Random Thoughts

Novel Fund Raising Techniques

Novel Fund Raising Techniques
Tête–à–tête with the Maker
Wide-spread Clan
Obesity in America
Intriguing Reference to Rao
Think it Through

Novel Fund Raising Techniques

Money makes the mare go, says the proverb. And the electoral mare asks for money for each gesture of movement it makes. Its demands, moreover, go on increasing exponentially at each step, and the electoral flight has many too many. How to raise ever-increasing electioneering funds to conduct an election campaign and steer it to a successful conclusion, is going to be the worry of each political candidate and the party he/she represents in the months to come.

Here I’m − a benevolent financial adviser − offering gratis a few tips how to raise funds legally. It was Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair who’ll have a permanent place in history of parliamentary democracy for skulduggery of all sorts, who thought of a very ingenious idea. That was an invitation to cosy ‘kitchen suppers’ for donors to Labour Party. Frugal as he is, Dr Manmohan Singh can invite to 7, Race Course Road, high and low for a real Punjabi sarsoan-ka-saag and maki-ki-roti dinner followed by Amritsari phirni and asli Doaba masala chai for a modest Rs. 50,000 per head for the Congress Election Fund. (A line in small print can tell prospective guests to have drinks at home before coming, but reach sober.)

Soniaji can put on offer a full-fledged version of genuine Indo-Italian supper, offering special menu consisting of a delectable range of antipasti and cold starters like Tortellini bresaola stuffed with mixed cheese on a bed of Arugula leaves and of skewer of mozzarella and cherry tomato.

Thereafter, hot starters like Arancinetti with ricotta and spinach and risotto mushroom among others.

Tempting deserts to round off, including Panna Cota and Tortellini alla Crema.

Freshly prepared bread and pizza by real power-wielding kitchen cabinet members from the open kitchen’s wood-burning oven (Invitations to selected guests should add in very, very fine print: Choice Tuscany wines available on the house in ante-room adjoining official dining room. Charge a mere Rs. 10,00,000 per head in cash or kind for the Congress Fund with special 10 % discount to sworn secular guests. Also, very special confidential instructions have been issued to Income Tax authorities to turn a blind eye to expense account statements in the election year.)

The one politician who can best adopt this unprecedented fund-raising methodology is Lalu Prasad Yadav. Both he and his better half have been Chief Ministers of Bihar and have almost equally-balanced claim for the ruin of the State. However, they are now a completely reformed couple, utterly dedicated to the genuine progress of the State that clamors for riddance from Nitish Kumar’s misrule.

Their offer of Rs. 50,000 lunch will be a hot draw. It could, I bet, even earn us much-needed foreign exchange by attracting American tourists. It would be a life-time experience to have a typically Indian meal cooked by an ex-Chief Minister and served by another ex-Chief Minister. The curd served − I’m sorry these days it is more fashionable to call it yogurt – will be from the milk of cows milked by the husband-wife duo.

To put Mayawati in her right place, Mulayam Singh might as well initiate a pucca UP khaana only by special invitation as election strategy to raise funds. To make it a unique experience the lunch will be preceded in lessons in freestyle wrestling.

We always proudly display our very special British connexion. Let’s emulate the fundraising methodology invented by the Tories. And that’s access to David Cameron’s bedroom just for a pittance − £1,750. It’s officially called “room drop.”

Now imagine the long, long queue of VIP’s vying with each other to have a look and feel of the frugal living of our great netas by dropping in to see for themselves their Spartan living style: un-cushioned arm chair in Rahul Baba’s study, simple thin cotton-stuffed mattress that Soniaji tosses around during her sleepless nights thinking of the aam admi and two pairs of veshti (dhoti in Tamil) and kurta that constitute P. Chidambran’s wardrobe.

I’m afraid I cannot go on spilling all the beans. I might choose to start a consultancy in this area as the elections are announced.

Tête–à–tête with the Maker

“Have you seen God?, Naren, the future Vivekananda straightaway asked when he met his Master-to-be in the compound of Dakshineswar temple. It was a no-holds-barred confrontation, the sort of which he earlier had with Poet Tagore’s father too, who evaded the question that the Thakur replied in an unequivocal ‘yes’.

“Yes, I have seen Him just as I see you, and have also talked to Him,” responded Ramakrishna, looking straight in the eye of his future St. Paul. What happened thereafter is, as they say, history.

Don’t forget, the priest of Dakshineswar had, by the time Naren arrived, been through all the stages that lead to genuine divine revelation. He was, all said, a phenomenon as the skeptic-turned-disciple Christopher Isherwood summed up in his masterpiece, Ramakrishna and His Disciples.

Almost all god men − and there is no dearth of them in our society − have claimed to be on very intimate terms with the Maker. I’m sure Asaram Bapu too (though now in police custody) must have said something to this effect.

I sit back to wonder then doubt, to start with, whenever I hear of divine experiences. The latest to make such a claim is Pope Emeritus − the former Pope Benedict who in 2011 resigned Papacy. Recently, he told the world: “God told me to do it.” He had a mystical experience to that effect.

I, personally, believe in what the Buddha said that those who really come to know become silent thereafter. Those who narrate what they heard and what they had been through for others’ benefit are often fake. But who am I to doubt His Holiness?

Wide-spread Clan

Thank the Good Lord all the crooks of the world are not concentrated in Indian Parliament who lie and cheat and manage to get away. Every now and then, there is heartening news of their brethren-in trade in other parts of the world too.

You’ll recall how the Telegraph Group came out in 2009 with revelation of the United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal. MPs had over several years been misusing the permitted allowances and expenses. There was wide-spread public outrage and a loss of confidence in politics. MP’s were made to return the overcharged expenses. And among them was included our own Lord Swaraj Paul, a great friend of Indira Gandhi.

The latest in the news is Ms. Pamela Wallin, Canadian Senator from Saskatchewan being asked to reimburse thousands of additional dollars in travel expenses that external auditors had flagged for further review.

There is a difference − a profound difference. Outside India, following such disclosures some action is taken to correct the wrong. Not in our society. After a pleasant one year stay in Tihar jail Ms. Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, for instance, is back in business in the Rajya Sabha. The supposed trial can wait for a decade or two. The real reason of course is that Soniaji needs the DMK support for UPA to complete ten years in office.

Obesity in America

Alexis de Tocqueville came to America supposedly to study its prison system and ended up writing that classic Democracy in America. If he was to visit the US today on similar mission, he’s bound to wind up writing another classic Obesity in America. Long live both – democracy and obesity!

The growth potential of obesity is literally unlimited given the fertile American soil and cultural milieu. So obsessed are the authorities that they eagerly await the release of the annual report by Trust for America’s Health. And the latest news is cheerful. This year’s report shows that except Arkansas all other States of the Union happily maintained their obesity levels. Arkansas alone had the distinction of showing a significant increase for which the credit is equally shared between Coca Cola and MacDonald’s.

Colorado tops the list at the other end − as the state with the lowest obesity rate with a mere 20.5% of its residents considered obese.

Since children spend most of their day in school, changes in school lunch menus matter the most. If you can wean away a generation from Cola refills and all-too-familiar junk food, the problem is more than half solved. But would the beleaguered MNC’s take it lying down? I’m afraid no. Hundreds of new ways have been discovered to make people sugar-addicted.

Intriguing Reference to Rao

In this year’s ritualistic August 15 address to the nation by Dr. Manmohan Singh there was an intriguing reference to Narasimha Rao. Prime Minister reminded us –lest anyone should forget − it was under Rao’s leadership that “we successfully negotiated a major economic crisis and embraced reforms for strengthening our economy. These reforms were opposed by many political parties at that time. But the reforms were in [the] national interest and were therefore continued by all governments that came to power subsequently. Since then, the reform process has continually moved forward.”

Everyone knows how intensely Rao disliked Sonia Gandhi’s remote maneuvers to embarrass him and how she repented letting the Telugu fox outmaneuver her.

What possibly could be the reason other than simply ensuring that the Congress Party gets all the 18 Telangana seats in next year’s general elections by wooing Telangana supporters? Any more guesses?

Think it Through

With rare prescience George Orwell said: “War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.”

Do you know of a better analysis of death and destruction in Iraq between 2003 and 2011 in the name of searching the non-existent weapons of mass destruction?


More by :  Sakshi

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Views: 3472      Comments: 1

Comment You rightly observed:

"With rare prescience George Orwell said: “War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.” "

"Do you know of a better analysis of death and destruction in Iraq between 2003 and 2011 in the name of searching the non-existent weapons of mass destruction? "

And now they are going to have a repeat of it in Syria. Hope that at least would give the sinking Rupee respite against the greenback much to the glee of our PM and FM. They can then gloat over their non-existent economic acumen.

Let us leave it all to God and pray. Like the sage of Dakshineshwar, let us all look for Him everywhere and in everything. That is more worthwhile than watching the drama of these domestic and international fools. It is He who brought in the financial blight a few years ago, which made the mighty US cry. It is He (not Obama) who has made the US $ now ride the crest of a wave. And it is He who only can reverse the tide. That is wisdom, Sir, if you won't call it stark superstition. And let us retire to silence to invoke Him to operate.

26-Aug-2013 10:24 AM

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