Jet Airways

October 16, 2008

We now interrupt our current run of TV-blogging to abuse everyone involved in the Jet Airways fashla.

Jet Airways

What the hell went wrong? What were they thinking when they fired people overnight? The only possible answers are colossal stupidity or desperation.

Desperation – we know that they haven’t been paying their fuel bills for a while. And with eight months of running losses, banks were refusing to provide working capital. And with the financial crisis on, raising long term capital looks practically impossible. They’re bleeding cash, and firing their newest employees probably seemed like the quickest way to staunch the flow.

Colossal stupidity – is a stereotype that usually goes well with HR departments and senior managements. But in this case, it looks like they really weren’t thinking the consequences through. They now have Raj Thackeray, the CPI(M), and news channels baying for their blood. That will probably pass, but they’ve lost their reputation as a good employer. When the business cycle improves, they’ll have to deal with not being an employer of choice. (That assumes they’ll survive until then.)

Back in the last recession, there were a bunch of IT companies which made their layoffs/ salary cutbacks as painless as possible and got written up as case studies. I think Mindtree was one of them. Jet Airways didn’t learn. (But then Ajay Shah has written that nobody in India even understands that business cycles exist and a recession will eventually come along…)

Jet Airways Employees

OK, being told in the morning that you’re fired and you shouldn’t show up for work is definitely a shock. More so, if it happens to 1900 of your colleagues simultaneously. But if their sob stories are true and they are sole breadwinners who have taken out home loans and are worried about how they’ll pay their EMIs, then I have to say that they were idiots. They were on probation. They knew that they’d been hired for a one year period before being confirmed. They knew that house prices were higher than ever before. They knew that they were employed by an airline that was losing money and that job security apart, salary increases were probably not coming soon. And knowing this… they went into debt. FSM preserve them.

Hopefully, the ones shouting on TV about their EMIs were a small minority who the news channels picked to add to the drama.

News Channels

Dear news channels. This is not the largest layoff in India in the recent past. Banks have been shutting down their associated consumer finance/ small business loan NBFCs left right and centre over the past year, and the total layoffs in these have been much higher.

This is merely the largest layoff in India of attractive young people who speak good English. Please insert the appropriate disclaimers. And stop trying to project the temporary plight of young middle class Indians who are otherwise employable as the end of the world. Okay?

The CPI(M)

The CPI(M) is pretty much complicit in bringing Jet Airways to this state. All of last year, they sat in the way of price hikes for petrol, diesel and kerosene. So the oil marketing companies raised the prices of air fuel instead in an attempt to survive. And now Jet Airways is bankrupt and has to sack employees to survive. After this, Nilotpal Basu has the gall to go on TV and say that the CPI(M) won’t allow Jet Airways to operate from Kolkata.

Also, demanding reinstatement? Firing employees isn’t pleasant, but at least it does stem the cash outflow a little. If Jet Airways kept them on, then it would keep losing money until it couldn’t even pay the confirmed employees, who’d been on the payrolls longer. The CPI(M) seems more concerned about a thousand jobs today than twenty thousand jobs next year (and CEOs get abused for thinking in the short term!). (Related reading here.) Either the CPI(M) is (shock! gasp!) a run-of-the-mill political party, concerned only about the next election; or it doesn’t understand reality. Or both.

Oscar Fernandes

Because when he was asked for a soundbite, he smiled and said that he didn’t know anything because he had been at a junket labour ministers’ conference in Bali.

Praful Patel

OK, no abusing Praful Patel. Because he’s actually refused to bail anybody out, pointed out that this is to do with ATF prices, and has generally not played to the gallery.

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Solving the Kashmir Crisis

September 17, 2008

A loyal reader who is a recovering Bong and therefore wishes to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals from family members has solved the Kashmir crisis. This has been done through some brilliant out-of-the-box thinking.

Key to his/ her solution is that what the Kashmiris want is azaadi, and not specifically Azad Kashmir. Geelani-type junta would also like said azaadi to be come with Islamic foundations, or at least with Islamic neighbours. The only problem is that by itself, Azad Kashmir isn’t sustainable. It’s landlocked, vulnerable to interference from Pakistan, India, and China, and has too few people. And it could so easily descend into being a Central Asian banana republic.

But the Kashmiris still want Azaadi. And considering India is a democracy I think we should give it to them good and hard. So here is where my reader’s solution comes in, towards making the idea of an independent Kashmiri republic (or independent Kashmiri theocracy for that matter) feasible – set it up not in Kashmir, but in Bengal.

This would work as follows: whichever Kashmiris wanted azaadi would migrate to Bengal. Then you’d integrate West Bengal and Bangladesh, thus creating a unified Bongland with lots of territory, lots of people, and Islamic parties already established. Then the Kashmiris take over, and turn the whole thing into Azad Kashmir.

This is a brilliant plan. Everyone wins. Let’s look at the benefits for all involved.


  1. Gets azaadi
  2. Gets a quarter of a billion Bongs to lord over and exploit as menial labour
  3. Gets warm water ports


  1. No longer has to worry about financing counterinsurgency operations in Kashmir and was fencing the Bangladesh border anyway
  2. Doesn’t have to worry about the effect of Pakistani or Chinese influence on an independent Kashmir valley
  3. Gets rid of Mamata Banerjee, 60% of the CPI(M) MPs, and 30% of the CPI MPs
  4. Gets rid of Bongs in general, for that matter


Honestly, who cares what the benefits are for Bongs? But still, for the sake of completeness:

  1. An integrated Bongland means the jute and the jute mills are finally in the same country
  2. Kashmiri carpet making technology means that there could finally be an actual use for jute
  3. Kashmiri houseboat technology can be a mitigant to global warming inundating Bongland
  4. Bong rice + Kashmiri cuisine = score!

Now nitpickers and pessimists will no doubt complain that moving Kashmiris to Bengal will come with a huge refugee problem and the pain of migration and large scale rioting and violence. Likewise, integrating Bengal. Likewise, emigration of Bongs and Cal-maadoos who don’t want to live under the Kashmiri jackboot. And I gaze at them scornfully and say: ‘Some people look at things and say why, I look at them and say why not.’ Or some platitude along those lines involving can-do attitudes. Really, we can’t squander this opportunity.

Salvor Hardin was Right

March 10, 2008

BJP and RSS workers have attacked the CPI(M) office in New Delhi, apparently in retaliation for the CPI(M) killing BJP workers in Kerala.

The idiots haven’t done anything in parliament for the past four years. They’ve squandered the opportunity to attack the Congress for toeing the CPI(M)’s line, and the left for toeing China’s line. The Congress has gifted them issue after issue on which it’s bungled – inflation, PSU disinvestment, Naxal civil war, terrorism, the nuclear deal – and it’s done absolutely nothing with this cornucopia of issues to attack them on. They’ve wasted the past four years.

And now this. Violence truly is the last refuge of the incompetent.