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DOING THE NEEDFUL: Essar’s industry of influence The Essar group, owned by the powerful Ruia family, has interests in shipping, steel, oil and retail, among other things. It is one of India’s largest corporate houses, with revenues touching $35 billion dollars this year. Yet it is also beleaguered by one of the biggest burdens of debt in corporate India, and alleged involvement in almost every major corruption scandal to break in the last five years. With information from a vast trove of internal company communication, called the “Essar Leaks,” Krishn Kaushik investigates Essar’s far-reaching attempts at currying favour with the government, bureaucracy and media, and the ways in which the group pursued concessions from the country's administrative and financial institutions. Through over 60 interviews, and reports from contested lands in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Kaushik uncovers the group’s unchecked ambitions, and its vast industry of influence. Also in this issue: How Gita Press shaped orthodox Hinduism; ten years of the Chattisgarh school of jungle warfare; how the cases against alleged Hindu extremists are being dismantled; how the Supreme Court misappropriated the phrase “collective conscience”; the promises and perils of the growing Indian art market; India’s much-forgotten role in the Second World War.

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