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Hanging by a coat

Rajendra Kumar Pachauri has thawed that old debate that, we had thought, had been frozen with time: is it sinful to be rich?

india Updated: Feb 02, 2010 23:45 IST

Rajendra Kumar Pachauri has thawed that old debate that, we had thought, had been frozen with time: is it sinful to be rich? To quote an Irish dandy who preferred wearing an expensive jacket to a shabby coat, “It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating.” And we think that Mr Pachauri, ecological economist, environmentalist, Ming the Merciless-lookalike and, now, a novelist (his debut work is the charming Return to Almora, and not the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change) is worried about not being considered ‘fascinating’ if he did wear $1,000 Armani suits as charged by the The Daily Telegraph. And just for the record, he doesn’t.

But even if he did, so what? Mr Pachauri has gone to great pains to point out that he had paid Rs 2,200 for the suit he was wearing during an interview. He even stated that he had haggled the price down by Rs 300. Why does he have to prove his credentials of being a good man and a solid scientist by showing his penchant for discount coupons and moderate living? Some of the nicest people we’ve met — and honest to a fault too — have been rich people. Being rich may have automatically suggested being part of some hera pheri in our ‘socialistic gestures please’ past.

So Mr Pachauri, don’t worry about people thinking that your ‘Chhadha and Company’ jacket is an Armani. (Do send us details, though, so we can get these affordable jackets for ourselves.) Don’t worry that yours isn’t a biodegradable rags-to-climate crusading tale. In fact, don’t worry at all. Just ensure that errors don’t creep in while you serve your cause: which is to tell the world about the dangers of global warming. Not about the horrifying shame of being, well, rich.