M D Nalapat
While politicians in India often talk about the prevalence of the “black” ( ie illegal) economy in India, especially when they are in opposition and not accessing the vast funds they used to get while in power, the reality is that the root of “black money” in India is politics. While a Mahatma Gandhi was able to persuade tens of millions of Indians to sacrifice their jobs and their fortunes to follow him in his numerous jabs against British rule,since the 1970s, those in politics expect to get compensated for their efforts,and the higher the loot,the more the rush to get on board a particular bandwagon. In urban areas,unless at least Rs 500 is paid to an individual, she or he will refuse to attend a political rally. A few months ago, two politicians in Maharashtra were discussing before an open microphone the high cost of arranging crowds to cheer Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Huge sums were mentioned in this connection,it being a given that a Sonia rally has to have tens of thousands of attendees, so that television cameras could pan the throng and give testimony to the immense popularity of the current owner of the Congress Party. That the crowds shown on television are usually expressionless - if not openly bored and fidgety - seldom gets mentioned in the media, which hungers for the access only favourable coverage assures.