For Rajat Gupta, the worldwide head of McKinsey Group, all good things in life has ended with his sentencing by the US courts. His crime has been insider trading, a crime which to an Indian is no crime at all. For an Indian, while it is important to accumulate and show that wealth off it is not his priority to respect the wealth of the others. Indians do not respect property rights in general; in trains one does not respect seat reservations, one grabs land by hook and crook, callously evicts slums and villages in the name of development, one throws rubbish in front of neighbour’s homes, one never repairs damaged walls of neighbours caused by own renovations. There is also no respect for property because public services like water, electricity and sewage facilities are almost always denied to most people, especially in the poorer colonies and the city suburbs. In fact, since in India the only route to upward mobility has become money, not only the mindless acquisition of money becomes legitimate but those who are too weak to defend their own property against the onslaught of attack by the powerful are looked down upon as being lesser beings who do not deserve protection because they are too weak to protect themselves. This creates a tremendous scope for the use of force and physical power in the society, obviously backed by money power. Most of us therefore acknowledge that making money by any means whatsoever is quite fine and it is also fine to defend that ill-gotten wealth by fraud and force and of course influence created through bribery. Rajat Gupta’s model of making money by fraud was therefore a legitimate and commonplace Indian aspiration, namely to have a desire for wealth without any respect for those of others. And he had the commonly found Indian stupidity not to understand that in America destruction of one’s wealth can be of lethal consequence.
Rajat Gupta has been brilliant in the sense of clearing the IIT examination. This means he must have been good in his PCM. But in affairs of the liberal disciplines, which consist of sociology, history, politics, philosophy and ethics and even the wider range of humanities as in literature, he must have been in the pits. Further, because India was poor and his own family of humble means, he probably looked down upon them as being defeated. What he did not understand was that the accommodation of the Indian society to wannabes or the parvenus in the sense of upwardly mobile humanity is much more than anywhere else in the world. This tolerance of wannabes actually makes India a freer country than probably any upon this earth. America does not tolerate wannabes. America appreciates talent, pays well for it, but will never allow crossing certain boundaries. Rajat Gupta was fine as long as he generated intellectually vapid papers based on rubbish macroeconomics which seemed like business strategies. I have had the good fortune to read through some of McKinsey’s output and I moved papers immediately proposing a training centre in our office to train people in Indian economy. But his papers were doing just what so many of the neoliberal financiers desired; to promise profits where there were none so that they could wash off some of their non-performing assets to other wannabes. The sale of coal properties in Australia priorly owned by the world’s largest mining company, the BHP Billiton is an illustration of such deals.
As long as Rajat Gupta was an instrument in making money for the American capitalists, he was fine. But when he started buying property which were part of the American dream, when he moved close to the American propertied class, put his children into the best schools as in Harvard, Rajat Gupta became a lice in the headful of hair for the American capitalists. Hence Rajat Gupta had to be thrown out. America is not India where the Lalaji Jindals can become industrialists. America is not India where only the lower castes have become Emperors in its long history of two thousand years. America is a place where wages and salaries may be fair, but any attempt to cross the threshold of class can be put down as severely as crushing down a rebel by having them trampled over by elephants.
America has severe sentences; Rajat Gupta’s two year in jail is actually a mild sentence. What is much ruinous is the pecuniary fine. He has to dissolve and surrender all his wealth and return to his original humility. Rajat Gupta is a reminder to all Indians who despite having behind them a Freedom Movement which is the world’s largest mass movement, now competes among one another to surrender that freedom to become a slave to America. Remain that slave, silent and subservient; if you imagine that you can ever be a master of your own fate in America, beware; Rajat Gupta is exemplarily held up before every wannabe, stupid, slavish Indian.