Bluff the People.

If governance is about lies, white lies and statistics, then our political leadership (glibly referred to as government) have a right to bluff the people. But Mr.Jarnail Singh, a Sikh journalist, couldn’t take this bluff anymore and so he responded with his shoes.

Bernard Madoff bluffed his way through with some of the most clever people in the world and duped them some $50 billion. Our own Mr. Raju of Satyam, bluffed his own board, the auditors, the regulators and even won awards.  Jeffrey Archer bluffed about his involvement with British prostitute Monica Coghlan to win a libel case against newspaper-Daily Star.  His lies were later discovered and he was jailed for committing perjury. Presidents Nixon & Clinton too bluffed. So if you bluff and don’t get jailed, you are in good company.

So what is Bluff?   It simply means “to deceive, fool, dupe, delude or hoodwink with an aim to mislead someone by presenting a bold, strong, or self-confident front”.  One must read Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf to understand how it is practiced. In recent times, Enron’s Ken Lay, the CEO and top guns Jeff Skilling and Andy Fastow gave convincing interviews exemplifying their knack of bluffing and bouncing tough questions. It took a Sharon Watkins (Ex Andersen & Enron) to blow the whistle on off balance sheet deals that eventually destroyed the energy firm. The Ken, Jeff and Andy of the Enron world went under sooner than they could get even with Ms.Watkins. Lucky Sharon.

In  Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, there is this Chapter VI on War Propaganda. The “great lie theory” propagated in his book are practiced by many politicians and devious entrepreneurs. I quote a few relevant portions from this chapter.

The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan. As soon as you sacrifice this slogan and try to be many-sided, the effect will piddle away, for the crowd can neither digest nor retain the material offered. In this way the result is weakened and in the end entirely cancelled out. The whole art consists in doing this so skilfully that everyone will be convinced that the fact is real, the process necessary, the necessity correct, etc”.

Now sample this from our political leaders.

•    India will grow at 7% and sometimes can even grow at 8%
•    Our economy is stable
•    The present global crisis will not affect India
•    All BPL families will get 35kg of rice or wheat every month at Rs 2 per kg.
•    Accountability of the police force will be institutionalized.
•    Will take firm steps to identify and retrieve Indian money stashed away in foreign banks.
•    We will guarantee health security for all
•    Introduce a comprehensive National Identity Card for all citizens of India.
•    We will implement a nation-wide skill development programme
•    We will combat communalism of all kinds and caste atrocities with determination
•    We will connect all villages to a broadband network in three years time
•    We will maintain the path of high growth with fiscal prudence and low inflation
•    We will give a completely new look to urban governance
•    We will provide bicycles to every school going girl child from BPL families throughout India.
•    A regulatory authority will be set up for private hospitals and nursing homes to monitor unfair practices.

And the list goes on ………

How many of them haven’t read Hitler’s Mein Kampf?

सत्यमेव जयते

Truth Alone Triumphs!!

(Incidentally this is the national motto that is inscribed at the base of the national emblem)

5 thoughts on “Bluff the People.

  1. Rangan, you have missed a good, more recent example, of the same scale Hiltler achieved: The “Bushing and Blairing” on Iraq.

  2. I am not surprised that the politicians (and others) get away with bluffing. There is a Child in all of us that prompts us to grandstand and be the center of attention. Money, power and ostentatious display of grandeur (weddings Chatwal or Mittal style)- these are all manifestations of this symptom. If the media plays it up, it is the readership/viewership that eggs them on. So we are really the victims of our own predispositions. If we spurn these ostentatious displays and pour scorn on people acquiring wealth by deceit, and learn to discern between the not-so-good and the very-bad (there is no “GOOD” anymore), maybe the malaise can be controlled. It is sickening to see the wealth of all these politicians increasing at a rate that cannot be explained by sensex or any other index. Hopefully “You can bluff all the people some of the time, bluff some people all the time, but never all the people all the time” will hold good in this country too. Otherwise we will become another USA, a fate worse than death!

  3. Truth Alone Triumphs!!
    Russian author Leo Tolstoy(1828-1910)lamented a society that was ruled by greed and ruthless self-interest,and asserted that the only way that this could be changed was through a spiritual revolution—–a change in the hearts of people themselves.He declared”Human evil can be overcome by humanbeings and this alone is their task and the point of life”
    I feel we must recognise evil for what it is.we must not remain silent in the face of inhumanity or injustice;We must stand up against it.
    I understand the frustration that led the young journalist jarnail singh to act in this manner…..he just wanted to be heard I suppose.

  4. The Bluff Masters in the World have made Greed as their best friend and have forgotten the essence of truth, happiness and togetherness and are busy creating history for wrong reasons. Today the truth about politicians is that they are untruthful (atleast that’s the common man’s perception). It’s time for the leaders (for that matter everyone) to understand and live the words of our emblem “Truth Alone Triumphs!!” and creat history for right reasons.

  5. Relevant – Nice Article.
    Curious to see how recent positive market sentiments and a structural improvement in a stronger political lead will affect this. Expected a more significant clearance of dirty laundry and mystic cellars domestically. However, signs suggest that skeletons might be provided respite to remain in various closets for future years…

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