Sacrilege! Mihir Sharma takes on P.Sainath

As he exited the Indian Express last year as its most acerbic pen, the Harvard-educated economist Mihir S. Sharma launched into “adman” Suhel Seth in a long review of the latter’s book in The Caravan.

Now, at the Business Standard as the editor of its opinion pages, Sharma trains his guns at the Magsaysay award winning rural affairs editor of The Hindu, P. Sainath, mocking his selective use of internet search engines.

The provocation: Sainath’s recent piece attacking the profligacy of the deputy chairman of the planning commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia while expecting India’s poor to subsist on subhuman amounts of money:

“The government will get away with it, because of our perennial confusion between public and personal austerity, and our jaw-dropping incompetence with simple mathematics. Consider, for example, the recent attack on Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia by one Palagummi Sainath, famously the favourite journalist of Press Council Chairman Markandey Katju.

“For a widely-read column in The Hindu, Sainath Googled previous newspaper reports that Ahluwalia had spent Rs 2 lakh a day on some of his foreign trips, and that he had spent 274 days outside the country in his seven-year tenure. (He did not mention that Mr Ahluwalia was the point-man in India’s interaction with the G-20 in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Odd, I’m sure that’s Googleable.)

“Let’s assume that that’s excessive; and that Mr Ahluwalia and his delegation should have spent half that. That comes to an excess spending of Rs 40 lakh a year. This year’s fiscal deficit is more than a million times that sum. The folly of such ‘analysis’ is matched only by the cynicism of the UPA, which thinks that responding to laughable smears with its unpersuasive attempts at ‘austerity’ will answer genuine complaints about its profligacy with public funds.”

Read the full article: Austerity abuse

Also read: Suhel Seth shows why he is such a cute tweetiya

Montek Singh Ahluwalia gets a Padma for what?


  1. Thank god there are Mihir Sharma, and that is why we get to hear some realistic opinions in our media.

    P.Sainath is India’s biggest repository of leftist cliches. He belongs to an important political family, he never had to try too hard for anything. What does he know about life?

    He can afford to sit in his ivory tower and pontificate before all of us.

    Unfortunately others in the middle class don’t enjoy that kind of luxury, we have to actually work for a living and we have to survive in a political corrupt leftist world.

    Thank you Mihir for your wonderful articles in Business Standard and in IE

    1. Shobhit Sharma

      Isnt it a cliche as well that “we” the middle class have to work for a living in corrupt world. Hence our acquiescence. So, no one has to rise above our ineptitude and ring the bell. If one does so, they are tarted…termed “repository” of this and that ideology. Its high time, perhaps, to accept our own fallings.

  2. Mihir Sharma —-no doubt ur article is congress-sponsored .. P .Sainath is one journalist who actually defines Journalism which unfortunately the mainstream media has forgotten.

  3. Bilal

    @ Shobhit Sharma.. before you start criticizing someone like Mr. Sainath gather a fair acquaintance with his work. He has traveled to remote corners of this vast country to document the conditions of the marginalized and poor.

    1. Shobhit

      Dear Bilal, I feel sorry for your sheer misunderstanding of my comment. It seems to be the most contorted version of an argument that you chose to make out of my words. It could be on account either of, firstly, your incomplete reading of my comment which might be expected in a huffy puffy excited world we all chose to live in. Or it might have, dare I say, sprung from your faulty analysis coupled with some real ineptitude in grasping letters of english language. Choice is yours.

  4. sridhar

    Mihir Sharma is just verbose. But he can’t get away with his half-baked criticism of Sainath! Grow up Mihir! You can’t become famous by undermining people more accomplished than you!.Let Mihir write one piece better that of Sainath some day and maybe we’ll even appreciate his jealousies.

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