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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

(Published in on 25 October, 2011, retrieved from

Apparently, Tihar Jail has decided to call in a bunch of yuppies – or aspiring yuppies – from IIM Ahmedabad, to brainstorm for marketing ideas to help sell Tihar’s products better.
However, since the country’s most famous jail houses a host of celebrities, and has seen several high-profile detainees over the last year, one wonders whether the authorities really need help from business management students. I mean, look at the endorsement potential within its walls.
This Diwali, there are several products Tihar could create and sell, complete with the personalities they’re named after. So, how’s this for starters?
Kani Boomerangs
She’s pleaded as a mother, as a woman, as an artist, what-have-you. But Kanimozhi has been in jail for more than five months, despite judge O P Saini praising her conduct at the hearing, and even the CBI having mood swings over whether or not to oppose her bail plea.

And that’s not the only boomerang effect the poet-turned-politician has witnessed. The first couple of times her father Karunanidhi showed up, he spurned goodwill trips to the houses of his allies.
This time round, though he wheeled himself into Sonia Gandhi’s and Manmohan Singh’s homes, complete with bouquets of red roses and yellow flowers for the two leaders respectively, his gesture only seemed to ricochet.
Raja 1760000000000 Wala
Obvious, huh? Well, technically, the bomb burst last time round, but Raja’s spent enough time in jail to string together one of those every year.
And despite having practically no hope of getting out any time soon, what with the DMK patriarch far less concerned about his one-time blue-eyed boy and Dalit mascot than his youngest daughter, Raja has no intention of going down alone – or quietly.
He has already brought up the complicity of then Financial Minister P Chidambaram and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the spectrum allocation. The ramifications of his allegations caused something of a crisis in the ruling coalition, which culminated in a showdown between two of its most senior ministers – Pranab Mukherjee and Chidambaram.

Gajar ka Balwa
This was simply hard to resist. Well, but the Swan Telecom – now Etisalat DB Telecom – Promoter has chased plenty of carrots to end up where he is.
It was all smooth sailing till 2010, when he was the youngest Indian to make the Forbes rich list, and was among the ten youngest billionaires in the world.
But when the 2G spectrum scandal broke, he found himself in the blender, and the rest is history.

Amar Key Chains
Despite the propensity of most politicians, including Yeddyurappa, to fall critically ill within minutes of stepping into jails, the only one who will be celebrating Diwali at home is Amar Singh.
The best-friend-turned-arch-enemy of Mulayam Singh, the former Samajwadi Party strongman got into a soup in the 2008 cash-for-votes scam. His newfound friend, the Congress, promptly washed its hands of him.
Ironically enough, his bail conditions include two sureties for which he will have to raise cash of Rs 2 crore.

Maran Exchange Programme

There are so many levels to this.
First, Dayanidhi Maran jumped out of his ministry after his brother’s paper published a Stalin vs. Azhagiri survey that had the latter’s supporters attacking the newspaper office and killing staff. The vacated ministry seat eventually went to Raja.
Then, came the allegation from former Aircel owner Sivasankaran that Dayanidhi Maran had forced him to sell his stake to Maxis, when Maran was Telecom Minister.
Finally, newspapers flashed reports of a personal telephone exchange within Dayanidhi Maran’s house, complete with 323 lines, that is believed to have been used by his brother’s television network, Sun.
Four years after the complaint was received, the CBI is scrutinising documents from Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), detailing the allocation of the high-capacity telecom lines.
And while the Maran brothers made the CBI sleuths cool their heels outside their home for half an hour, ahead of a raid, they’re still outside Tihar.
Sonia Non-Stick Teflon
Every charge ever brought against the latest Mrs. Gandhi to head the Congress, from Bofors to black money, has slid off as easily as it’s been slapped on.
To read her Wikipedia page, one would think the formidable Sonia Gandhi’s life was quite non-controversial – well, except for her Hindi pronunciation.
 She may have been the only Indian politician – why, only international politician – to have had a completely secret operation, not spotted at her port of entry or exit either at the airports or hospital she is believed to have stayed in. Her mystery illness remains undisclosed.
And though she only took up Indian citizenship in 1983 – 15 years into her marriage – and is yet to master any language spoken in India, three senior Congress leaders (Sharad Pawar, Purno A Sangma, and Tariq Anwar) were expelled for bringing up her foreign origins in 1999, when she seemed all set to become Prime Minister. Her ‘inner voice’ chose to speak up at the eleventh hour.

Swamy Gourmet
He fights all his battles in the courts, and consistently proves that he doesn’t say anything without evidence. He heads a party of which he is lone member. And it seems Subramanian Swamy has been dictating the menu at Tihar Jail.
At a recent speech, the Janata Party president mentioned that an official from the jail had complained about the difficulties of preparing idli and dosa for the South Indians lodged in the jail.
Swamy responded by asking him to learn to make pizzas and pastas, to suit an Italian palate. Since the person one presumes they are intended for used to moonlight as a waitress, she may be able to help with the recipe, huh?
Anna Amplifiers

Anna Hazare’s fast in March this year had the whole of Delhi queuing up to light candles. But his preventive arrest, and dharna inside Tihar Jail, notched up unprecedented support across the country for his movement.
With his aide Kiran Bedi tweeting regularly, and posting a video from inside the jail of Anna’s speech, the septuagenarian crusader against corruption rose to iconic status thanks to his three-day stint in jail.
Would his fast have got as much publicity and momentum had the government let him be, instead of swooping in to make a preventive arrest, and then blaming the Delhi Police? We’ll never know.
Bedi Revolving Doors

The former top cop, who was instrumental in reforming Tihar Jail – and even changing its name to Tihar Ashram – found herself on the other side of the bars earlier this year.
Kiran Bedi was one of the Team Anna members to be arrested ahead of Hazare’s proposed fast. She was back within hours, though, and with her phone camera, brought back some of the action with her.


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