Santosh Paul


An article has surfaced under the title ‘Strange Saga of Amartya Sen and the Rothschilds’ by the author Arvind Kumar. The title is obviously meant to conjure up the latent anti-Semitic sentiment against a time tested goblin – the Jewish global financial conspiracy. This harangue is published in an online newspaper called Sunday Guardian.


Make no mistake, it is not the Sunday edition of the Guardian of U.K. The similarity in the nomenclature is to give an air of journalistic respectability to the journal supposedly swimming the tide against the so called left influenced media.


Why is this article authored and published? Amartya Sen is a luminous star in the constellation of influential economists. He is anathema for India’s right wing not just for his steadfast views on welfare economics, but for his being an ardent and vocal advocate of the Nehruvian worldview. Worse, he endorses the Kerala model of growth which for some mistaken reason is seen as whollythe creation of the left, ignoring the substantial Congress rule in the state who also steadfastly stuck to the concept of the welfare state and resulted in remaining on the top of the human index charts. These are ideas antithetical to the intellectual dispensation trying to gain ascendancy.


The trouble for his detractors is that Sen is far too intellectually equipped and has too many arrows in his quiver to be shredded by the run of the mill hacks. So it is necessary to destroy his reputation by slander, innuendo or by this conjecture ridden analysis especially in the election year.


The article communicates in great haste and urgency, that Amartya Sen is married to Emma Rothschild, “one of the heiress of the world’s wealthiest family.” What we are not told is that she is a British economic historian of repute and is currently serving as the Professor of History at the Harvard University. The photograph posted accompanying the article of Sen and Emma is a letdown. It is shorn of the glitz and glamour one expects with tenor of the insinuation and we are left staring at two very staid academics in not so glamorous surroundings.


Coming back to the thrust of the argument, the author writes that the Rothschild family have made money “off (sic) India and the Indian government”. Which branch of the Rothschilds? Which entity of the Rothschild? And how did they make this money “off” India, whatever that means? There are no explanations. If the reader is not familiar with this kind of semantics he is ‘the uninitiated’.


The very next sentence will send heads spinning into a tizzy. The Rothschilds are estimated to be worth “at least US dollars 400 billion” which wasby enriching themselves “finding opportunity on growing misery around the world”. True to its anti-Semitic liturgy, we are informed that the Rothschild family has manipulated stock markets, funded World Wars, exercised significant control over the banking system, owns large media outlets to influence public opinion in their favour. The following sentence though disconnected is very critical to the undertone. “Amartya Sen, of course, is the apostle of poverty.” The author is sending a coded message to his constituents – the connection between big money and those espousing welfare economics.


The author does not waste much time in zeroing in on to his now unconcealed agenda. NM Rothschild and Sons “is seen as having made tremendous amounts of money” during the UPA regime between 2004 and 2014. This allegation is bereft of any substantiation. But that’s not required. Now comes the suggestion to develop that feeble connect. Mayer Victor Rothschild, i.e. Mr. Sen’s father-in-law “was part of the management of NM Rothschild &Sons”. The reader would like to know what were the positions he held? And which years did he hold it? And then he would ask the basic question, where is the connect? The author instead reveals a disconnected fact which he lazily purveyed from the Internet. Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Victor’s cousin, we are told, owns a significant stake in the Economist magazine. This explains the magazine’s alleged barbs, support to Sonia Gandhi and propping up Amartya Sen’s economic ideas. Does the right of centre Economist magazine advocate Sen’s views on the welfare state? It is obvious that the author has little knowledge of economics. And he certainly does not read the Economist.


We are told and made to believe that the Rothschilds are responsible for everything which went wrong with business deals in India during the diabolic UPA regime. Be it AIRCEL, Vedanta, Kingfisher or Venkateshwara Hatcheries. Then we are told again without proof of course that NM Rothschild was involved in UPA to swing deals from Vedanta’s acquisitions to Kingfisher’s acquisition of Air Deccan. Wait a minute! Are these acquisitions illegal? The author is also not inclined to even remotely suggest it. All he suggests is that each of the firms, I presume he means companies, ‘has come under a scanner of the authorities’. For what? Now comes the eureka moment,“Venkateswara hatcheries was raided by income tax sleuths” for “transactions related to movements of huge amounts of cash” during India’s Tuglak moment in its economic history – the demonetisation. So what is the sequitur? Believe it or not, this explains Amartya Sen’s criticism of demonetization. Bizarre? Not yet.


The article then zooms in to the surreal. The ‘firm’ meaning NM Rothschild was chosen to e-auction 3 G spectrum “even though they never been known as a computer software firm”. NM Rothschild is one of the 10 largest investment bankers in the world. By this proposition, they simply could not have been given this assignment because, lo behold! they are not a ‘computer software firm’ .


Rothschilds according to the author has a net worth of US $ 400 billion. Now it is alleged they pocketed Rs.30.5 crores. How? Did they rob it? Was it a dole-out? What was this transaction about? Readers are left wondering and curious. And why did it escape the investigation? There is no explanation why this was not brought to attention of law enforcement who ultimately had their noses rubbed to the ground when all the charges fell flat on its face. The author is aware of the shortcomings of his soliloquy. He quips “of course, none of this has been probed even after 2014”. 2014 is not just a casual date. He cannot be allowed to walk out of that nonchalantly. Because 2014 is the year the NDA came to power and the editor of Sunday Guardian was M.J.Akbar, a prized minister in the new regime. Why did the regime not pursue the Rothschilds? If this angle was not probed, how did our Sherlock Holmes stumble upon this information?


Fearing a libel action the author now treads cautiously. Rothschild Bank AG and its subsidiaries “may have violated money laundering rules in the multi-billion – dollar 1 MDB corruption case in Malaysia”. ‘May have’? Who gave this piece of information to the author. The author conscious of the limitations of his speculation admits that a definitive conclusion could not be reached without a comprehensive enquiry. But it does not deter him from innuendo. He now suggests there is a need to investigate its activities to determine whether the unusually high rate of scams amongst Rothschild’s clientele is a coincidence. Puzzled? Let us not forget that this piece of writing is an exercise in the semantics of faith and not of reason.


For an article of this nature which goes on tirelessly it cannot but take pot shots at Sen and his economics. The author quotes Lynn Forester. In case you forgot, she holds significant shares in the Economist. She is quoted of being delighted to bring Del Monte Pacific into India “to participate in the explosive economic growth of India”. All of a sudden and for no reason, the author angrily rants that Amartya Sen has not extended the same consideration to the poorer people of India who also desire to participate in this explosive growth. Baffled? Now comes the explanation which will require hallucinogens to understand the logic. Sen, we are told ensured Indians would qualify as recipients of small amounts of money as part of welfare schemes “wrapped in the name of Mahatma Gandhi”. Make no mistake it is the path breaking NREGA which is under attack. This according to our author has prevented able bodied people from actively participating as productive members of the economy. This was a dominant theme NRI laissez-faire economists who descended in hordes post 2014. This breed failing to make a dent, beat the retreat disillusioned or snubbed by current NDA government who were politically pragmatic not to wholly abandon welfare economics.


There is always a grand finale to these kinds of works. It always tries to kill two ideas with one insinuation. The writer now moves on like a trapeze artist walking on sea level pretending to be performing a high altitude tight rope walk.


“Like Amartya Sen, some in the UPA were aligned with groups friendly to the Naxalites and Naxalite supporters on Sonia Gandhi’s National Advisory Council”. You should have guessed it right by now who that Naxalite supporter is. Sen’s intellectual fellow traveler Jean Dreze “was a key member of Sonia Gandhi’s National Advisory Council”. Like a deft movie camera in a Hollywood action movie, he suddenly swoops down on to the bizarre. “Amartya Sen’s economic policies ended up with the same track record as his family business”. What are Sen’s economic policies? And what are his family business? I guess he is referring to the business of the Rothschilds.


The reader is sent reeling not just with absurdities of the author’s argument, but also at the speed at which they are thrown at him. How the US $ 400 billion Rothschild empire is involved with the Naxalite movement will baffle ordinary minds. Not for the initiated. But for the believers, this mere statement is clinching evidence. For average minds one thing is certain. If these Naxal subversives assume power, the Rothschilds, one guesses would be their first target. Maybe the Naxalites and the Rothschilds have do have common interests. That will be the day when we loose our collective common sense.

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