In 1947, there were approximately 568 princely families controlling our destinies. They, along with a few thousand zamindars and other members of the minor royalty, formed an elite corp, completely insulated from the rest of India. Going by their incomes and lifestyles, they may as well have been from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse as far as the rest of India was concerned. By and large, these families had no abiding interest in the progress, development or betterment of their fiefdoms and peoples and sought only to perpetuate their power, which was the source of their incomes and therefore lifestyles. The faceless masses, with their aspirations, dreams and nightmares, may as well have been from some other planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse as far as this bunch was concerned.

In 2009, there are approximately 543 princely families controlling our destinies. They, along with a few thousand MLAs, MLCs, Corporators and other members of the minor royalty, form an elite corp, completely insulated from the rest of India. Going by their incomes and lifestyles, they may as well be from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse as far as the rest of India is concerned. By and large, these families have no abiding interest in the progress, development or betterment of their fiefdoms and peoples and seek only to perpetuate their power, which is the source of their incomes and therefore lifestyles. The faceless masses, with their aspirations, dreams and nightmares, may as well be from some other small planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse as far as this bunch is concerned.

We sure have come a long way!

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