The Antilla Syndrome

No sooner did the news of disappearance of Mukesh Ambani, 28th richest man of the world and possessor of Rs 154,000 crore net worth leaked, there was frantic activity in govt circles in India. Police was alerted, army crack teams were put on standby, even navy was put on high alert. Airport security all over the country was tightened as spy agencies got busy looking for clues to his disappearance. Media started spinning sundry conspiracy theories around how all of a sudden the richest man in India could go amiss.

The mystery of missing mukesh took a turn for curious when 6 days later this notice ran in all major print publications in Mumbai:

Public Notice

The 27 story, 4 lac sq ft sq ft building on Altamount Road off Peddar road, touted to be the costliest private residence in the world (valued at 12,000 cr) is being re-oriented and renamed as Ant Hill Complex. Its 3 helipads after considerable objections from Navy and Awaz foundation are being shut down as also its extra high rooms and theaters are being opened for the Currimbhoy Orphanage Trust residents, the original owners of the land from which it was allegedly illegally acquired for 21 cr ( against a market rate of more than 150 cr). The underprivileged khoja children for whose education this land was earmarked before it was sold in direct contravention of article 51 of WAKF act, would now be granted free access to the living and studying quarters of the building. This is a blessing for them to fully Jio.

However this notice was least surprising part of the case as soon enough an email landed in the mailboxes of all major national news editors with its content as follows :

Dear Editors,

Capitalism is a great system of producing wealth however it is the lousiest system of distributing it. If socialism died because implementing its ideology resulted in totalitarian states, capitalism is dying because in its implementation it is producing an unjust and an unsustainable society. To bring home this injustice, world wealth distribution numbers, paint a compelling although a disturbing picture:

1) 62 people in world hold as much money as other 3.5billion ( 50% of world population) or to expand this statstic top 1% people in world ( 70 million) own as much wealth as other 99% ( 6.93 billion) of the world.

2) The worrying fact is that inspite of lip service from all world leaders this huge wealth gap is continuously increasing and in last 5 years alone bottom 50% have become poorer by a trillion dollars while the top 62 rich people have got richer by half a trillion dollars.

3) Looked alternately, total wealth of the world is around $241 trillion and the super rich which are about 0.6% of world population own 112 trn out of that and rich who are another 7.5% of population own 98.5 trn thus leaving a measly 35 trn ( 15%) for balance 92% of the people.

Now during the course of my absence I had the chance to be acquainted with two convincing arguments against this non equitable distribution of resources which is forcing billions around the world into hunger, disease and death:

1) “Intrinsic argument of equity” which says that equity or fairness is important in itself as an attribute and should be honored by all of mankind. It is our moral DNA of being human.

2) “Instrumental argument of equity” which says that the social contract between citizen and state is based on fairness and if some people get away with very large share of what a society produces it essentially breaks down the entire structure of community life and dispensation of public policy and facilities thus making the whole civilization dysfunctional.

Having realized now, how my actions contribute towards large scale malfunction of Indian society and its poor population, I have decided to retire and perform penance for the harm I might have caused due to my ignorance. Do not try to find me and please inform authorities to call off any search parties that might be looking out for me. I was not able to find myself initially and now I will ensure that you do not find me. Your’s truly, MA.

Tales are told that 15 years later, a foreign correspondent landed up in a solitary hut of an ascetic in Himalayan Foothills. All he could find in the sparsely populated, 100 sq ft single story hut was a sleeping mat, a lamp, a water mug and some dis-shaped plates and bowl.

“Baba where is your stuff” the correspondent wanted to know.

The slightly bulky and bearded owner of that hut counter-questioned “Where is yours’”

“Oh I travel light. I am just a visitor here.” correspondent answered.

“So am I” the ascetic quipped.

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