Now that Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg have written an open letter to their new-born daughter, Max, many of India's illustrious wealthy are crafting their own letters.
Here is a sneak preview of a letter that a typical Indian industrialist family is writing to their children.
Dear Beta and Beti:
Every time we fly to meet you at your finishing school in Switzerland or your Ivy League university in USA, your mother and I don't have the words to describe the hope you give us for the future.
Your life is full of promise. When I was studying in USA after having grown up in India, Dada and Dadi had to use hawala channels to send money for our tuition. Dada and Dadi had to send many gifts to their foreign collaborators to ask them for help to get us admission. Or they had to buy machinery from well-connected companies. It is a matter of constant amusement to us that people still don't know whether we have graduated or not from those universities we enrolled in - sometimes even we forget what the truth is and what the honest fact is!
Now it has become so much easier to get admission for you. All we have to do is create a University Fellowship for some Professor on a course like Ethics, Corporate Governance or Climate Change or - if your application form is weak - we have to help build a new Center of Excellence on their campus. In any case, admission is guaranteed - and we can give you the branding you need to take over from us one day in the future.
Come to think of it, all our ticket costs and your ticket costs are borne by those foolish people called minority shareholders. We have shown you as Directors of the Company so even all your studying costs are borne by the Company, as part of the continuing education. If those poor sucker retail investors grumble we give them a 1:1 stock bonus: which is their own money that goes back to them! Accounting tricks that make us look very generous! As one Italian person called Don Mafia said, "You must keep your friends close to you, but keep your enemies closer!" Be liked by all even if you hate them.
Anyways, we are deviating from the point. Yes, we were talking about the great future you have....
You see, in the days of Dada and Dadi - and even in our days - it was not easy to get big business deals. We had to bribe many people to get things done. Whether it was for coal mines, iron ore mines, spectrum or just bank loans. Those deals can get unstuck if questioned in courts. This was a disease that needs to get eradicated for this disease can potentially threaten the entire foundation of our business empire. One other famous person said, "It is not what you know but who you know". What do we really know about anything? Frankly, nothing. But we got to know many people. That was important. So when this disease cropped up, we were not willing to wait 20 years for you to grow older and live in a mediocre world. We created a new way of doing the same old thing.
Today, we follow the integrated supply chain system: we ensure that every minister, every bureaucrat - directly or indirectly - has a share of some upstream or downstream benefit from our business. They win only if we win. It is this integrated approach to doing business which ensures they can never pull you down because, if they do, they will also collapse. This system has just started and will accelerate in the future. The poor government thinks that by putting things under the auction system as ordered by the courts, they will bring in more transparency. Ha! All it takes is for a few of us to get together and rig the system: openly, online - and legitimately! This Zuckerberg fellow created Facebook and then bought out WhatsApp. We now have easy ways to connect to each other and share the spoils.
Beta, Beti: you must marry rich. Keep the money within the rich people. You don't owe anyone anything. You owe the country nothing. It is all in your karma. Let others worry about their own karma. Don't feel guilty about being rich - even if that wealth came by questionable means! All those natural resources owned by the government and the PSUs which were transferred to us would have remained useless resources - not utilised for our private good. Those babus and polyester-suited bureaucrats running the PSUs have no vision. Marry someone who is rich so that you never have to worry about getting college admission for your children: build your own schools and universities. To help you choose your lifetime partners, we have even created the FB group called "KeepTheLootInsideBetaBeti".
And when you have your babies, write them a letter and post it on Facebook. Tell them how 99% of what you have you will give to them - just as we are giving 99% to you. And that extra 1% will go to charities. Even that 1% will not come from your pocket, as such. The government is forcing us to give 2% of profits to charities. We will give it from those listed companies of which we own 50%. Therefore, we are already giving 1% from there. Use that CSR money to build temples. One Russian person, a relative of some tycoon called Karl Marx, told Dada and Dadi - when we were making money from importing/exporting goods from/to Russia under the Rouble trade - "Religion is the opium of the masses". Keep the people happy. Let them get high on chanting the names of gods. Once in a while let them watch sports and get drunk on sports. Buy cricket teams, football teams and F-1 teams. Distract them from the real issues of how money is actually made. A few critics will still grumble and write articles or return government awards in protest of corruption or something silly like "intolerance". Luckily, you won't have to tolerate them for long. Send them on foreign trips and photograph them doing things which Hindutva would not permit. They will be forever compromised and silenced.
There are a lot of diseases in the world. Be careful. Travel only by the private jets we have bought you. We are trying to get the helipads working but that is taking a little longer than we expect. Once it is part of the Smart City policy criteria, then we will get it. Wherever you go, the maharaj will cook food for you and reduce your chance of falling ill. But your karma is good. Keep the money. Make more money. Get more power. Let people say what they want but this is the age of Kalyug, and we will reign supreme.
Beta, Beti: let me close by telling you how much you both mean to us. We will always wish the best for you and pray every night that you have more money than happiness.
Mom and Dad
The above is from "The Honest Truth", a newsletter written by Ajit Dayal and I receive from The Equitymaster