Friday, 2 September 2016

Everything I Do, I Do It for You

This is wrong on so many levels, I don't  even know where to begin. And yet it's too tempting not to have a go. Before all else, how is it permissible to subject unsuspecting citizens to this monstrosity of a front page? Don't we all deserve to have a pleasant start to the day? Why such hideousness to ruin such an otherwise agreeable morning, a Friday no less? Modelling has always been the domain of those easier on the eyes. And yet, we, a country of over a billion, have managed to churn out this visual assault to represent us. Am I being obnoxious? I'm just getting started.

On a serious note, how is this even legal? Never mind, rhetorical question. Ethical? You must be high. But jeez, his desperation for attention still manages to gobsmack you despite its predictability. I mean how far could you go? Even a gas-station crack-whore is more discrete. She at least, leaves a little to the imagination.

Ever seen a sitting Prime Minister be this candid about his endorsement for a private business over its peers? Do we have a Reliance employee as a part-time Prime Minister? Or do we have a Prime Minister running part-time errands at Reliance? Either way, ethics are laughably out of context when it comes to Modi.

You don't have to be a Wharton grad to understand loss-leading and why it's illegal in a developed society. You might be unfamiliar with the term but you'll immediately recognize its common-sense wisdom. The term refers to a practice of offering products or services at a loss with the intent of killing the competition. Why is it unethical? Because nobody should be obliged to bear a loss in order to stay afloat against you. Maybe you have the reserves to take such a hit your competitor might not. It's no longer a level playing field. And it doesn't take a genius to figure out what Mr. Ambani is doing is exactly that. They have the reserves (what a coincidence gas and fuel just got costlier, no?) and they are using it to corner the market. This is exactly what they tried when they first entered the telecommunication industry with their "kar lo duniya mutthi mein" charade and got slammed for it by TRAI. This time around, they played smarter by conveniently calling the whole campaign a "test." Given how the country is orgasming over the offer like an orgy of middle-aged virgins, you and I both know this shit is anything but a "test."

So what do you do as a Prime Minister who, like all his predecessors, came to power on the promise of ethics and good governance? Easy, go prostitute yourself out for their cause! What can I say, the tug of the camera is not an easy one to resist! Besides, when the boss calls, the loyal lackey can hardly decline.

Problem is, everything has a loophole. If it doesn't, it simply isn't Indian. Loss leading? Sure it's illegal. But here we are. Prime Minister modelling for a private brand? Let's see what the Constitution – yeah, that stupid thing that's preventing our beloved Prime Minister from making India the lovely Hindu theocracy of his wet dreams – says. There's this thing called The Emblems And Names (Prevention Of Improper Use) Act of 1950. It says, and I quote, "...No person shall, except in such cases and under such conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government use... for the purpose of any trade, business, calling or profession... any name or emblem specified in the Schedule or, any colourable imitation thereof without the previous permission of the Central Government or of such officer of Government as may be authorised in this behalf by the Central Government." This includes national leaders, especially the Prime Minister and the President. This is the Act that gave Mont Blanc a great deal of grief when they tried to use Mahatma Gandhi to sell their 3,000-dollar pens a few years ago.

But, you know, loopholes. You see that little part that says, "...the previous permission of the Central Government or of such officer of Government..."? Of course Reliance did nothing wrong here. They had the right permissions. And why not, when you have a lap dog  running the highest office in the country!

We are condemned to suffer many more obscenities like this over the next 3 years. So let's all learn to take the shame in our stride. We are, after all, Modi's India.

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