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Mainstream, VOL XLIX, No 1, December 25, 2010 (Annual 2010)

Radia, Tusi Great Ho

Friday 31 December 2010, by Badri Raina

The following poem has been sent to us by Badri Raina, a former Professor of English (now retired), University of Delhi, with a note from him that reads: “This is too painful for plain prose.”

Those that compile lists

of the rich, famous, and powerful

men and women

just missed out on Niira Radia.

Once given that proverbial chance,

Radia made the rich and famous dance

to her competent tune, and made fool

of many vain achievers

without ever going to a management school.

A fine instance of how a tool

may the business world advance.

Name a corporate honcho, a minister,

a television group editor

of consequence, a columnist

that did not fear her soft little fist,

or in wisely concealed calm,

eat of her copious palm.

Is there something else that qualifies

for greatness?

Yet she does not figure among

the rich and famous

who have made the world a mess.

I salute thee, Radia;

thou hast the quiet finesse

and packed power

of the gentle constrictor.

Your velvet and fur

smother without a hiss.

You administer the kiss

of money without raising your voice

or losing your poise;

it is the self-righteous, anti-national

whistle-blower who makes all the noise.

Those that lose the throw of the dice

shout hoarse when the corporate

or minister of your choice

favours not them with a big enough slice.

Such is the price of success,

but only till the next minister or government

sorts out the fuss.

O, Radia, thou wast born to prove

the truth of the simple maxim

of which the bearded German knew:

that what we call the State

is a consummate brew

of the corporate and those

that his bidding do.

The people—they elect government,

then on their way are sent,

fulfilling Democracy’s political intent.

You make the cabinet and ensure

that the moolah flows

out of their plate

to bolster the needy corporate.

The tiresome moralisers call this loot,

whereas you and I know

you only further the proper

business of the State.

Radia, do not thou fret;

with Tata and the Channels—

who did not make a story

of what you were upto—

by your side, no investigative wretch

may so much as touch

a hair of your cool-competent head;

it is the rabble-rouser who

will pay instead.

December 11, 2010 Badri Raina

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