Dramatic statements are part of political speak, but I wish some thought went into ascertaining the meaning of what is being said. Calling Narendra Modi a “maut ka saudagar (merchant of death)” is stupid. It was first uttered during the election campaign by Sonia Gandhi to convey the Gujarat chief minister’s part in communal riots.
This time it has been repeated because 150 people have died in a hooch tragedy. The Congress says that such trade is flourishing under political patronage. In places where there is prohibition an illegal trade always flourishes, but so does it in areas where alcohol is permitted. The demand for cheap bootlegged liquor is huge. If anything, this would have been a natural blow to the Modi government because it would convey that his so-called economically powerful state is not all that wealthy and there are poor people who want such daaru. The rich can stock their bars in other ways. I can imagine all those Patels hanging torans over their Kutchi embroidery upholstered stools drinking their whiskey or beer and munching chevda and having large bites of dhokla.
Why is prohibition a moral issue at all, then? I can understand a Morarji Desai who wanted to mimic Mahatma Gandhi attempting it, but Modi? Is he trying to appease – hai Ram! – the Muslims?
Predictably, the savvy Vijay Mallya has jumped in to state that “blanket prohibition has never worked in this free world”. As though Modi has ever talked about a free world. He has offered his – more appropriately his liquor company’s – services:
“The UB (United Breweries) group stands ready to work with the government of Gujarat to introduce a responsible beverage consumption policy with appropriate warning and restraint.”
We already know that these deaths are not because of prohibition. I find Mallya’s attitude opportunistic in the extreme. What does he mean by a responsible beverage consumption policy? If prohibition is a dictatorial measure, then the state deciding how much is equally fascist. It also assumes that the lettered must have access to such alcohol, for the warnings would not be read by those who are illiterate. And, of course, those who do not care to read.
The fact is that he is aware of every brand being available at a larger mark-up and reveals his intentions when he states:
This means that the government of Gujarat is losing thousands of crores in potential revenue.
He is not interested in the dead or the illegal trade. Only in the money. It is fine since he is a businessman, but the timing and the intent are all wrong.
One is not sure what Modi will do. Is he making money from this illegal racket? I don’t think so. He has got worse on his platter and this somehow does not fit in. What about small-time politicians and bureaucrats? That is possible, not only in Gujarat but almost in every state.
I am afraid legalising anything is no guarantee that you won’t have underhand dealings. Many legal businesses manage to get an extra quota through corrupt means or start side operations to sign off their losses.
What Modi owes the families of the dead is justice to see that the culprits are tried and sentenced. Perhaps, Mallya would like to join in the effort for this too constitutes “responsible beverage consumption policy”?
If Jackson was killed for cash…
His sister LaToya has made the allegation. If she knows the reason and the people behind it, then why did she give a regular speech at the memorial? There did not appear to any anger. Are we dealing with performers here?
“I feel it was all about money,” she was quoted as saying by the News of the World. “Michael was worth well over a billion in music publishing assets and somebody killed him for that. He was worth more dead than alive.”
So the lady has been keeping count of her brother’s wealth?
She also claimed, the newspapers reported, that roughly $2 million worth of cash and jewellery was taken from Michael Jackson’s rented mansion and has not been accounted for.
How does she know?
It is true that prescription drugs can kill, and it is possible that someone was administering these to keep Michael “submissive and under control” but he had other reasons to keep “him away from his family”. Everyone assumed that his ex-wife Debbie Rowe is the gold-digger and she was pretty much kept out of the proceedings.
Incidentally, people, especially celebrities and those in high-anxiety professions, can get addicted to prescription and other drugs without any assistance from others who want their money.
If LaToya wants to make allegations, it should be to the cops and not the media. She waited to have her moment at the service and then came out with this.