Monday, June 09, 2008

Laluji Ban Gaye Blogger...

Flipping through the newspapers or browsing across the news in the web media, you would have learnt how blogging is catching up in India and in the entire world in a big way. Be it Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan or Salman Khan. Do these people really write their blogs, or just that they have some one else who does the job for them. I am really not sure about that but few chaps are frank and candid as Lord Jeffrey Archer who was in India recently to promote his latest page-turner, A Prisoner of Birth. He is even bitten by the blogging bug and when posed a question by a reporter:
Tell us about your blog. Isn't it a big commitment for someone who is tech-challenged?

A friend of mine who runs a blog, who is the chairman of my publishing company, was getting 50,000 people (hits) a month. He said, 'You should do it Jeffrey'. So I did, and last month, 540,000 people hit the blog.

I don't post the blog. I handwrite it, give it to the secretary and she posts it. When I sit down to breakfast, I get a pile of emails from the blog. Twenty-five per cent of them at the moment are from India, but that will probably change when I leave.
The latest that I read in Economic Times is that our good old Laluji is having a duologue with a Mumbai-based media team to start his own blog. His source of inspiration is none other than the Democratic Presidential candidate, Barack Obama's magical spell of views and ideas expressed in his blog. The blog is expected to be put up at and the minister is expected to make 2 posts a week. The topics to be covered are just anything and everything.

My personal feeling is that Laluji's blog site is going to draw lot of readers because of myriad reasons, among which one definitely clings on the humor and wittiness factor.

Laluji's first post was centered on the Gujjar agitation and he blames the Vasundhara Raje Government for mishandling the entire scenario and bringing it to disconsolate stage. In his post he expressed his displeasure at the loss that Indian Railways incurs because of the plotted agitations.
The loss caused to the Indian Railways is yet to be estimated but the damage has been severe. Several trains, both passenger and goods, have been cancelled. It is unfortunate that the Gujjars have vented their anger by disrupting the rail lines, but they do not realize they have dismantled lifelines of the country.
Leave the mis-management or the management part of Laluji when it comes to, ruling the state of Bihar for a long time, which if I am not mistaken is for a period of 15+ years. This in itself is a paradox. One very prominent facet of Laluji's persona that impresses me is his earthy humor and adroitness and cleverness in handling the media and the press.

Mind you, he is father to nine children but when he was questioned by the press about family planning, he gave a befitting reply. His reply was that his large family was a resistance against the emergency that was imposed in India in the late 1970s under the leadership of the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. The Prime Minister had enforced sterilization to control the country's population and so Laluji went ahead to revolt against this and formed a mini-football team. So much so that, he even named his eldest daughter, Misa after a set of harsh code of laws that provided the police a free rein in the late 1970s.

His name may be Lalu (meaning a 'fool') but to me he has the brain of a super computer and within it runs different processes churning out endless solutions for any kind of imaginable problem in the political canvas. Rewind, your memory and you can recall how in 1997 he was oust from the post of chief minister of Bihar for his involvement in a corruption scandal. Overnight he appointed his wife Rabri (name of a sweet dish in North India) Devi, as the next chief minister. That's brilliant by any standards, planning and executing something with the drop of hat. When the press questioned him about the capabilities of Rabri, he replied with firm conviction that she had managed a house and nine children smartly. Hence questioning her political competency and management skills would be an insult to every Indian homemaker.

To me other than the political astuteness that Laluji possesses, his greatest endowment is his ability to understand the minds of his constituency, strike the right chords (ideology rather than governance works, symbolism and not development are keys for political survival, caste and religion are trump cards rather than performance at grass root level) with those that matter when it comes to vote banks, etc. This may sound lacking subtlety and insight but Laluji is a master at it and that's the reason he has managed to turn every political hard knocks into an opportunity.

One of his most talked about histrionics was when Laluji, once publicly announced that he would transform Bihar's roads, and make those as smooth and unflustered as Hema Malini's cheeks. To this, the BJP campaigner late Pramod Mahajan on a visit to Bihar, riposted that far from matching the smoothness of Hema Malini's cheeks, the in competency of Lalu government had turned the roads as spelunked as the cheeks of Om Puri. As far as I remember, neither of the comparable entities in this discussion created any flutter, and it was a political pas de deux between Laluji and Pramod Mahajan.

Laluji may be a rustic politician, in dhoti-kurta and may lack the sophistry, he may be dubbed as 'jungle raj' chief minister but under his direction in the present Government, the amount of reformation and profits that Indian Railways has witnessed is management folklore today. The turnaround in the financial health of the Indian Railways, with the reins in charge of Laluji, has been the subject of major discussion at IIMs and many top business schools round the globe.
So what has Prasad done to the Indian Railways which his predecessors could not? The answer lies in his own down-to-earth attitude and rustic wisdom.

Prasad puts it in his inimitable style: "My mother always told me not to handle a buffalo by its tail, but always catch it by its horns. And I have used that lesson in everything in my life, including the Railways."

Prasad's other management mantra for the Railways has been: "If you do not milk the cow fully, it falls sick," which he is practicing while running the Railways.
Laluji is definitely an enigma, a mystery and there are many people who wish to understand the yokes of his flummoxing and puzzling personality. An official is quoted as saying, "More than 100 missions have sought his curriculum vitae and asked questions about him. They say he is worth studying. Such interest is unheard of for any other minister." Incidentally, Lalu Prasad is the subject of a study by sociologists at Harvard University in the United States.

Now if such an interesting personality joins the blogging bandwagon, am sure there's a lot available to read. I am game to read about Laluji's secret for jhakkas one liners and of course about his countrified comparisons. Laluji, where do you get this armory of wit, do share please.

Keep reading and remain connected.

(Note: Some people spell the word, 'Lalu' as 'Laloo', so it's one and the same.)

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At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"so Laluji went ahead to revolt against this and formed a mini-football team"

hahahaah...dude you are just a wonderful writer. I've been following your posts for a while. Keep up the good work(i'm sure u will...)

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Kutti said...

Good writing and true in most respects. Just that the negative aspects of the personality are so easily let go - why because he did his job for once? It just happened to be the railways. So you agree that politics is about winning the election by exploiting the weakness of the society, having witty remarks just to be humorous? I would say he and many others are responsible for Bihar being the labor pool of the country. Not so much to criticize or anything but think about the message you convey. You fell short of saying it is OK to be Lalu who let a state languish in poverty for decades. The same state that gave him a mandate over and over for the same reasons you pointed out.

At 11:42 AM, Blogger Aishwarya Rajput said...

Join this onlne community for Any suggestions to Indian Government for Suggestions for Railway | Indian railways | Train Enquiry


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