What does our recent treatment of Jeff Bezos signify?

TLDR; nothing. Move on.

Here are two different views about the treatment meted out to Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon during his recent visit to India.

A couple of facts –

  • We are a country that attracted an average of ~1.5B investment considering from1995, which has ballooned to 3B / month in recent years
  • We receive a large amount of FDI money and continue to hold a significant sum (19th place in the world to be exact)
  • There was ~16% of investments increase in 2019

Before you go on to celebrate and scoff at the mere $1B investment promised by Amazon, know that –

  1. Amazon is a large investor in India – committed $5B in 2016 (I don’t know what materialized, and whether the interim millions or billions of investments are part of that $5B)
  2. Amazon is seen as a business of the modern world – it has good and bad, but how we deal with Amazon will impact how we are seen as a nation

No one will quite panic by the recent developments. Amazon will likely continue to invest and do business unless the Government does something radical.

That said, the whole incident was not the best behaviour.

  • I am not undermining the protest from retailers, but there are too many instances of how these protests are underlined or undermined by those in power
  • It is stupid to undermine an important business leader who is visiting the country since one of the businesses he owns criticises unrelated Government policies

It is painful to see arrogance and lack of finesse when dealing with matters of importance. We can boo all we want, call it fake news, and wish away the significance of the act, but our treatment of business leaders will be watched and there will be consequences. We live in an increasingly integrated World with no significant resources of our own – like it or not, that is the reality and we cannot just say “we don’t care”.

And.. Amazon is just not retail – they have significant interests from technology to space exploration. It is a wasted opportunity to have not exploited the “feel good” factor to push into new areas, but to have focussed on what the Washington Post said (or didn’t say) about Internet in Kashmir.

At the end of the day, a party and the people that cry hoarse about Hinduism should have better known one the many things upheld in our ethos – about how we treat guests visiting our home, regardless of the said guest’s past deed.