Latest, Hindu 18 June 2012: "2.18 billion Swiss francs (Rs. 12,700 crore) belonging to Indian individuals and entities."
Hot off the press
As per the official figures disclosed by Switzerland's central bank, the Swiss National Bank (SNB), total deposits of Indian individuals and companies with all the Swiss banks put together stood at about USD 2.5 billion at the end of 2010.
In comparison, total foreign assets worth around 2.85 trillion Swiss francs (USD 3.5 trillion) were parked in Swiss banks at the end of the year 2010, said a spokesperson for the Swiss Bankers' Association, the apex body of Switzerland-based banks. [Source]
Swaminomics confirms my thesis.
I busted this myth a very long time ago, the very first time I saw an email on this subject. That was in May 2008. However, it appears it took much longer for journalists in India to bust this myth. The common man (who NEVER checks facts) has still not been demystified.
I now find that even the Economic Times got suckered into publishing false information as late as in October 2008. This only confirms to me the well known fact of the DEPLORABLE QUALITY of journalism often found in India. In this case the research abilities of Mandar Nimkar who wrote that article, and his boss who approved it, were clearly very dubious. At the minimum they ought to have followed Mark Twain's dictum and stated that the unconfirmed "facts" were "alleged", not present them as true. These two ought to have been sacked long ago.
It appears that it took the Indian media ONE year more, in September 2009 (Times of India) to sort out the facts and bust this myth. However, this myth has not yet died away. [Addendum: S. Gurumurthy repeats the same figures]
I was reminded, through a note by Harsh Vora on Facebook – who went to the bottom of this issue – that this myth (basically a falsification) still continues to go around in circles (just like the falsification about Thomas Macaulay - which damaged the reputation of an otherwise outstanding man).
Rare – VERY rare – is that educated Indian who bothers to ask questions and find out the truth. Well done, Harsh (and Viskit)!
Let me re-assert that it is CERTAIN that a huge amount of money is stashed by Indians in Swiss banks. I'm not denying that. Just that this figure of $1.5 trillion has been pulled out from the hat by a clever falsifier. A lot of crooks operate on the internet, fooling gullible "EDUCATED" (??!!) Indians all the time.
EXTRACT FROM MY EMAIL TO FTI MEMBERS ON 9 MAY 2008
Dear Mr XX [an FTI member]
After some initial research my view is that this information about $1.5
trillion in Indian currency in Swiss banks is false. I went to
and then to the Swiss bank association website.
No authentic or credible source of information exists readily to
authenticate the information circulating on the internet. I will need to
either see the original report/s or at least a citation in a credible
journal or newspaper before using this information. The nearest article
with some authenticity is http://www.rediff.com/money/
which doesn't mention the $1.5 trillion figure, though.
No doubt, huge amounts of India money is hoarded in Swiss banks. But
this information is probably false. The email also shows that false
information has been spreading like virus on the internet. Such
information can bias us because it comes from our friends (reliable
sources). I think we should treat all such emails with caution and
triple-check them before using them or passing them around.
I'm sending this piece of research to FTI so that members can advise me
if they have more authentic information on this issue. Else, they too
should also treat this information as false.
[EXTRACTED FROM EMAIL FORWARDED BY MR XX]
>> Subject: IS INDIA POOR?
>> Is India poor, who says? Ask Swiss banks
>> With personal account deposit bank of $1500 billion in
>> foreign reserve which have been misappropriated, an amount
>> 13 times larger than the country's foreign debt, one
>> needs to rethink if India is a poor country?.
>> DISHONEST INDUSTRIALISTS, scandalous politicians and
>> corrupt IAS, IRS, IPS officers have deposited in foreign
>> banks in their illegal personal accounts a sum of about $
>> 1500 billion, which have been misappropriated by them. This
>> amount is about 13 times larger than the country's
>> foreign debt. With this amount 45 crore poor people can get
>> Rs 1,00,000 each. This huge amount has been appropriated
>> from the people of India by exploiting and betraying them.
>> Once this huge amount of black money and property comes
>> back to India , the entire foreign debt can be repaid in 24
>> hours. After paying the entire foreign debt, we will have
>> surplus amount, almost 12 times larger than the foreign
>> debt. If this surplus amount is invested in earning
>> interest, the amount of interest will be more than the
>> annual budget of the Central government. So even if all the
>> taxes are abolished, then also the Central government will
>> be able to maintain the country very comfortably.
>> Some 80,000 people travel to Switzerland every year, of
>> whom 25,000 travel very frequently. 'Obviously, these
>> people won't be tourists. They must be travelling there
>> for some other reason,' believes an official involved in
>> tracking illegal money. And, clearly, he isn't referring
>> to the commerce ministry bureaucrats who've been
>> flitting in and out of Geneva ever since the World Trade
>> Organisation (WTO) negotiations went into a tailspin!
>> Just read the following details and note how these
>> dishonest industrialists, scandalous politicians, corrupt
>> officers, cricketers, film actors, illegal sex trade and
>> protected wildlife operators, to name just a few, sucked
>> this country's wealth and prosperity. This may be the
>> picture of deposits in Swiss banks only. What about other
>> international banks?
>> Black money in Swiss banks – Swiss Banking Association
>> report, 2006 details bank deposits in the territory of
>> Switzerland by nationals of following countries:
>> Top five
>> India—- $1,456 billion
>> Russia —$ 470 billion
>> UK ——-$390 billion
>> Ukraine – $100 billion
>> China —–$ 96 billion
>> Now do the maths – India with $1456 billion or $1.4
>> trillion has more money in Swiss banks than rest of the
>> world combined. Public loot since 1947: Can we bring back
>> our money? It is one of the biggest loots witnessed by
>> mankind — the loot of the Aam Aadmi (common man) since
>> 1947, by his brethren occupying public office. It has been
>> orchestrated by politicians, bureaucrats and some
>> businessmen. The list is almost all-encompassing. No wonder,
>> everyone in India loots with impunity and without any fear.
>> What is even more depressing in that this ill-gotten wealth
>> of ours has been stashed away abroad into secret bank
>> accounts located in some of the world's best known tax
>> havens. And to that extent the Indian economy has been
>> stripped of its wealth. Ordinary Indians may not be exactly
>> aware of how such secret accounts operate and what are the
>> rules and regulations that go on to govern such tax havens.
>> However, one may well be aware of 'Swiss bank
>> accounts,' the shorthand for murky dealings, secrecy and
>> of course pilferage from developing countries into rich
>> developed ones.
>> In fact, some finance experts and economists believe tax
>> havens to be a conspiracy of the western world against the
>> poor countries. By allowing the proliferation of tax havens
>> in the twentieth century, the western world explicitly
>> encourages the movement of scarce capital from the
>> developing countries to the rich.
>> In March 2005, the Tax Justice Network (TJN) published a
>> research finding demonstrating that $11.5 trillion of
>> personal wealth was held offshore by rich individuals across
>> the globe. The findings estimated that a large proportion of
>> this wealth was managed from some 70 tax havens.
>> Further, augmenting these studies of TJN, Raymond Baker –
>> in his widely celebrated book titled 'Capitalism' s
>> Achilles Heel: Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free Market
>> System' — estimates that at least $5 trillion have been
>> shifted out of poorer countries to the West since the
>> It is further estimated by experts that one per cent of the
>> world's population holds more than 57 per cent of total
>> global wealth, routing it invariably through these tax
>> havens. How much of this is from India is anybody's
>> What is to be noted here is that most of the wealth of
>> Indians parked in these tax havens is illegitimate money
>> acquired through corrupt means. Naturally, the secrecy
>> associated with the bank accounts in such places is central
>> to the issue, not their low tax rates as the term 'tax
>> havens' suggests. Remember Bofors and how India could
>> not trace the ultimate beneficiary of those transactions
>> because of the secrecy associated with these bank accounts?
>> IS THERE ANY ONE WHO WOULD SAVE INDIA ?God… No No No, even
>> he can't……. ….!!
I've been having a debate with an FTI member on Facebook regarding Macaulay. This debate can't be resolved in one blog post so I'll begin with a part of it first.
I'm posting below an image that has been widely circulated within India, and has been used to show Macaulay in particularly bad light. It says:
"I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a begger, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever counquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will loose their self esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.” – see image below.
I received this first in December 2006, conducted some research and concluded that this is false. So before I revert to the main debate and assess Macaulay in a wholistic manner, let me first dispose off this image and quote (above). This material is patently false.
Macaulay's 1835 minute is found at: http://www.languageinindia.com/april2003/macaulay.html#minute
I invite anyone to show me this language in the ORIGINAL minute. [Addendum. I just discovered that Shantanu Bhagwat, another FTI member, had done similar research in June 2007 - before FTI was launched - with very similar findings: http://satyameva-jayate.org/2007/06/26/clearing-the-dust-off-macaulays-quote/. Also here: http://desicritics.org/2007/06/26/094952.php. See also: http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=296771. Or this one: http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/hinduism/macaulay.html or this: http://alternativeperspective.blogspot.com/2008/02/indian-history-trivia-8-myth-of.html
Also see the bottom of this Wikiquote page - it explains the potential origin of this false quotation.
I trust this closes the needless vilification of Macaulay.]
What does the minute actually say?
My remarks below are derived from a reading of the minute.
Macaulay was perceptive of Indian skills and capabilities and market needs, and argued in favour of what Indians demanded, namely more of English and less of Sanskrit. He did not force English down our throats. Indians were paying serious money to be taught English and that was the reason he felt Indians needed to be taught more English. Those who were taught Sanskrit came to the government begging for jobs – they were entirely useless for any practical purpose, even then.
In 1835 he discussed the Charter of 1813 which laid aside "A sum … apart 'for the revival and promotion of literature, and the encouragement of the learned natives of India, and for the introduction and promotion of a knowledge of the sciences among the inhabitants of the British territories.'" – a subsidy for Sanskirt and Arabic. The 'ghastly' East India company was subsidising Indian languages even in its early days, once the corrupt times of Robert Clive were over.
He argued cogently, and in my view successfully, that "the natives are desirous to be taught English, and are not desirous to be taught Sanscrit or Arabic". He also extolled the capabilities of Indians to pick up English very well: "it is unusual to find, even in the literary circles of the Continent, any foreigner who can express himself in English with so much facility and correctness as we find in many Hindoos." He proved that England needed to increase education in English and stop subsidising Sanskrit and Arabic.
Under no circumstance did he allege anywhere that he wanted to break the backbone of India. That is a very mischievous piece of false propaganda indeed.
Other issue about Macaulay
There is one other issue about Macaulay that I've been invited to address:
Lord Macaulay apparently wrote this in a letter to his father, Oct 12 1836: "Our English schools are flourishing wonderfully. We find itdifficult,–indeed, in some places impossible,–to provide instruction for all who want it. At the single town of Hoogly fourteen hundred boys are learning English….. The effect of this education on the Hindoos is prodigious. No Hindoo, who has received an English education, ever remains sincerely attached to his religion Some continue to profess it as matter of policy; but many profess themselves pure Deists, and some embrace Christianity It is my firm belief that, if our plans of education are followed up, there will not be a single idolater among the respectable classes in Bengal thirty years hence. Andthis will be effected without any efforts to proselytise; without the smallest interference with religious liberty; merely by thenatural operation of knowledge and reflection. I heartily rejoice in the prospect."
I'll deal with this and indeed, the entire Macaulay contributions, in a separate blog post. The first thing I've got to do is to check the authenticity of this extract.