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HomeOpinionsOpen LettersDear Swaminathan Aiyar, it is time to answer some tough questions on "Rexit"

Dear Swaminathan Aiyar, it is time to answer some tough questions on “Rexit”

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a columnist and author.  

Has anyone else noticed how a certain name has disappeared from the news cycle? No, I am not talking of names like M K Ganapathi, the police DSP of Karnataka who committed suicide last week leaving after blaming a certain honorable secular minister for his death. There are some names and some “institutional murders” that never make it to the news….

I am talking about Shri. Raghuram Rajan, the greatest economist, the greatest central banker, indeed the greatest human being to ever walk this planet. How did his name suddenly disappear from the news cycle after being in headlines for months?

Is it possible that reality did not cooperate with a certain class of elite analysts?? 

Let’s just pick one, particularly outspoken luminary called Mr. Swaminathan Aiyar. On June 22, writing in the Economic Times, a day before the Brexit referendum, Shri Aiyar made the following predictions in his article titled : “Rexit: This government has just shot itself in the foot“.


What did you say, Mister. Swaminathan Aiyar?  Portfolio investors could pull out billions of $$$ in the short term? Note that you said short term, no wiggle room there for you to claim that you were really suggesting that the impact will become visible 3 decades from now. No, my dear sir, you said short term.

And what else did you say on June 22, a day before the Brexit vote? That the “volatility could become a storm if Rexit is followed by Brexit?” Well, the pompously named “Rexit” was followed by Brexit. What is worse is that no opinion poll could predict the Brexit vote, which means the markets were shocked when the results came out. Perfect conditions for storm creation, don’t you think? Except, Mister Aiyar, where is the storm?

Here is the Sensex since your grand storm warning on June 22, 2016:


Up by close to a 1000 points since then…I pray that the Sensex be hit by many more such “storms”. Now it may go down again, but you said that it would be a reaction to Rexit. Well, Rexit was announced around June 18 and it’s July 12 already. We are approaching one month since the horrific news came and still global investors don’t seem to have heard about it. Did you know that cellphones transmit information at the speed of light, i.e. nearly 3 lakh kilometers a second?  Forget cellphones or the internet, thousands of people have flown back and forth from India on hundreds of flights to US, Europe and Japan since Rexit was announced. Surely someone must have told them about the Rexit tragedy in India? Are the global investors getting their news by pigeon courier these days, Mister Aiyar?  Even the pigeon couriers might have reached by now. When will the global investors find out about Rexit, Mister Aiyar?

Wait, there’s more. Here is Respected Mister Aiyar writing on June 5, 2016 in his article: “If Rajan exits, so will billions in investment


What? Did you say that the one thing you do know is that India will suffer a mass exodus of foreign portfolio investment if Rajan goes? Did you put seriously put the figure at as high as $100 billion? Did you say that the stock markets would crash and the currency markets will panic?

Show us! Yes, Mister Aiyar, show us that any of that actually happened… Oh and you said it yourself, the storm could get worse if it is accompanied by Brexit. Well, you got your nightmare scenario on Brexit. Now, show us the “panic in stock markets” and the $100 billion of outflows… Where is the exodus?

Ha ha, would you guys believe there is still more excrement that Swaminathan Aiyar has buried himself in? Here he is on June 9, 2016:


Mister Aiyar, in case you have forgotten, the ISD code for dialling Singapore is +65. Try it, it really works. Call your friends in Singapore and check again now.

But here is a further question. So you don’t deny that foreign investors and markets were in love with investing in India. I am not the one advancing that claim, your headline itself contains that implicit claim. Okay, well now that we have proved that it wasn’t Rajan that the markets were in love with…we have to answer this question:

So who was it that the global investors were ACTUALLY in love with? 

Go ahead. Answer that question:):)  Let us hear you say the name:)

Could it be that the name of the person the investors were actually in love with starts with an “N” instead of an “R”? My guess is that this “N”  person must be Nayantara Sahgal, who kicked off the Award Wapsi campaign. What do you think, Mister Aiyar?

Ok friends, this is perhaps the most important part of this post:

Look, Mr. Swaminathan Aiyar, there is no shame when an honest prediction goes wrong. Every prediction contains an element of risk. Since nobody can predict the future with 100% certainty, do you know how we can tell a genuine analyst from a snake oil selling  propagandist? When a genuine analyst gets a prediction wrong, that person finds in her/himself the moral courage to stand up, step out and make a frank admission of error with due apologies to all. The snake oil selling propagandist goes silent and disappears into a hole hoping that people will forget about the giant mistake. Mr. Aiyar, you wrote passionately about how the markets would collapse if Rajan left. You wrote about it repeatedly; three times in your June 2016 columns: June 5, June 9 and June 22. Since your predictions went wrong, you have gone into a stony silence on this issue. You have published FOUR further blog posts on ET since June 22, 2016 but you have not made a frank admission of your mistake.

So,  Mr. Swaminathan Aiyar, unless your next blog on ET boldly declares that you were massively wrong on the so called pompously named “Rexit”, you know *exactly*  what you are: genuine analyst or …

Listen, Mr. Swaminathan Aiyar, I know that we Modi Bhakts aren’t smart people. Few of us have doctorates in “South Asian studies” from JNU. I don’t know if anyone of us can explain what important words like “heteronormative” and “micro-aggression” mean. We know that we don’t usually ask intelligent questions such as : Is GDP growth in India only helping the Hindu, heterosexual, upper caste males?

But the fact remains that we got it right and you got it wrong on Raghuram Rajan. And if you feel that you are so high and mighty that you are above apologising for blatant mistakes …

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a columnist and author.  
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