India is neither the vibrant global South democracy nor the poster child for globalization’s benefits that global political elites have insisted it is for over a decade.
Hiro’s work provides a stunning indictment of the fashionable idea echoed endlessly by mainstream pundits of a politically and economically healthy, thriving, democratic India.
In 2008, under the aegis of a Congress Party-led coalition government in India, the country was rocked by one of the biggest scandals of graft and corruption it had ever seen. The scandal was led by Andimuthu Raja, a member of a regional party that had formed a coalition with the old dynastic Congress Party, who became the minister of communications in 2007.
The scandal, the “2G spectrum” scam, involved the sale of bandwidth licenses to select telecom companies at underpriced rates. In exchange, Raja received millions of rupees in kickbacks. The loss to the Indian government due to the 2G spectrum scandal was estimated between US$8-10 billion. In 2011, Time ranked the scandal second on an “Abuses of Power” list—right behind Watergate.