Looking for Hidden Black Money? London Might be the Place to Start
Black money may be funnelled away in tax havens, but it is all controlled out of London, where Indian and other billionaires are happy to be based.
Narendra Modi had campaigned on a promise that he would bring black money home from abroad and give each poor Indian Rs 15 lakhs.
Taking the World Bank’s rosy projection of how Indian poverty has declined under liberalisation , that would mean giving Rs 417 trillion to 278 million people. That was an absurd promise. Since the Prime Minister is an intelligent man, he must have had known that and perhaps had no intention of keeping it. Instead his Government has chosen to inflict untold misery on the poor by withdrawing from circulation the denominations in which they hold most of their wealth.
Were Modi were to honour his original promise, if only in spirit, his Government would search for Indian black money. Where might that be? A few years ago I had interviewed a scion of a Maratha princely family related by marriage to many important Rajputs who described to me how he used to help organise such transfers abroad by Indian princes for a long time, going back to 1947. Read on…
“Subaltern fascism” — the project of building fascism in India even while accepting subordination to the British Empire — provides an explanation for the strategy of the Hindu Mahasabha, the ancestor of today’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Mahasabha opposed the national movement for independence proposing that it be rewarded with power sharing, so that it might eventually take over as the successor to the colonial power of occupation. This cadet role anticipates India’s role in world affairs today.
Long before his Mahasabha career, the former revolutionary Vinayak Damodar Savarkar decided that the enemy was not the British but the Muslims and accordingly won increasing privileges during his incarceration for a terrorist assassination. Upon release he was granted a pension, and permitted to conduct anti-Muslim propaganda. The Mahasabha he came to head set out to arm Hindus against Muslims by recruiting them to the Indian army, to influence the administration of the princely states including their armies, to obtain arms licenses from sympathetic Congress ministers, to set up a munitions factory at Gwalior in the expectation of support from the Durbar and the Birla industrial group, and explore contacts with European fascists.
All this was done with a measure of tacit support from the British; yet at the very same time the Government of India suppressed anti-Nazi propaganda by left and liberal organizations. Despite its earlier praise for Mussolini and Hitler the Mahasabha promised the new state of Israel its support in 1949. The earlier endorsement of attacks on Jews was now offset by its claim that this new state would best combat the Muslim world. The consensus on national security with the Congress and the Left demonstrates the lasting influence of a political formation that has been in office only occasionally since Independence.
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