Bombay House Mystery – Sherlock Holmes report

[Red herring disclosure to my readers – manifest, absentee, not manifested yet ]

  • I was a Tata employee from 2002-2004.
  • I do not hold any Tata stock.
  • The Sherlock Holmes report means that I have read most of the major mainstream and alternative media reports on the issue in a way Mr. Holmes used to read the official coroner’s report, official detective forces’s report and then pronounced his judgement.
  • The report does not address “what has happened”, “why this has happened”, “how great or momentous it is for the Group and the others, India, world market,Milky way galaxy etc”, “Whose fault it is”, “Current versus ex?”
  • The report does address the question : “Why the event has happened the way it has happened instead of taking other way ?”

My dear Watson,

I have perused all the reports of Bloomberg, Time of India, The Guardian, Economic Standard, The Hindu, NDTV, CNBC, Wall Street Journal, Livemint, Mumbai mirror and although they have done good legwork and brain-work in describing the event, they do not enlighten you at all as to why this has happened in the way it has happened. 

Now, you must understand very clearly that an Indian Parsi is not a Hindoo bania or a Hindoo. Even though they do not have much physical differences, their weltanschauung is completely different. I cannot express this in English and only the German language comes closer to the being of what I am trying to convey – some kind of blood, world, life, death, afterlife mixed up.

This distinction is hardwired and crucial. You must also understand that there is some process call assimilation that happens as silently as a murderer leaves some trace or other at the crime scene. It is those subtle signs that  Art of Deduction  uses to unravel any mystery. I shall, perforce, use the same method  which you have so clumsily popularized in your journals. Looking at those journals, sometimes, as an objective reasoner I feel the same disgust as I feel for these media reports that the writer and editor found a jolly good thing to have  inserted a story of elopement in the fifth proposition of Euclid to make their reports more spicy for the readers and perhaps for themselves as well.

Parsis are a microscopic minority in terms of population but in terms of contribution in all walks of life, including business, they have very huge and disproportionate  contribution.

Let me come to some of the official reports I have mentioned at the first paragraph. These reports, which were produced in India may easily mislead you. These reports are written, approved and released by a class of people who never commanded any empire, never had any colony – business or political, and it is only for last twenty five years or so, they were able to own companies out of their country. This gives a naturally heady feeling. You may consult my monograph on the same heady feeling I have described when Venetian fleet was trading across the whole Mediterranean.

You may remind yourself when you please that just like a pressurized cork suddenly opened, gushes forth and spills valuable wine inside, these people were naturally inclined to cross the limits of prudence and judgement. Oh, yes, I forget, there is an incentive of these official report producers, from the scribe to the owners, to encourage somewhat rasher acts as they also wanted to reap the benefit of the new found freedom to earn money, glamour and halo of foreign recognition of prowess. In plainer English, they have had profitable business relationship with these pioneers and the relationship means being sponsors and advertisers of what they produce.

As a married man, you must have felt the impact of time on marriage as a process. In these twenty five years or so, what was novelty for the pioneers was routine for the second wave of leaders. This is at the root of all conflict between generations which are just adjacent – like father and son. The pioneer generation, thanks to the retention of human memory looks more to the past (as this is longer now than the future) and magnifies this and the younger generation looks more to the future (which is longer) and the conflict is very natural and somewhat healthy.

I would now direct your attention to the assimilation process, to be precise, between the Parsi and the predominant Hindoo bania , and you must understand this process in a very delicate manner. It will not be easy for you from your cultural vantage point but it is imperative that you must try with all objectivity because if you understand this, then we shall go a long way to solve our original problem : why it has happened the way it has happened.There lies the capital evidence.

When you were assisting Her Majesty’s troops in Afghanistan as a military surgeon, it was the same time, this Group was conceived. After some seventy years you came back to London, injured, broke and broken, the same thing happened to our colonial government in India too. They also returned back. The new rulers of India continued with the assimilation process which was not an easy thing – it was balancing many opposites.

One of such balancing acts in terms of worldview was how to grow and at the same time keep the “bloodline” weaved through. As you well understand how the doctrine of primogeniture has ruined many old families of England where the lawmakers have fingered destinies from their grave. Something similar has happened with the Hindus too. As their businesses grew, this doctrine of “family heir ship”  was becoming increasingly difficult to accommodate. One of the traits of these people is that they cannot operate without establishing a relationship with anything. So the business they run get personalized or becomes the relic of a person. The deepest insight you must be guided by is that many times, this attachment to the relic is done for any strategic purpose but because the conditioning or the very presence of the cultural and genetic make.

Parsis were a monotheistic people in their world-view but the assimilation has injected many components of the polytheism into their worldview through centuries of cohabitation.

You may observe with the data available with our Indian office that Tata Group has been most aggressive in last twenty five years in terms of owning foreign companies. There were Hindu-owned companies in India with comparable sizes and clout but they did not venture with that intensity. This cannot be explained because of their lack of vigour or hunger for foreign empire but they have pre-empted themselves or rather their cultural conditioning prevented them to stake large stakes in such adventures. They reasoned that the price of expansion will put extreme strain on the “bloodline weaving” and this had prevented them behaving the way Tata behaved. The pioneer was behaving as an exact anti-thesis of the Hindu constraint of balancing business empire’s stretch and the risk of non-blood line coverage.

Now, after twenty five years, the younger leader, relatively more assimilated due to the impact of time, finds  guided less by the zeal of the pioneer and in terms of world-view, leans more toward the assimilated world-view. He supports this world-view by using something which is least valued in the country while pitied against age and tradition-rationality and objective reason. This is something completely human as Schopenhauer said so eloquently – We do not reason to desire something, we rationalize our desires.

Thus, you can see that this whole episode was bound to happen the way it happened. As regards to the timing of the incident, this is minor question but I shall have a long shot on this.

The Group has voluntarily attached itself to the global business fortune and as the global business fortune has its highs and lows and currently it is undergoing one of its lows and the conflict has come to surface. There is no mystery in it. As an internal cause, earlier average lifespan was lower and providence intervened as a solution. However, with the improvement in health care and with the fortune they command to access, more and more patriarchs will be touching third generation while being completely active – physically and mentally, unless and until there is providential intervention or some foul play. Our friends in India must take this into their reflection about their businesses, large or small.

Now, my dear friend, it is a fine early afternoon here, in the Wordsmith Castle, where my friend had invited me for a change, we shall go together for a stroll and let’s see what charms life can offer and no mystery, either in Bombay or Calcutta – petite or great, should bother us then.

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