survive the stresses.”

    • parmaatma Says:

      Renate,

      That is nice.

      Last year I spent a few weeks trying to learn the basics of medicinal plants. I found that there are over 30,000 plants in the Indian state of Kerala that are good for human life.

      This is one subject I hope to study before I kick the bucket.

      🙂

    • Wow!..Trees think and behave like us and stress remains a big killer for all of us. The redwoods are such glorious trees.

  8. parmaatma Says:

    Sharmila,

    Following is a link to the Chinese model:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/in_depth/china_politics/government/html/1.stm

    🙂

  9. No system is ‘THE PERFECT’ one so far. Every system has its downside but by far, whatever works is good enough.
    However always afraid of Communism/Maoism. No matter how great it looks, i always found it scary.
    USA didn’t do a wise thing making China so strong financially.That’s another gift to us from our politicians. Oh !Well! what you gonna do!?? 😦

  10. Where have you been di………may be you too were watching IPL.WOW,what a game.I’m certainly gonna write something about it.It was damn exciting.Really loved it!!!!!!

  11. Sharmila,

    I wish you joy and a lot of time with AB tomorrow/today! You probably won’t have the opportunity to give him my love, too….but a girl can dream, right…. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  12. parmaatma Says:

    Thanks,

    But I wonder what he would have done if he was around today!

    🙂

  13. Hi Sharmila:
    Just read in Amitji’s blog that you met him today. That truly should be experience you cherish for yourlifetime. Awaiting to read and view some pics. But I think you have met him earlier too. Was it you that you had met him at last year’s IIFA award cermony.If not, please pardon me. BTW I had met Junior Abhi and Ash on 2 occasions when they visited LA.It was great experience and will share it here someday. Treasure these moments.
    Lucky you :).
    Maja madi 🙂 ( Bangalore style)
    Rajesh

  14. […] Read the rest from here […]

  15. […] While at the middle of this post, I recall writing a bit more on the same topic from a cinematic sense -https://sharmilasays.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/rajnee-thi/  […]

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