According to Hindu mythology Vishnu, the preserver of the universe, has ten incarnations, one of which is still to come. The Puranas foretell that this tenth and final avatar will appear on judgement day – the end of the age of darkness, or Kalyug. As corruption and decadence sweep the world, the apocalyptic horseman Kalki, astride a white stallion and brandishing a blazing sword, will destroy the age of ignorance and usher in Satyug, the era of truth and prosperity.
With the rupee in free fall, pricey onions, rapists running amok and hopelessly impotent leadership, Indians could legitimately conclude that Kalyug is well and truly upon them. And judging by his dramatic entrance, impossibly perfect credentials, and apparently divine countenance, you could just as easily believe that India’s new chief central banker, Prof Raghuram Rajan, must be this final avatar of Vishnu. You think I jest, but consider the evidence.
To start with, the man was born a Brahmin. Which means that apart from occasionally dressing like a half-naked fakir with funny lines on his forehead, he ticks off the first box for any aspirant to divinity in India. His academic achievements are beyond what any mortal can contemplate. He has degrees from India’s super-elite IIT and IIM followed by a PhD from MIT, collecting more gold medals than Usain Bolt along the way. Rajan is an accomplished athlete and sportsman – he runs marathons and apparently plays a mean game of squash. An invisible hand guided his progress to the pinnacle of his profession as an economist; his papers and books won many accolades and awards. With an inevitability that reeked of intervention from a higher power, he became the youngest ever Chief Economist at the IMF. Already a superstar, he then began to truly spread his wings and exhibit supernatural powers. He is prescient. In 2005, he authored a paper entitled Has Financial Development Made the World Riskier, which uncannily highlighted what turned out to be the root causes of the financial crisis.Larry Summers called his warnings “misguided” and labeled Rajan a “Luddite”. In an eerie twist of fate, Summers’ Fed Chairmanship aspirations were struck down within days of Rajan’s appointment as RBI Governor; global markets celebrated Summers’ demise almost as much as the Indian markets applauded Rajan’s ascension. Some would call it poetic justice. I say you mock the gods at your own peril.
That India’s savior would take the form of a central banker is completely consistent with a recurring global narrative. After all it took Bernanke’s largesse to steer America clear of what might have been a deflationary death spiral, and Draghi’s “what it takes” pledge to head off an outright collapse of the Eurozone. Whilst it is still early days in Rajan’s tenure, the rupee seems to have magically regained its mojo, and Raghu promises to be an eloquent evangelist (http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/how-to-fix-india-s-economy-in-the-short-term-by-raghuram-rajan) for India’s seemingly lost cause.
But while Bernanke and Draghi may well be canonized in years to come, Rajan has heavenly attributes that they can only dream about. In the grand tradition of Vishnu’s other great avatar Krishna, Rajan is a bona fide sex symbol. He even favors blue suits. His “chiseled features” and “athletic frame” make female hearts go “dhak dhak”, according to society columnist Shobha De, who credits him with “putting the sex back in the limp Sensex.” “Why can’t you be more like Raghu” is the refrain from wives and girlfriends in India, notes another journalist, while talking about the “unbearable hotness of being Raghuram Rajan”.
More facts emerge daily about our Raghu. Apparently he cracked Fermat’s Last Theorem as a teenager, taught Tiger Woods his 2-iron stinger shot and unlocked the keys to Tantric sex for Sting. Tendulkar says he’s ready to go for another 10 years after a few sessions with Raghu. OK so I obviously made that up (except the bit about Sachin) but were you really surprised? I mean wtf, this guy cannot be for real!
Still not convinced? Let me give you the killer punch. The man shares his birthday with an acknowledged goddess: my wife. I rest my case.
As for the rupee, it is a sacred currency and therefore protected by the trinity. Its unique 17-script design could only have been created by Brahma. Vishnu’s avatar is in da house to preserve its sanctity. Go short and get ready to face the wrath of Shiva the destroyer.