As you know, through many missives, interviews and
press conferences, I had commanded India to achieve
at least 8.5 per cent GDP growth for 2011-12 and
then raise the bar to over 9 per cent in 2012-13 and
henceforth. I ordered thus for many reasons.
First, I needed to please the High Command who has
never believed that I am loyal enough, unlike her
mother-in-law, God bless her soul. Second, I wanted
to create an glorious path for the young prince,
because high growth is now a winning formula in
national elections. Third, I wanted the carping
English-speaking intelligentsia of India, to realise
that a short, funny accented Bengali bhadralok born
in Mirati (Birbhum, West Bengal) could be as good a
finance minister as that arrogant Harvard spouting
cabinet colleague of mine, who thinks he is the best
of the best, and tells all that the three years of 9
per cent plus growth happened under his watch. And,
fourth, I wanted to a cock-a-snook at my
non-performing primus inter pares who, a quarter
century ago, was a mere bureaucrat at my beck and
call. Enough reasons for commanding India to grow at
9 per cent, wouldn’t you agree?
Then came the rotten Greeks and ruined everything!
They have had a long-standing desire to destroy
India. Remember Alexander of Macedon? At 30, he had
everything: good looks, a kingdom from Greece to
Persia, thousands of soldiers, wine, women, horses,
pretty boys. For no rhyme or reason, he decided to
attack the good King Porus in 326 BC. Caused havoc
but got nowhere, because his soldiers were homesick.
All he created were fair-skinned baby boys with grey
and blue eyes, who are called Sikandar and believe
that they are emperors in waiting.
This time, too, the Greeks. After getting to 9.2 per
cent GDP growth in Q4, 2010-11, I was sure that Q1,
2011-12 would post least 9 per cent. After all,
can’t a finance minister twice-over and the chairman
of the largest number of committees of Group of
Ministers and Empowered Group of Ministers (GoMs and
EGoMs) expect two successive quarters of over 9 per
cent growth? It didn’t happen. Because the Greeks
misbehaved as usual, having anti-everything strikes
in Athens and throwing rocks at the cops. We got 8%.
I didn’t worry. Time and time again I said we will
get well past 8 per cent. After all, I had spent
your money like no tomorrow over three years to
create our own ‘lest spend our way out of the mess’
growth. How could I be wrong?
The Greeks appeared again, spooking the world more
than Achilles, Alexander and Zeus could dream of.
Their prime minister tried to act tough with the
German lady and got a mouthful. That caused ripples.
And India’s growth in Q2 fell to 6.7 per cent. It
was the Battle of Hydaspes yet again.
So, I commanded India to grow at 7.5 per cent. I
also entreated, cajoled, flattered and stroked egos
to get growth up again. But never underestimate the
Greeks. Their prime minister crossed the barriers of
brinkmanship and resigned. That they had a good
technocrat as a caretaker prime minister till the
elections did little to prevent fear. So, India’s
GDP in Q3 fell to 6.1 per cent. What could I do?
I still prayed for 7 per cent in Q4. That damn
trouble-maker Alexis Tsipiras of a nationalist
anti-austerity, anti-euro-imperialism, anti-IMF,
anti-Germany, anti-you name it party called Syriza
spoilt everything forcing a second national election
on 17 June. What would you expect? GDP growth in Q4
dropped to 5.3 per cent, the worst in nine years!
Mr. Harvard in my party is nastily giggling away
saying, “I told you so!” Doesn’t he understand, its
not me who should be blamed. It’s the Greeks.
I once had a teacher whose favourite foreign poet
was Virgil, pronounced as Bharjil. As I see Greece
everywhere, I remember a phrase of his: ‘Timeo
Danaos et dona ferentes’, or “Beware of Greeks
bearing gifts”. The story is about the Trojan Horse.
We have them everywhere. Look around: Mamataus
Banerjeus; S. P. Jaiswalus; Jairamus Rameshus;
Kapilus Sibaleus; Prometheus (sic!) Chidambaramus;
and our ‘not do-not say’ Primus. All Greeks bearing
gifts —to destroy my 9 per cent dream.
The Greeks are doing us in. Minus them, we would
have crossed 9 per cent without even breaking into
sweat. I am fed up of them and their evil
machinations. I’m tired and want to rest in a large
house on the top of the hill. So, do tell that
Goswami of yours to stop spoiling my chances by
saying that the nation needs a finance minister like
The nation needs a Greek. Because it needs a Greek
to catch a Greek.
Published: Business World, June