Ansari : Professor! I should thank you most sincerely
for your timely warning about that Balu who foisted
himself on me... though I was a bit irritated that day
when you spoke about him....
Prof. Pandu : Sir! I would not have spoken in such a
harsh tone, had I not been assured about the justness
of my issue. I took the terrible risk when I spoke of
course, but I was confident that the moment you realise
the real fact, you will excuse me....
Doctor Damu : Did this man attempt to defraud you, Mr.Ansari
Advocate Ansari : Almost that .... And more than that,
when I found out his antecedents, his past story, I
was really ashamed of my association with him, though
of a temporary nature ...
Prof. Pandu : Doctor, the man who now announces himself
as a banker, was originally a baker, and having failed
in that, he became a broker - a convenient name as you
are aware, for covering up all kinds of shady deals....
Advocate Ansari : And he had the audacity, Doctor, to
place before me a plan for smuggling ... gold and diamonds
Doctor Damu : Did he? I am astounded... that man with
such a broad smile, genial temperament ....
Prof. Pandu : Have'nt you read Sir, that Satan is all
smiles, and sheds tears only when he fails in his attempt
to get anyone in his snare? ... You should read Marie
Correlli ... But who reads such books now-a-days? It
has now become the fashion to discard literature ...
This is the age of technology, we are told ....
Advocate Ansari : Technology, Professor, is not to be
discouraged. We need more and more of it .... a developing
nation needs it, you know.
Prof. Pandu : That is obvious Mr.Ansari. But a total
neglect of literature or a niggardly dose of it, is
not to be advocated, you will agree...
Doctor Damu : As in so many other things, there should
be a proper balance here also....
Prof. Pandu : I very much appreciate that point of view,
Sir! But to strike a balance is the most difficult of
tasks. Half the troubles of the world could have been
avoided if the art of balance has been perfected ....
Advocate Ansari : But Professor! Surely you know how
this Balu the banker attempted this art of balancing
... in his own way ...
Prof. Pandu : But he was exposed, the fraud was detected.
Artificial balancing for nefarious ends, for selfishness
is the perverted form of the theory of balancing.
Doctor Damu : But they seem to succeed in life. at least
as far as the material aspect is concerned. They seem
to make tons and tons of money.
Prof. Pandu : They do succeed Doctor! But most of them
are found out some time or other. Exposed. Fraud does
not yield dividends for all time.
Doctor Damu : They lead dazzling lives, are even honoured!
State too pats them on the back, and the commoner thinks
that God has bestowed his choicest blessings on these
people, because they deserve that.
Prof. Pandu : Sir! Shall I narrate an anecdote.... no
it is not an imaginary piece .... a bit from real life
Advocate Ansari : Connected with the subject matter
Prof. Pandu : Sir! I take especial care to be always
Doctor Damu : We are all aware of that Professor. Please
do proceed. What is that anecdote you wanted to narrate.
Prof. Pandu : Sir! I would like you to come along with
me to Edgewaer Hotel: Chicogo .... the year is 1923.
Ten leading industrialists and financiers meet here
... Charles Schwab, President of the largest steel company,
Basil Edmunds, President of the National City Bank,
Samuel Insull, President of the largest utility holding
company, Howard Hopson, President of a large gas company,
Arthur Cutten, an outstanding wheat speculator, Richard
Whitney, President of the stock exchange in New York,
Albert Fall, a Cabinet member, Lvar Kreager Head of
a Match factory, Leon Fraser, President of the Bank
of International Settlement....
Advocate Ansari : What an impressive galaxy ...
Doctor Damu : These men of eminence, Professor, met
in conference at that Chicago Hotel ...
Prof. Pandu : Yes Doctor, in 1923. They represented
gold and diamonds, success and talent, and were naturally
quoted as examples; men with wealth and well versed
in the art of making wealth.
Advocate Ansari : Men on the top ... Men who controlled
the economic machinery of the United States of America
.... men whom the state dare not ignore...
Prof. Pandu : Sure, Sir! Even in Ancient Rome, the millionaire,
Cassius did exercise a mighty influence over the state
Advocate Ansari : More so in the modern age ... these
men ought to have exercised mighty influence ...
Prof. Pandu : Of course. Don't we hear strictures made
from the forum of the Parliament that the Birlas have
got some of the top men in their pay. As you say, Sir,
these men did wield much influence. But it is not to
substantiate that point that I have enumerated their
names and places... We were discussing ...
Advocate Ansari : .... of course about how men who amass
wealth, are exposed sometime or other ...
Prof. Pandu : ..... and are pulled down from their pedestal.
Sir! If we follow the life of these men, you will find
that my thesis that the dazzle they create is not of
a permanent nature is true. It not only dwindles, but
they are even thrown into a deep pit of darkness and
disaster. In 1948, just twenty five years later, Sir!
Schwab President of the biggest steel company died a
bankrupt. Edmunds the Banker was found dead in a slum,
in a state of drunkenness, Insull became a fugitive
and died as such, Hopson President of the gas company
was thrown in the mental hospital where he expired,
Cutten died a pauper, Whitney was sent to jail, for
fraud, Kreuger and Leon Fraser, committed suicide.
Advocate Ansari : Oh! What a rise and what a fall, ...!
Prof. Pandu : Exclamation apart, Mr.Ansari, this should
make one realise that wealth and position built on fraud
never lasts long ....
Doctor Damu : A terrible lesson indeed.
Advocate Ansari : But none who is hunting after wealth
thinks about such bitter possibilities....
Prof. Pandu : No Sir! They are in a sense maniacs ...
mad ... mad after money ... power ... position.
Advocate Ansari : And people who are mad after power,
the day they lose the power that was theirs, become
still more frantic.....
Prof. Pandu : Power, Sir, especially political power
is intoxicating ... When one gets addicted to power,
he would go to any length....! and depth to retain it
Doctor Damu : .... at any rate to regain it, when at
some stage, he loses it ....
Advocate Ansari : One can very well imagine what sort
of mood would arise when people are thrown out of power,
from the AICC proceedings ....
Doctor Damu : Yes. I think, so. There were lengthy reports
about the AICC proceedings.
Prof. Pandu : Have anyone of you seen the comment of
the 'Economic Times'? - Shall I read out some of the
relevant portions. .. Ah! here it is ... The Economic
Times, writes editorially on the twenty seventh of June,
"After the shattering blows the Congress received
at the general elections in February, some people were
looking forward to a new bid for a party revival. Even
those incorrigible optimists must now be disillusioned.
The ghastly performance of the Congress leaders at the
New Delhi session of the AICC cannot but be taken as
a public demonstration of the incurable paralysis of
the party. What else can one say when Ministers get
on to the rostrum to denounce the Cabinet to which they
belong; when the Prime Minister lashes out at her own
Government's and the party's incapacity to deliver the
goods; when responsible members cast aspersions on the
High Command and the members of the High Command hang
their heads in shame in utter silence? If Mrs. Gandhi's
final peroration, full of sympathy for her won detractors,
was intended to be a novel technique in public relations,
she is sadly mistaken. The entire session made it abundantly
clear that the Congress has no leader today capable
of stemming the rot. If there had been any thing like
leadership at the top, there might have been some semblance
of dignity and responsibility in the deliberations of
the party's highest executive meeting supposedly for
some soul-searching following the election reverses.
So "sick" the Congress seems to have become
that one wonders if the party can ever bring to bear
on the big issues of the day sound commonsense and intelligent
and original thinking. Our own feeling is that the utter
confusion in the party, pathetically reflected in the
latest meeting, might lead the Government on to the
wrong track. At any rate, the Central Ministers are
now clearly under pressure to take wrong decisions or
make the wrong type of mode - merely to stay in power
and, in the case of ambitious ones, to gain in the hierarchy."
Doctor Damu : That is most damaging ...
Prof. Pandu : It is not part of a political vendetta,
Sir! It is a blunt exposure .... nothing more than that
Advocate Ansari : When such is the state of affairs,
why should some of the Congressmen, attempt to play
the gladiator ... and that against the non-Congress
Prof. Pandu : That, I think, Sir, is symbolic of the
'sickness' referred to. Some of them seem to think that
they could come back to power by toppling down the present
Advocate Ansari : But should they not as democrats,
attempt to come back to power ....?
Prof. Pandu : If I were to be consulted, Sir, by the
Top Men of the Congress Party, I would advise them to
first stabilise and strengthen their position at the
Centre where they are the ruling party. There their
position is neither happy nor strong. Day after day,
stalwarts from the opposition carry on bombardment ....
Advocate Ansari : True .... to a great extent ......
Doctor Damu : To my mind Professor, the immediate problem
seems to be how to thwart the designs of China and its
allies ... who ever it is the chief or subsidiary is
a matter of secondary importance when this question
of safeguarding the country is considered. We should
not forget that China claims to possess the Hydrogen
Pro. Pandu : I do not minimise the danger, Sir, none
in his senses could .... but I think that both the United
States of America and Russia would supply the nuclear
umbrella needed ...
Doctor Damu : Let us hope so. We need such an assurance
from these two powers.
Prof. Pandu : Though it was for a different purpose
they met, Mr.Kosygin and Johnson, I think they would
have discussed about this nuclear umbrella too....
Advocate Ansari : Sure! For both these two powers know
full well the risk to world peace posed by the attitude
of China. We need that umbrella, very very urgently.
Doctor Damu : Speaking of umbrellas, I remember to have
read about a new item, that postmen are on strike, demanding
umbrellas ... somewhere.
Prof. Pandu : The place is not so important as the problem
Sir! Such poorly paid people, like the postmen should
be provided with umbrellas....to safeguard them from
the ravages of rain ....
Advocate Ansari : Oh! Sir! Do not speak in such derogatory
terms about rain. All our finance ministers have built
their budget on the hope of getting timely and plentiful
Prof. Pandu : And the news about heavy rains in Ootty
and the mounting rain fall in Mercara should gladden
Doctor Damu : And now gentlemen, we are going to get
rain just in half an hour or so....
Advocate Ansari : And if rain lashes out, Professor!
I seek protection ... I haven't brought my umbrella....
Prof. Pandu : Say, Sir! That you have not brought an
umbrella ... why the word, 'my'? You don't own one ...
Sometimes it is your client's at other time your clerk's
Advocate Ansari : I agree to be corrected and on this
condition Professor, that you will just offer me one
of your famous cigars ....
Prof. Pandu : I am so sorry Sir! I have given up smoking
cigars ... Mr. Morarji you know.....
Doctor Damu : Mr. Morarji always comes forward with
funny suggestion. He made one such you know, that people
should hereafter smoke Beedis....
Advocate Ansari : There was a news item Doctor, that
America has taken a fancy for our Beedis....
Prof. Pandu : Not me Mr. Ansari, I have begun using
the pipe now ... Ah! That makes me to bid good-bye to
you, for before they close the store I should get tobacco
for my pipe.
Doctor Damu : Let us all take a stroll, along with our
(Home Rule - 2-7-1967)