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What is Banana Republic ?  Who are Mango People ? What is Quid Pro Quo ?  What is Sweetheart Deal ?


Rajesh Goyal 




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I came across above terms recently in the controversy relating to DLF vs Vadra.   Although, I had heard these terms earlier, but frankly speaking could not explain these with confidence when some youngster  in the family asked about the exact meaning of the above terms.   So, I searched internet and thought to share it with our readers as many of you might also fumble in explaining the same.  Moreover, this will be a good lesson for young students and those preparing for competitive exams.   Let us discuss these in brief one by one.



What is Banana Republic ? Define Banana Republic


The term "Banana Republic" is loosely used and no single definite  meaning can be given.   Popularly, the terms is referred to small Latin American Caribbean or African countries which are politically unstable, dependent on limited agriculture and ruled by a small, self elected wealthy and corrupt clique.  The 'banana republic' thus refers to 'politically unstable country that economically depends upon the exports of a limited resources (usually fruits, crops), which is dominated by a rich businessmen or other elites and has a impoverished working class.  It a a derogatory term and is also used to refer to the countries which are commercially exploited for private profits by the State itself for the benefit of small elite class.    

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Honduras and Guatemala are two countries which have been dubbed 'banana republic' in the last century.   ( It is said that the term BANANA REPUBLIC was coined by American author O. Henry in his 1904 book of short stories, "Cabbages and Kings", set in the fictional "Anchuria", which was based on his 1896-97 stay in Hondura


The term was in news and raised controversy when Robert Vadra, husband of Priyanka Gandhi (and son in law of Sonia Gandhi) on his Facebook described India as "Mango people in banana republic".  This led to massive protests on social media.   Mr Vadra closed his FB account.    When on 9th October 2012, in morning I visited wikipedia website, India was also referred as "Banana Republic", alongwith Honduras and Guatemala on the basis of above comments by Vadra.   Thankfully, better senses prevailed, and wiki decided not to go with Vadra and thus the name of India was removed from the heading "Banana Republic" by Wikipedia by evening of 9th October, 2012.  However, the details are available in the history of that page and thus blot will continue.




[I would like to add here that brand 'Banana Republic'  is also a well known American clothing brand.  It was found in 1978 by Mel and Patricia Ziegle.  There are over 500 stores across US.  See picture above.  The brand was later on taken over by Gap. ]





Who are  Mango People ?


The term Banana Republic was not new to me, but 'Mango people' was certainly new.   I came to know that this has been used in some movie, which I have not seen.   I was wondering what is origin of this term.   I realised that unlike other phrases, "mango people" is strictly of Indian origin and is a literal translation of Hindi Phrase "Aam Aaadmi".    Most of Indians know that the king of Indian Fruits,  Manago, in Hindi is known as "Aam".   Similarly, Aaadmi when translated into English means Man/People.   Thus,  when Robert Vadra referred to Mango People, he referred to "Aam Aaadmi", the main plank of Congress in last election.    Now the son in law of the Congress leader, Ms Sonia Gandhi,  Mr Vadra disdainfully referred to "Aam Aaadmi" as Mango People.   This really enraged Indian public in general, and he was forced to close his Face Book account itself.




An Interesting comment for Robert Vadra which  I came across on the internet : "Robert Vadra, tum aage badho, aam aur kele tumhare saath hain."  (translated in English, it means, Mr Robert Vadra, move ahead, Mango and Bananas are with you)".    I liked this comment.



What is Quid Pro Quo ? Define Quid Pro Quo.


This is a latin phrase and literally means "this for that", and is frequently used "a favour for a favour" or as in political circles and organisations we call "you scratch my back, I will scratch your back".  In legal terms it indicates that an item or a service has been traded in return for something of value, usually when the propriety or equity of the transaction is in question.  Therefore, in the case where DLF has allegedly  favoured Mr Vadra by selling properties at a much lower price than the market price, Mr Vadra is alleged used his political clout to give benefits to DLF company in return for interest free loans and properties at throw away prices.




What is Sweetheart Deal? Explain Sweetheart Deal


A deal in which one party offers the other party with very attractive terms and conditions.  Such deals are usually considered as unethical.   Such contracts are abnormally favourable contractual arrangements and frequently used in describing deals involving government or political associated officials and hints at the presence of corruption.  It is also used to describe an action between two parties in which a third party is put at distinct disadvantage.   It is sometimes also used to refer to collusive, unethical agreements between unethical union officials and management, wherein such union officials may gain personal benefits by granting certain concessions to management / employer.



Thanks Mr Kejriwalji,  by your disclosures on this corruption issue, we have learnt / refreshed the meaning of these terms.



October 2012


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