Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Rule of Athithi Devo Bhava — Guest of God

The terrorist attack on Mumbai is an awful event. Here is an inspiring message coming from that shattered corner ... and it may be something that gives comfort to boards of companies doing business in India or contemplating entering the Indian market (India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pictured here). 

This is from Sunil Singhania, president of IAIP, the CFA India Society. I am a longtime member of the CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals, and this message from the Indian unit head was circulated through the association. These are edited excerpts of the message:

"There is no doubt that the intention of the terrorists was to destabilize the commercial city of India and thus cause financial setback to one of the fastest growing and most resilient economies of the world ... However, the terrorists don't know the resolve of the Mumbaikars and Indians. We have bounced back immediately earlier and we will bounce back even faster this time.

"We Indians will rise from this temporary setback and work all the more harder to defeat the intentions of our enemies to weaken us in any way. We saw most of Mumbai return to work on Friday itself, while our brave soldiers were still fighting with the militants. The stock markets rose, almost yelling that do whatever one can, India will continue to shine.

"The events must have surely shaken the confidence of people who have visited India and, more so, stayed in one of the two hotels targeted. The spontaneous reaction would be to cancel all travel plans to India. By doing this, you will only be making the endeavors of the terrorists more successful.

"We Indians follow the rule of Athithi Devo Bhava or Guest of God. We assure all our international brethern that Indians will lay down their life to protect those of our guests."

Come to think of it, that kind of steely resolve is just what is needed to surmount the economic assault we're all facing — now that, ahem (see my post below), a recession has been officially declared.