IBN Live Chat on October 15th, 2012:


Ranjeev C Dubey
Ranjeev C Dubey 
Corporate lawyer & author


Oct 15, 2012

On his book 'Bullshit Quotient: Decoding India's Corporate, Social and Legal Fine Print'

Author Ranjeev C Dubey sets out to dissect the bullshit that surrounds aspects of modern Indian corporate, social, political and legal life. In doing this, he asks and answers basic questions about our society. Who runs the corporate ship and why? Who is making the stock market tick and how?

Hello Sir, Why is India unable produce Entrepreneur like Mark Zuckerberg who was in his graduation when he started Facebook. Is this a lack of skills or we as a country do not have encouraging laws for our budding Entrepreneurs? Asked by: Zareef Ahmed
* India is filled to the brim with budding entrepreneurs. I see them all around me in Gurgaon. Yes this is a difficult country to do business in but that has never restrained entrepreneurship, just made success a bit harder.
* In your book, you set out to dissect the bullshit that surrounds aspects of modern Indian corporate, social, political and legal life. So what are your views on Kejriwal & Anna movement? Asked by: Monty
* A laudable task, a difficult job and success a big mountain to climb. Traditionally, corruption has never been an electoral issue as T.N.Seshan found to his great surprise.
* How challenging was to write on such a topic? Asked by: Honey Singh
* Very simple. The material is happening all around us. What is in the book is what is in the newspapers these days.
* Who target readers for this book? Asked by: Honey Singh
* If you want to understand what is really going on in India today, this book is for you.
* What’s your take on Vadra & DLF controversy? Is it in accordance to corporate governance? Asked by: Himanshu
* Land acquisition is one of the biggest generators of political funding in India today. There is no purpose in taking one name and demonizing him. A large proportion of the political classes are deep in similar activity.
* What is this new book about? Asked by: Anu
* This book is about how India works and who funds our democracy. It is about what companies do and why they do it. It is about who we are as a people, a society, and a culture. It is about Indians and the India we have collectively created.
* What’s the price of the book? Where can we buy it? Asked by: Anurag
* Flipkart, Infibeam, stackkart...it is all over the internet. It is also in all the major book stores but you will find better prices on the internet.
* Why this provocative title "Bullshit Quotient"? Asked by: Raheel
* This book is about the central essence behind all the misleading sanctimonious bullshit you hear about how our country actually runs. I couldn't find a better way to put it.

Why "Bullshit"? Does this description really summarizes all the current economic and corporate scenario?
Asked by: Abhimanyu

* No it doesn't. Elements of the description are bullshit but the truth is out there if you want to understand it. The book tries to reveal the truth behind the claptrap you hear about what is really going on.
* What the book is all about Asked by: anjali
* The book is about how the corporate world works and why. It then is about how the legal world works and where it is headed. It is then about how we have organized our democracy and who pays for it. Finally it is about what it is to be Indian and how it has gone to shape what we have become. You will find in it an explanation of who we are as a people and as a nation. It will also explain what is really going on today and what the scams for instance are really all about.
* "Power will go into the hands of Rascals, rogues and freebooters...." Sir Winston Churchill. Your article is brilliant and couldn’t have come at a more apt time. Asked by: Atul Bakshi
* Churchill was a white supremist so I have my reservations on what he says.
* Would you term this book as a blatant satire on the big guns of our society? Asked by: Abhimanyu
* I am trying to explain India. I am not laughing at anyone. I am trying to tell my readers why they behave the way they do. Sometimes, I sympathize with these 'big guns' even though I don't agree.
* Have you also discussed ways to remove or minimize all these economic and political irregularities in your book? Asked by: Manish Bansal
* Up to a point yes. My main argument is that we have become what we have because of (a) who we are, and (b) our inability to make certain hard choices. To solve some of these problems, we would have to evolve as a people.
* What's your take on judiciary today? Asked by: Sneha
* The judiciary has spearheaded a great deal of social change in India. At the same time, it’s a human institution. The Judiciary is very conscious of the issues we face but its power to intervene is limited. I am rather more sympathetic to the judiciary than I am to most other institutions in India. But at another level, I see all of us and every institution struggling to address the challenges that face us as a society. And we are reacting, each of us, in the way we are, because we all have our individual compulsions.
* Could you reiterate one instance in particular which inspired you to write this book? Asked by: Abhimanyu
* I have been writing a column for Business World magazine for seven years. Over the years, I found both that my viewpoint differed from most other people and that I did have a committed audience. When the 2G scam broke, I know that I had to share my view of it and put the story into its correct political and historical perspective as I saw it.
* Who is to be blamed for high inflation today in India? Asked by: Anurag
* The combination of a difficult global situation and a paralysed domestic leadership. But we should not worry about it too much. India is very good at own goals and self-inflicted wounds. It is also very good at solving problems it shouldn't have had in the first place. We will fix this also but there will be pain on the way. The trick is to have a sense of history and not be caught up too much in the day to day here and now.
* As a corporate lawyer, what advice can you give to DLF shareholders if they were your clients regarding favouring Vadra? Asked by: H S
* Let me not talk about what I will tell my client. Let me talk about the problem. How do you acquire land in India? The government can do it for you or you can buy it for yourself. If you wish to buy it for yourself, you will have to find someone to persuade 20 families to sell it to you. Each of these families will have ten brothers, uncles, daughters and sons as owners. You need a consolidator. The consolidator will only be effective if he has political power or no one is listening to him. So you will have to deal with a mover and a shaker. It doesn't matter whose son in law he is. A great many consolidators are no body's sons in laws but companies still have to deal with them. You can be sure that given this situation, no company will be seeking their lawyers advice on whether to deal with a consolidator or not. So it is with facilitators. When you need government intervention so that you can make a lot of money, person on the other end may not want to give it to you for free. You may need to get someone to persuade him. A price will be quoted, a deal made. This is the way it goes and this is what Bullshit Quotient is about.
* Can you please summarize your book in one sentence? Asked by: Manish Bansal
* Sleaze, grease, sex, lies and graft powers India into the league of great nations even as our elites bitch and moan despite enjoying a disproportionate status in our society.
* Have you given remedies for the deep rot in our system? Asked by: Atul Bakshi
* Well, I have put out my explanation for "the rot" as you put it. I actually believe that many nations go through this state before they mature as societies. I am a believer and an optimist.
* Is there any chapter in your book which is specifically dedicated to the scams in the Indian share market?
Asked by: Raheel
* I have an entire chapter on how the stock market is a colossal scam. I also talk about the IPO scam going on right now right here which the public still does not know about.
* What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine? Asked by: anjali
* Yes, three hours a day, every afternoon, in the office, while my lawyers work to pay the bills!!!
* What inspired you to write this book? Asked by: anjali
* I have a clear sense of what is powering our society. Most people don't seem to have the same sense of it. I thought people would like to know what I think. Also, so many of us are so confused about the state of the nation. Many are angry as a result. I think there is hope. I wrote this book to explain what I think and why I think that we have a great future.
* Do you think your book offers an insight to foreign investors looking to invest in India? If yes, do you think they might be dissuaded from investing in India after reading the book? Asked by: Inder
* Well it will certainly help them understand India a litle better. Their investment decision probably flows more from their compulsion than anything I might say but if I can help them see India better, the book would have been worth writing.
* What books/authors have influenced your life and writing? Asked by: anjali
* Off the top of my head Fiction: John Fowles; Non Fiction: Colin Wilson and George Orwell.
* Thank you for your candid responses here, Sir. In your view, is India's corporate sector comparable to Global best as a sector? Asked by: R Krishna
* Yes. We are on our way. For a third rate country with fourth rate politicians and fifth rate infrastructure, we are still one of the fastest growing economies. If we cultivated a greater sense of history, we would be much more proud of what we have achieved.
* Might be contrary to the theme of your book, but please indulge me. Would you name the top 3 best aspects of India's Corporate sector? :) Asked by: R Krishna
* I think flexibility, the hunger for success and the ability to think laterally. Indians really do have really sharp minds. It’s just that our environment requires us to spend a lot of that creativity in stuff that we wouldn't need to do in another society and another polity.
* What would be your advice to budding authors? Asked by: Rk
* You can only write about what you see. You can only see if you know that such a thing exists. So to write, you first have to know. To be a writer, you first have to be a very good reader. Good Luck!
* Sir, speaking of "history", as an achiever that you are today, may I request you to let us know a few features of your CV when you were 30 years that make you proud today? Asked by: R Krishna
* I was thirty, I didn't know anyone in the legal world, I went to the trial courts and I learnt basic advocacy and I hung in there in that difficult world and I paid my dues. I am proud today that I had the courage to survive that because today, all that I am goes back to a direct first person understanding of how the law impacts the average Indian. The rest of my understanding flows from that one.
* Does the criticism you face as an author make you cynical of the choice of topics to write about? Asked by: Abhimanyu
* No. I reserve for myself the right to be wrong. As a liberal democrat, I defend your right to disagree with me. I choose my topics based on my ability to say something worth saying. I don't do this for a living nor do I have an agenda. So if I think I am worth hearing, I will say it. If you don't like it, I can understand that.