The Crotchet’s Corner

My perspective about all things inconsequential

Double standards !!!

A few of Mahatma Gandhi’s long forgotten possessions were to be auctioned in New York. Indians of various hues suddenly woke up and expressed outrage at what they perceived as an insult to Gandhi and the nation.

 

Auctioned Gandhi possessions

Auctioned Gandhi possessions

 

“We will bring them back to India,” proclaimed the netas.

 

And, ironically, the possessions of a man who advocated prohibition were purchased by someone who made his fortune manufacturing alcohol.

 

India celebrated. National dignity and pride had been restored.

 

Vijay Mallya has stated the he plans to display these memorabilia at a prominent place so that people can see them.

 

We now hear, though, that he might be asked to pay import duty to bring the items into the country.

 

Under the norms of the Central Board of Excise and Customs, these items will be categorized as “collections and collectors’ pieces of zoological, botanical, mineralogical, anatomical, historical, archaeological, palaeontological, ethnographic or numismatic interest”.

 

If not waived, the customs duty payable on Gandhi’s items will be INR 1.35 crores on the bid value of $ 1.8 million. Incidentally, Vijay Mallya had purchased Tipu Sultan’s 42-inch sword in 2003, but has kept it outside India since he was asked to pay customs duty on that item, too.

 

Amazing, isn’t it?

 

Conventional wisdom would suggest that these pieces are of Indian origin, hence no customs duty is payable.

 

But, that is hardly the point. If the Gandhi memorabilia were so important and constituted a national treasure, where does the levy of duties come in? Paradoxical, surely.

 

And, where are those netas who beat their chests and screamed about national pride? They seem to have done the disappearing act.

 

It smacks of opportunism, hypocrisy and double standards, if nothing else.

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March 22, 2009 - Posted by | About this and that | , , ,

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