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Politician to son: Don't come back to India

My dear son,

When you went abroad to study, it was with a clear understanding that, once you finish your education you would return to India. We took a family decision when your education ended; that it made sense for you to stay in the US for a few years more, enjoy your youth, money and then return and stand for elections as Member of Parliament from the constituency our family has represented for so many decades.

It has been five years since you left, and, last week, when we spoke on Skype, you told me that you believed that it was time to return. At first, I was delighted. Then, after the call was over, the import of what you planned to do sank in. My impulse was to call you back immediately, but I thought I’d put my thoughts down in an email so that you have a better understanding of what I want to say and why I say it.

In a nutshell, I do not want you to return to India. The India of today is not the India that you left. Much has changed – and much of the change negatively affects families like ours.

"The India of today is not the India that you left. Much has changed – and much of the change negatively affects families like ours". AP

There is a change in the balance of power in society. People do not understand what people like me, member of parliament, do – and no longer acknowledge that all of us, thanks to the great sacrifices we make for our constituency, do not live like normal people.

Just the other day, a fellow Member of Parliament was almost shamed in the context of what media is calling a Rs 71 lakh ‘scam’. The media, who no longer seem to have respect for people like us, are harassing him the whole day, treating him like a common cheat.

Even worse is the case of Robert Vadra, Priyankaji’s husband. It seems DLF lent Robertji Rs 65 crore without any security – and the media and social activists are making that out to be a crime. What crime? Many friends in business have lent me hundreds of crores without any security over the decades – and they haven’t even asked for me to return it. Why would they? After all, as a friend, I’ve helped them on so many instances that they’ve earned fortunes from our friendship. Now, media is making it sound like it’s a crime for MPs and ministers to help friends. What a terrible state of affairs.

Sharad Pawar’s nephew has been forced to resign because of some allegations on a developmental work that he was involved in. Media says that he helped contractors make extra money by approving of rises in estimates after the contracts were awarded. What is wrong with that? Your grandfather used to do the same with his friends, as did I.

Ministers like Raja, Kanimozhi and Kalmadi have been jailed because of trying to help their friends. This is where our country is going to. No one has any respect for our class any more, and the media and social activists are being helped by the courts – they’re ganging up against us.

Things are bad in India, son. It is becoming difficult for people like us to carry on in the way we are used to. We are treated like commoners, we are called cheats and thugs. We’re reaching a stage when toll booth attendants expect us to pay – an FIR was filed against an MP who, obviously got upset at the request and threatened the attendant with a gun for his cheek.

It is getting very petty. The other day, Air-India staff at Guwahati charged three MPs for carrying excess baggage. MPs not being allowed excess baggage on the national airline, and lowly employees of Air-India not respecting them? This is the new India, the India you want to come back to!

That’s why I write this note to you. Do not come back to India, and forget about plans on a career in politics. Come to Geneva next week; I will meet you there. I will transfer money to your account so that you can invest in a house in New York. As far as business is concerned, maybe you could buy a university nearby. After all, your uncle has six universities in India and they are quite profitable. I will ask him to guide you when you begin your venture.

Will discuss in detail when we meet next week.

With love from your father.