Prashant Dayal, Ahmedabad:

Respected Savjibhai Dholakia,

This is the first time I am writing a letter like this to you. To begin with, I’d like to congratulate you on your success, in creating the behemoth that is Hari Krishna Diamonds, starting from humble beginnings after migrating to Surat from Amreli a few years ago. It was possible because of your hard work and tactfulness. There are no two ways about the fact that you have provided employment to more than five thousand diamond polishers.

I have never met you in person, but have heard and read about you a lot from the newspapers and my journalist friends from Surat. A few days ago, the news regarding you gifting 600 brand new cars to your employees was extremely pleasing, but it also ignited curiosity in me. Because nowadays, which employer would treat his employee way better than how a father treats his son? I wanted to know more about you. And as it is in the DNA of a journalist, I wanted to learn something new and share it with the people.

To know more about your generosity and how you would give away costly gifts like shiny new cars to your employees out of your profits for the past few years. In fact, I also got to know that you are also giving away newly built flats to your employees. Thus I got in touch with a few of your employees because only an employee can give the best description of his boss/employer. I understand this better than you because I am also an employee to someone.

When I got talking to the employees about the 600 cars gifted by you, I surprisingly found a totally different story about this. I was shocked as someone like you would never peddle lies about thing this great. But as I got to know further, the truth, I realized that you were not lying, but you were obviously not speaking the truth too. You’re somewhere in the grey between truth and the lies. You are indeed giving away cars to your employees as Diwali bonus, news which made several of my print and electronic media friends happy, and we should be as we tell stories about bring joy to people too. You should also congratulate those employees of yours, who ensured that this half-truth of yours was well-packaged and sold to the media.

Not just the local media, but even the national media reported about this ‘generosity’ of yours. You’ve never shied away from boasting about your close relations with the prime minister of the country, Narendra Modi. I’ve heard from several government officials about how you’d threaten them with this influence. You impressed Modi well with your act, as he addressed the gathering of your employees via video-conferencing and even applauded you. I am happy you’ve got the fame you wanted, but when I called you up to talk about the contradicting stories I got to know about the gifts, you were annoyed. You even offered me a crore rupees if I informed you which employee told me the other side of the story.

For a middle-class citizen like me, it was an offer very enticing. One crore rupees would make me feel like I own the Reserve Bank. Had I accepted your offer and the money (Subject to you fulfilling your promise) and ratted out the employee who told me about you, the person would have surely lost his job. But because I understand the pain of being jobless, having experienced it multiple time in my life, I contained my desires and preferred not to give away the name of the employee and went ahead and published the story. I agree that I may have faltered with the facts about GST, but your claims were nowhere near the truth, while my story was very close to it, a claim I would stand by. The story about you was read by many. I was surprised by the readership figures on this story, published both in Gujarati and English in MeraNews, a small time news website.

I am not lying; you could see the figures for yourself. When I was looking into the reasons on why my story got such high readership, I came across a startling fact that none of the newspapers in Surat were ready to publish a story calling out your false claims. But I wouldn’t blame the management of any of these papers, as no one would risk losing business when Diwali is around the corner. If I was the owner of one such paper, even I wouldn’t take the risk. Because we were only media house that dared to publish a story about you, we got a great impetus in the readership. The response to the story was great, many of our readers were critical about you. But there were also readers who came out in support for you and criticized us with the choicest abuses. We’ve kept all of them intact on our website, which you can read for yourself with the story because we believe we deserve praises and brickbats both from our readers.

Some readers told me ‘At least try something like Savjibhai has done’. That’s when a thought came into my head that I would definitely like to prosper like you, but would never do what you did to your employees. Another person asked ‘Why are you feeling jealous about Savjibhai giving away gifts?’ Though I didn’t respond to that jibe, I did joke with myself that I am anyway always jealous of things. I very well know that this story has hit you where it pains the most. You even wrote on your Facebook wall that your opponents are trying to fan rumors about you and that we should trust you.

Trust me Savjibhai, I swear to god I don’t know any of your opponents or have met them. If you’d name them, it would make my work easier for the future. You talk about trust, but ever since Gandhi has left, nothing like trust remains. You say what you’ve done is charity, but I claim otherwise. For a moment, let’s just believe that you are right and I am wrong. But charity never makes noise. Even our scriptures say that charity has to be done in secrecy. The relationship between an employee and his employer is like that of a son and a father. Anything a father does is out of love and as a part of his responsibility.

No father would announce that he has fed his son, he bought clothes for his son, bought books, took him out for a movie or bought him an ice cream. The father does it out of the love for his son. If you are doing something for your employees out of good heart, you’d never announce it to the world in this fashion. Because, just like wrongdoings cannot be hidden for a long time, even the good deeds won’t remain secret from the world. And journalists like me would have written about your deeds in good faith.

You used some heavy English words and phrases while talking to me on the phone. You said you are giving away cars as incentives to your employees. Well, if I work hard, earn money and save it in my bank account and later buy a house or car out of the accumulated sum, would Narendra Modi claim that he bought me a car or a house? I’d say Modi’s lying, to which would he reiterate that you put your money in my banks, and thus it is me who gave you the money for the purchases? Savjibhai, your arguments regarding your bonuses is something similar to this. Even the illiterate wife of your diamond polisher employee knows that the car given as a bonus as a reward for his tireless contribution is actually bought from his hard-earned money. But she won’t object to it, because you are the boss.

I know I have said a lot already, and think about what I have said. Maybe next year, pay your employees their incentives in cash and further give them a gift bought from the profits made by your company. And yes, keep it secret.

I wish you and your family and employees a happy and prosperous Diwali.

You friend who annoyed you

Prashant Dayal