As a matter of good-will, the British government, on its own, may choose to give back the Koh-i-Noor to India
Talking down Rajan
Apropos of the edit “Looking for insults” (FE, April 22), the edit hits the nail on the head when it emphasises on the need for us to lighten up, to not strip words of their context and ‘not look for insults everywhere’ in the wake of some remarks of the RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan. But, where was the need at all for both the Union finance and commerce ministers to see red and sharply react in an unbecoming manner? Incidentally, can either of them, or any one else in the Narendra Modi-led government, deny the glaring fact that India has become the world’s ‘fastest-growing’ economy mostly due to the Chinese slowdown than due to any sharp propulsion in India’s growth dynamics. Needless to say that the unprecedented decline in the global oil prices came as a blessing in disguise for the government and actually enabled it not only to reduce its huge oil subsidy bill, as well the trade deficit, but also to earn more revenue by only slightly bringing down the price the consumer pays. By the way, what do the two learned ministers have to say about country’s persistently lagging exports for 15 months in a row, the collapsing investment levels in the midst of debt-strapping of large corporates and the banks being in no position to lend either, and 30-40% levels of unutilised capacity in most major industries? Mind you, these ministers have been in office for nearly two years now and they must have proven their credentials by now? I fully agree with the editorial views that the greater problem is that everyone is prickly, looking for an insult and, having found it, waiting to dish it back in double digits. Let us not turn debates into slanging matches as usually happens on most prime-time TV shows where no one listens but only speaks. In fact, all sane voices must be carefully listened and acted upon too. In any case, it is also a foregone conclusion that when Rajan’s term as RBI governor ends in September this year, he will be shown his proper place’ by the powers that be.
SK Gupta, Delhi
Apropos of the edit “Lost sheen”, the government had first claimed that the Kohinoor diamond was neither “forcibly taken nor stolen” by British rulers, but given as a “gift” to the East India Company by ruler of Punjab and there was little basis on which it can be demanded back. Once a voluntarily gift is made, the giver has no right whatsoever on the gifted item—this is a well-accepted legal position in general. Gifts, if revocable, are then not gifts, surely? However, if an item is parted with under coercion, then even if the parting is termed as a gift, there is ground to seek its return. If, on her own, the receiver, without any force or coercion, willingly gives back the gifted item, that too is acceptable under law. As a matter of good-will, the British government, on its own, may choose to give back the Koh-i-Noor to India.
M Kumar, via e-mail