Dalal Foundation’s opening speech at the inaugural Mir Zafar awards, August 11, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Dalal Foundation I welcome you all to this first Mir Zafar Award ceremony.

The Dalal Foundation started as a collective dream of a few individuals who were inspired by the rich tradition of perfidy in this country.

We draw our inspiration from Mr. Zafar, whose presence we feel during this ceremony, this award we have named after him, who almost to this month 250 years ago took that one big step towards the harbinger of progress and prosperity.

We remember Mr. Zafar today, as no one has done before, as a man well before his time, as a man of incredible foresight, who on that battlefield in Bengal where all there was, was a river and a mango orchard, he, Mr Zafar, could see railway trains chugging away, could see people queuing up to cast their ballots, could see little boys and little girls sitting in neat rows smiling at the future that lay before them.

We believe Mr Zafar in his Buddha moment saw the benefits of civilization – railway trains, democracy and school education to name a few, as he marched, head bent low, towards his benefactors along with his followers.

Unconcerned by potential popularity drop, unfazed by possible misfortune of friends and family, the visionary the dreamer marched to a trailblazing band.

We at Dalal Foundation have been called dreamers too. Our dream is the dream of the most efficient use of natural and human resources for progress, prosperity and profit and yes considering the national event next week, for freedom.

The Dalal Foundation believes that freedom weedom is okay as long as it is recognized and respected that the freedom to exploit natural and human resources for profit generation takes precedence over all other freedoms.

It is our core conviction that corporations are the supreme form of expression of this most important freedom of all. Unbound by national boundaries, trans national corporations, one of the supreme benefits of modern times, are the staunchest believers in freedom.

It is our Foundation’s love for freedom that draws us to transnational corporations based in that land of freedom, USA. Those glorious stripes in our flag could only come from the country where the most popular snack is called freedom fries.

Yes we dream of freedom and progress but we are not crazy to be dreaming about omlettes while hesitating at the thought of cracking eggs.

Fact of life, development demands sacrifice. Imagine Mr. Zafar in his Buddha moment. Do you think he did not see the people who would be stupid enough to kill themselves under trains by accident or by design? Can you imagine what would have happened if the great visionary had mixed up his priorities.

The train of development cannot go chugging unless we sacrifice some people we would never know and some places we have never been.

We at Dalal Foundation respect this sacrifice, so long as one is quoting reasonable rates, we even support paying cash for sacrifice.

Which brings us to the matter of Special Economic Zones over which there has been much hulla bulloo (we hear there is some of that going on in another part of the city as we speak). Frankly we believe that creating just 500 SEZs in such a big country as India is discriminatory towards transnational corporations who have the ability to invest on a much larger scale.

We have no quarrel with laws. Laws are good for the people. But Corporations are not people. And those that are beyond national borders should be beyond national laws. Just plain logic, yeah.

Yet far too much noise has been made about the survival of the people who will be making way for these outposts of the corporate empire at the dawn of this new era of unprecedented progress.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me assure you all, in the struggle between profit and survival the Dalal Foundation is on the side of profit.

Thank you

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