Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #105 - The Plutonomy and the Rest; Walking marriages of Matriarchy

“Whoever debases others is debasing himself.” ― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time


“Aasmaa pe hai khuda, aur zameen pe hum. Aajkal wo is taraf dekhta hai kam” (God sits in the heavens, while we are on the ground. He rarely watches our plight these days)

Powerful rule the rest by many means. Exporting their own devious ways and putting the blame on an imaginary being has been a remarkably effective way to handle dissent and unrest.

Money, connections, and propaganda are used by the rich, the very rich to add even more to their coffers and pave the way for their coming generations to get more. Their charity is driven by their own ideologies and is towards a goal that aims for domination.

The facade of charity however becomes a great way to hide their guilt.

When the rich and the powerful sit on TV channels or in fancy literary festivals and discuss the economy and the various social dynamics, they posit their words as global prescriptions.

That is if the world is seen from their eyes.

The reality is different though. There is a world that they look at, engage with, and make strategies for. And a world which just supplicates for survival.

That no one cares for.

So, let us look at how one world works to rule over the other.

(PLEASE NOTE: You may have noticed that we have changed the application we use for our newsletter. Hopefully, the content will still be as enriching as it always has been. One big change - you can even comment on our posts and it can start a conversation. Please comment and let us know what you feel about this edition? )

Leave a comment


book bans and religious motivations

The so-called liberals in India led by Christian apologist-cum-hobby-historian William Dalrymple have put pressure on the publisher to effectively ban the book based on facts “Delhi Riots 2020 - The Untold Story” by Adv Monika Arora, Sonali Chitalkar and Prerna Malhotra. As per news reports, they are also pressurizing book stores to not carry the book. So let us check how the book-bans have happened the world over.

We took the basic data from Wikipedia - which we know is biased and tries to sanitize certain religious ideologies - and yet the picture that comes out is very interesting. With respect to books banned due to religious reasons - Islamic religious motivation was responsible for 14 books to be banned in India, Pakistan, and Singapore. Christian religious motivation caused 5 books to be banned. We have put the entire data along with the pivot tables here, so if you know of more books, please feel free to let us know in the comments section and we can add it.

Interestingly, the recent book ban is also motivated by Islamic religious fundamentalist ideologies. So, you can add one more to the Indian count.

plutonomy and the rest

In 2011, in times of a recession in the US, a guest was explaining the chasms within the US economy itself.  There were two economies, he argued.  Not one.

In the wake of the recession, this guest explained, high-income individuals, large banks, and major corporations had experienced a “significant recovery”; the rest of the economy, by contrast—including small businesses and “a very significant amount of the labor force”—was stuck and still struggling. What we were seeing, he argued, was not a single economy at all, but rather “fundamentally two separate types of economy,” increasingly distinct and divergent.(Source)

The guest was Alan Greenspan.  Arguably the greatest exponent of Capitalism.  In 2005, Citigroup had shared a brochure with its investors, called “Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances” - which is popularly known as the “Plutonomy memo”, where they discussed the strange world out there.

The world they said was divided into two blocs - the Plutonomy and the Rest.

What are the Plutonomies?  They are the economies powered by the rich and the wealthy.

So, the Citigroup analysts argued - “put your money into a Plutonomy Basket.

In a plutonomy there is no such animal as “the U.S. consumer” or “the UK consumer”, or indeed the “Russian consumer”. There are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take. There are the rest, the “non-rich”, the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie.

How the elite and the rich twist and turn the economies is known to all of us.  But what gets missed quite often is how they direct even altruism and, therefore channel the national and social morals in a certain direction.

We had one been involved in evaluating India’s largest government NGO donor organization.  Other than that organization, there are many other donor agencies as well like DANIDA (Denmark donor agency), OXFAM, and Ford Foundation.

Now, these donor organizations create an ecosystem that is full of supplicant NGOs looking for money. Nimruji Jammulamadaka writes in one essay shares this worry but walks past it without looking at the real picture.

NGOs are popularly viewed as altruistic and responsive to the needy. However, the availability of donors is a primary trigger for the formation of NGOs. This finding need not dispel the impression that NGOs are altruistic enterprises, though altruism is primarily an individual-level characteristic, but when it leads to the formation of an NGO, the organization will usually require funding, and donors appear to use the existence of other NGOs as a heuristic indicating the need for more NGOs. Thus, the number of NGOs formed in an area is an ecological-level characteristic that may create the impression of self-interestedness, but one that is not necessarily inconsistent with the altruism of the individuals involved. (Source)

Oxfam, Ford Foundation (known to work with US Govt and CIA) and DANIDA do is to further their own agenda in the world.  That is what they give the money for.  Not for what the poor in a country need.

During our study with the Government Donor agency, we had met many hundreds of NGOs.  In one such meeting in Lucknow, where local NGOs leads had come - this was in 1995 - we asked what their top priorities were that year.

Everyone had one answer - AIDS.

AIDS?  In rural UP? Not malaria, typhoid, dysentery, child health, or nutrition?

The answer came when we went to DANIDA and picked their brochure up.  Their top agenda was AIDS the world over.

What someone decided in Denmark, the poor in a village in Saharanpur district were trying to get aligned to.

Plutonomy and the Rest.  That is what it is.  The Rich and powerful who decide and the Poor who get defined and suffer their definitions and donations.

religion as a tool for power using the NGOs

We have seen how the government donor organization set the priorities in Indian rural areas. Let us look at how the funds have been used via NGOs to alter India’s demography.

By 2010, India was receiving in excess of Rs 10,000 crore annually as “foreign contributions for NGOs.”

Who was sending so much money to India every year? And for what? This is a state-wise distribution. The top 6 states which received money from the donors in the USA were Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal, and Odisha.

So, why the heck was Tamil Nadu receiving so much money? Does Tamil Nadu have more poor than the rest of the country? Certainly no. The answer lies in where the money was going.

Chennai is the Headquarters of World Vision of India and of Caruna Bal Vikas. In 2012-13, they received Rs. 250 Crore and Rs. 130 Crore respectively. A huge fraction (> 92%) of their funding comes from USA. However, as remarked earlier, they do not spend all this money within TN. They send funds to various other (smaller) organizations across all over India. Given these, it will not be far-fetched to state that the effective funds from USA spent in TN is approximately Rs. 350-400 Crore. (Source)

While World Vision openly declares conversion to Christianity as one of its missions (Source), Caruna Bal Vikas has an interesting story.

Compassion International had an office in India and was openly funding conversion activities. In 2017, it was forced to shut down its offices after the Modi government banned it from distributing funds for conversion in 2016. Obama government officials had pushed India and tried to malign the Modi government over this.

So what did Compassion International do? Quit? Wrong! It started funneling its money via Caruna Bal Vikas.

Now, Christians have multitudes of denominations, which have been at loggerheads against each other everywhere. But in the matter of conversions and subverting the Indian laws they come together.

In Feb 2020, finally, CBI booked Caruna Bal Vikas for channeling Compassion International money for conversions. (Source)

Do you see how Methodist, Baptist, and Pentecostal Churches were all getting their funds from Caruna Bal Vikas? So, that’s the story of Tamil Nadu.

What about West Bengal? Now, that should have been a different situation right? Think again.

Here are the top 6 recipients in 2012-13. (Source)

These conversions are not innocent or innocuous. Apart from the rapid changes in demography that they do, they impact the lives of ordinary people because the political ideologies are set by the evangelists sitting in some foreign country - the US, in this case.

In the US, climate change denial is a big issue with right-wing evangelist organizations.

The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP), also known as Gadgil Commission, after its chairman, Prof. Madhav Gadgil, was constituted in March 2010 for assessing the current ecological status of the Western Ghats region, demarcate areas that need to be notified as ecologically sensitive, and recommend notifying such areas as ecologically sensitive zones under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and make recommendations for the conservation, protection, and rejuvenation of the Western Ghats region. They gave their recommendations in a report to the Government of India on Aug. 31, 2011.

They were strongly resisted and maligned by the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. The church and the mining lobbies joined hands to shoot down this report.

The result was that the Western Ghats saw devastating floods in 2018! (Source) Precisely because no action was taken on the Gadgil report.

As Citigroup’s “Plutonomy memo” had said - there are two blocs in the world - the Plutonomy and the Rest.

Freedom fighters and entertainment

We have always heard of our freedom fighters in only one way - how nationalist they were and always ready to fight or resist.

But was that all to them?

Have you wondered what they may have liked in terms of entertainment?

Bhagat Singh for example loved movies and rasgullas. He could go hungry for his love for movies. And he specifically loved Charlie Chaplin movies.

"Once, Bhagat Singh and his friends desired to watch a movie. The movie, based on the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, was about the fight of black people against discrimination. "At that time, Chandrasekhar Azad used to be their leader, and together, they only managed to gather enough money for their food. Naturally, they were afraid of him coming to know if they used that money for watching the movie instead of feeding themselves," Lal said. It was then that Bhagat Singh took upon himself to bear the ire of Azad, and led his friends to watch the film, he said, noting, "That was his love for the movies." (Source)

His love for rasagullas developed due to his friendship with B K Dutt, a Bengali.

nota bene

Selling BrahMos to friendlies: BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture of India and Russia, is one of the platforms which can be exported to friendly nations. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) which is in the process of readying a list of military items that can be exported has BrahMos Missiles among other items. “After fulfilling the requirements of the Indian armed forces, BrahMos missile can be exported to third countries,” sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online. (Source)

Fanatic Doc: Lara Kollab is a Muslim who was a first-year resident at the Cleveland Clinic from July to September 2018. According to the Canary Mission, Kollab has been posting hate messages for Jews where she called for violence against Jews, defended Hamas, trivialized the Holocaust, and repeatedly compared Israel to Nazi Germany. She also said "ill purposely give all the yahood the wrong meds..." (Source)

“Kafir” woman killed on Eid: Santola Devi, a 62-year-old sweet shop owner, from Uttar Pradesh’s Jaganipur village of Fatanpur police station area in Pratapgarh, was mercilessly beaten up by her Muslim neighbor family with sticks and stones on May 26. She was admitted to a Prayagraj hospital in grievous conditions. After fighting for a day, Santola Devi succumbed to her injuries.  Notably, the Hindu woman was brutally hacked to death, merely a day after Eid. According to reports, for the last 4-5 years, she was regularly being targetted by her Muslim neighbors, who called her a ‘Kaafir’ (Source)

Wisconsin shooting: Jacob Blake, a black man was shot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and has been paralyzed waist down. Meanwhile, arson and looting have started. Heavily armed civilians have been filmed patrolling outside businesses in Kenosha after arsonists set buildings alight, torching much of the black business district Monday. (Source)

walking marriages of a matriarchal society

Have you ever wondered how a society would be if it was built ground up for women to lead? The Mosuos are a small ethnic group living in Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces in China, close to the border with Tibet. almost 40,000 in number, they live in foothills of the Himalayas, around the Lugu Lake.

They have a special marriage arrangement called the “walking marriages”. In that tradition, women can have as many boyfriends as they want throughout their lifetime. Interestingly, the inheritance passes from mother to daughter. Men are, well, mostly an after-thought.


If you have anything to share on these topics, please feel free to comment:

Leave a comment

If you like our newsletter, please share it with your friends and family -

Share दृष्टिकोण’s Newsletter

If you like this post - please share it with someone who will appreciate the information shared in this edition -

Share