Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Profound, Prolific and Funny. (Part-II)

Author's Note: To read the 1st part of this post, click HERE.

In this post... I intend to look at the funny side of politics. Not necessarily the brand of 'poly tricks' practised in the land inhabited by yours truly, though *wink*

I will therefore bring to you several funny, profound, inspirational and stupid comments made by politicians and leaders - the people's representatives - over the decades.

Lalu Yadav is not the only one who makes odd and funny statements, though so full of hot air politicians (as a species) around the globe are... and so utterly convinced of their own greatness that it may never occur to them that some of what they say, their audience may find amusing. Editorial desks in the newspapers and electronic media are most generous in reporting what comes their way.

Speaking of the inimitable Lalu, who can forget his 'memorable' speeches during the presentation of the 'Railway Budgets'... in his earlier avatar as the Minister for Railways. Adding a garnish of some Bollywood masala to the 2008-09 Railway Budget, Lalu Prasad Yadav likened the 'historic' success of the rail network to the 2007 megahit 'Chak De India'. The minister, drawing a parallel with the Shah Rukh Khan starrer, which was based on the game of hockey, said: "We are scoring goal after goal in every match. Every child in the country will now say chak de railways. Mungerilal's dreams (Mungerilal ke haseen sapne) are actually being turned into reality," he said evoking much laughter.

The railway minister, whose inimitable sense of humour was well in place as he presented the Budget, recited a Hindi poem to convey his achievements and describe the much-talked-about turnaround of the railways. He said,

"Sab kah rahe hain humne gazab kaam kiya hai,
Karoron ka munafa har ek shaam diya hai,
Phal salon yeh ab dega, paudha jo lagaya hai,
Sewa ka, samarpan ka, humne farz nibhaya hai,"

as the House burst into laughter. Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee was also seen laughing away. Infact, Chatterjee was seen covering his mouth trying to suppress his laughter at Yadav's inimitable attempts to translate the poem into English. The complete speech is HERE [Clip]

The poetry was about the Railways doing wonders and earning crores as profits. "The sapling we planted will bear fruit now," Lalu said in the poem. At the request of some members, he translated the poetry into his accented English ("I will try to translate myself in English till here"), which again had the House in rapture. "Everybody is appreciating, ki I have done a tremendous work. Each and every year, I have earned crores and crores every day. And they are saying, Laloo Yadav has planted a fruit tree, and every year, it is duty of my, to grow fruit tree." To much mirth in the House, Chatterjee quipped (in hindi): "Iske baad rail ka koi samasya nehi rahega" (tr: after this, the railways will not face any problems). You can view the clip HERE. Infact, this clip has become a huge hit on YouTube. Watch it... it is a real stress-buster! *big grin*

In his elements, Lalu paused for a sip of water. "Pani peene dijiye," he said combatively, as if someone had threatened to snatch away the glass. His announcement of a coach factory for Kerala brought cheers from the Left MPs of the state. For him the going was still smooth - members on either side listening to his proposals carefully. A minor slip of tongue - 'July' sounded like 'dhulai' - was taken in good humour. In the first hint of a gathering storm, Adhir Chowdhury - a Congress MP from West Bengal - interrupted his list of new Garib Rath trains by asking, "Are there no poor in Bengal?" "Sunte jaiye" (tr: Keep listening), Lalu retorted.

Let us now turn to the land of the sole superpower... and even to the occupant (past and present) of the most expensive piece of real estate there. It may also be sort of reassuring to know that our politicians are not alone in this department. And that they can even be overshadowed and outpaced by miles. Really!

Let me start with President George W Bush who made the following profound observation about Africa once: "We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease." - Gothenburg, Sweden, June 14, 2001. Ronald Reagan, who had quite a wit, said after his 1984 debate with Walter Mondale, "If I had as much makeup on as he did, I'd have looked younger too."

And for those who have wondered why President Bush likes books, here is the explanation in his own words, "One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures." On reading he said, "You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.'' - Townsend, Tennessee, 21 February, 2001.

Regarding small business growth and the budget let me quote Dubya again here. "I understand small business growth. I was one." - New York Daily News, 19 February, 2000. On the budget, "It's clearly a budget. It's got a lot of numbers in it." - Reuters, 5 May, 2000. Dubya is simply peerless! He had even proudly stated, "I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office." - Washington DC, 12 May, 2008.

I wonder how did he manage to get himself admitted and then graduate... from Harvard and Yale of all places... ??? I mean yeh halwa hai kya?? Certainly not on merit... thats for sure. So much for 'democracy'... !!

Congressman Tom Feeney of Florida has this to say about Congress: "The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money."

American politicians have had some most amusing things to say about government, Reagan said, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help." However, one Grover Norquist of a group called 'Americans for Tax Reform' said, "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the tub." Reagan's view of economy remains a classic. He said, "If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidise it."

Richard Nixon, who swore like a sailor, laid down the following qualifications for his new chief of internal revenue or income tax: "I want to make sure he is a ruthless son of a bitch, that he will do what he's told, that every income tax return I want to see, I see, that he will go after our enemies and not our friends. Now it's as simple as that. If he doesn't, he doesn't get the job."

Nixon could not stand Jews. He once said to his chief of staff, Bob Haldeman, "You know, it's a funny thing. Every one of the bastards that are out for legalising marijuana is Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob? What is the matter with them? I suppose it is because most of them are psychiatrists."

Politics, Nixon once said, "would be a helluva good business if it weren't for the goddamned people." Reagan, asked for his view of politics, observed, "Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realise that it bears very close resemblance to the first."

President Bush's defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, will always remain known for this observation, "There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."

Harry Truman said of Washington, "If you need a friend, get yourself a dog," while Fred Thompson, former senator and an actor in a popular TV series called 'Law and Order', said of the US capital, "After two years in Washington, I miss the sincerity and genuineness of Hollywood." And President Herbert Hoover said, "Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt."

Harry Truman, going over his life in politics, summed it up thus: "My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference."

And here is something that established a link between President John F Kennedy and President Asif Ali Zardari (of Pakistan). Kennedy said, "Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names." Zardari, asked by a friend to help an officer who had gone out of his way to do Zardari in while working at the Ehtesab (Accountability) Bureau, expressed his reservations but when pressed, relented. "Thank you, Sai'n," his friend said exiting the room, "Forgiven and forgotten?" "Forgiven, but not forgotten," Zardari was quick to remind him.

The Nawab of Kalabagh, once said that he kept two books, one listing the names of his friends, and the other, those of his enemies. "From the first book, you can move to the other book; but you can never move from the second book to the first."

Once, many moons ago, when Benazir Bhutto was the prime minister of the 'land of the pure' and under attack for various alleged financial misdeeds, she quoted from Shakespeare's Othello. 'Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,' said Iago to the Moor, 'is the immediate jewel of their souls; who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing; 'twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands; but he that filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed.'

Politicians are usually asked to make good governance their top priority. There are no friendships at the top. Good governance demands that they change their friends periodically. Moreover, they are not required to make statements rebutting every criticism... though some continue to indulge in this game, aptly called the 'blame game'. It is often better to leave the repartee to underlings. When a former British premier, Clement Attlee, was told that he speaks very little, he answered, "You don't keep a dog and bark yourself".

(More later...)

Note: Some info gathered, courtesy: Wikipedia.


A picture of a telephone with a funny yet prolific tagline: If we don't take care of the customer, maybe they'll stop bugging us.


  1. I have seen that video of Lalu's budget speech a number of times. It is indeed a great stuff to relax when working under tension at times! Every time I see that, i can't stop myself from breaking into laughter.

    Very well thought, conceptualized and written Roshmi. Keep up the good work :)

  2. Before I die I have this one small wish... listen lalu address the United nations..!! He's a world heritage..Why should only india have all the fun :)

  3. lalu adds moe colour to our otherwise also vibrant parliament
    he is one of his kind.and a great social worker too
    just imagine he brings smiles on the faces of so many people

  4. They never stop amusing ,live telecast has really reduced the need for laughter shows.
    Regarding the literacy drive of Bush the picture in link says it all ,take a look

  5. Lallu has been a source of amusement to one and all.However, Mamata is hell bent on exposing his mathematics.
    It was very thoughtful of you to have linked Lalu's speech.
    Hilarious post and the speech

  6. @ Mohan: Thanks Mohan :)

    The video is very amusing indeed...

  7. @ Puneet: Put forth your wishlist to Santa Claus ;)

  8. @ Anju Gandhi: Absolutely! I agree with you... he is peerless :)

  9. @ Sunil: Very right Sunilji. The picture just reinforces the saying, 'a picture speaks a thousand words'.

    Thanks for sharing the link.

  10. @ BK Chowla: Yes Chowlaji. After the famous 'chara ghotala' who knows what else is in store, from the 'dehati magician'.

    But they are all birds of a same feather. So, nothing will come of it...

  11. Interesting read Roshmi. Did you notice how the dumbest comments are from you-know-which-place? And though Lallu is non stop entertainment, its a facade that hides a very shrewd mind.

  12. That Laloo's speech is a hilarious treat man! Althought it sounds funny I really wonder how this guy was able to deliver a lecture to IIM students!

    Reminds me of...
    When I dying.. Budhiya going to Jail... In Jail, Budhiya Chakki Pising and pising .... :D

    Long live our Politicians!

  13. This was damn funny. That lalu's speech is hilarious. Gosh! he always manages to make a fool of himself. :P
    Hats off to you! *clap clap clap*
    I wonder how you collect so many facts! I've said this before, and I'll say it again. You are a pool of knowledge.
    Keep 'em coming. Enjoyed reading. :-)

  14. I have always found politics dull and boring... I love the way you make it so hilarious! :)

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :)

  15. was going through the comments made by knowledgeable view point on Lallu is that, he is a great artist . I think he deliberately does what he does ,to appear common to a common man. subtlety lies hidden behind the curtains of naivety .

    Let me share one of my favorites on laloo

    When asked about crores of rupees he has EATEN in fodder scam (chara Ghotala) his remarks is

    "Hamara deshbhakti dekhiye...khud chara khaya hoon... lekin des ko Rabri (a sweet made by condensed milk ) diya hoon "

    You cant help but laugh at his wit....

  16. This is nice! Lalu is so intelligent and he made everyone admire him with his Railway budget! Our Railways made so much profit when he was Railway Minister. I wonder why he didn't use his 'brain' when he was the CM of Bihar for so many years.

    You have quoted the best of Laalu here! Thank you. I can just come here and read and laugh, when I am bored. Thank you.

    I remember seeing a photograph in the newspaper in which he is surrounded by MIT and Harward students and every person's teeth were visible!

  17. hmmm... seriously wot do u do?? as in ur occupation, u writting 4sm publication or stuff like dat??n wot mks u resrch so much?? nehww d seemd 2b compiled well... sure u listed lot of politocos amusing powers,, but none can come evn close 2 lalu prasad.. he is d PRO :P

  18. @ Deepa: Absolutely! The same applies for the others too... especially a certain 'exotic flora'.

  19. @ Neeraj: Ha! Ha!

    Though Lalu is non-stop entertainment and gives the impression of a jester... it is just a facade that hides a very shrewd mind...

  20. @ Karthik: Thanks a bunch for your kind words. Appreciate it! :)

    Though Lalu is non-stop entertainment and gives the impression of a jester... it is just a facade that hides a very shrewd mind. Don't underestimate him...

  21. @ Tangerine: Thanks :)

    Glad you liked it!

    P.S. Here's wishing you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year (in advance)!!!

  22. @ Sunil: I had not heard of that one. Thanks for sharing.

    And yes... though Lalu is non-stop entertainment and gives the impression of a jester... it is just a facade, a camouflage that hides a very shrewd and sharp mind. Don't underestimate him...

  23. @ Sandhya: We cannot be sure about the authenticity of his mathematics regarding the railways, Sandhyaji. Mamata didi is bent on proving that he fuzzed figures... deliberately.

    Plus... though Lalu is non-stop entertainment and gives the impression of a jester... it is just a facade, a camouflage that hides a very shrewd and sharp mind. Don't under-estimate him. He is not what he projects or appears to be...

  24. @ Sobhit: Well, I am a voracious and prolific reader ;) That is the 'secret' :)

    Glad to know you liked this post.

    Though Lalu is non-stop entertainment and gives the impression of a jester... it is just a facade, a camouflage that hides a very shrewd and sharp mind. Don't under-estimate him. He is not what he projects or appears to be...

  25. @Roshmi-I agree ,that is what I wanted to say in my comment that "subtlety lies hidden behind the curtains of naivety" . He wants to use this rustic sham to appear common man to masses.

  26. I wonder what Indian Politics would have looked like without the hilarious one liners from Lalu

  27. @ Sunil: Yes Sunilji... you are very right in your assessment.

    And to top it all, he even manages to succeed in his 'endeavour'.

  28. @ Sojo Varughese: Welcome to my blog :)

    What you say is true.

    But then... though Lalu is non-stop entertainment and gives the impression of a jester... it is just a facade, a camouflage that hides a very shrewd and sharp mind.

    Don't under-estimate him. He is not what he projects or appears to be...

  29. Lalu is definitely a shrewd politician. He gained maximum mileage out of his railway portfolio. Lots of intelligent schemes were introduced during his tenure.
    If what I know is right then the concept of loaded trucks directly being carried in trains was introduced during his tenure. what a saving in terms of diese/pollution etc and huge profit for railways. The tatkal scheme was also introduced during his tenure is another one which is increased the profit. All the garib raths are running houseful..
    At times I wonder who was the real brain behind these ideas, but the leader definitely deserves a credit for implementing these ideas coz what happens in Indian politics is not the dearth of ideas but the lack of application in implementation of good concepts.