Blood, toil, tears, and sweat - The Honest Truth By Ajit Dayal
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Investing in India - Honest Truth by Ajit Dayal
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12 JULY 2012


Nations are not built by politicians.

Nations are built by leaders - by statesman who command respect because they have a vision and the drive to reach a goal. And the leaders need followers who are committed, who are willing to do their bit.

Mahatma Gandhi postulated the quest for freedom in 1920, at the age of 51 years. It took India 27 years after the launch of the Non-Cooperation Movement to win Independence. And Independence was not won by the Mahatma alone. He carried a nation along in his march for freedom. Victory is not given; it needs to be earned with patience, time, and effort. Over a long period of time.

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Prime Minister Winston Churchill, one of the greatest orators of the twentieth century, evoked an image of hard work and dedication when he asked for the support of the people in the fight against the tyranny and might of Hitler.

We are in the preliminary stage of one of the greatest battles in history.... That we are in action at many points - in Norway and in Holland -, that we have to be prepared in the Mediterranean. That the air battle is continuous, and that many preparations have to be made here at home.

I would say to the House as I said to those who have joined this government: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.

You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs - Victory in spite of all terror - Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.


As Wikipedia notes, "the famous phrase Blood, toil, tears and sweat was first uttered on 2 July 1849 by Giuseppe Garibaldi when rallying his revolutionary forces in Rome. Theodore Roosevelt also uttered the phrase in an address to the Naval War College on June 2, 1897, following his appointment as Assistant Secretary of the Navy."

A leader does not have to be original in thought.

But a leader needs to be persevering and committed to a cause. Over long periods of time.

Churchill led, the people gave.

Gandhi led, the people gave.

India lacks leadership, but it also lacks believers

India has many politicians, but India has no leader. No person of character who we can look up to and say, "I will follow the leader".

But that is not only a fault of the political system. It is a reflection of society - of us; of whom we are, and who we are not.

Take the case of big business. Over the past 21 years - between 1991 and 2012 - the market value of all listed Indian companies has risen from USD 100 billion to USD 1,200 billion. A massive wealth creation engine. Many of the business magazines have covered the glory of the wealthy billionaires.

But can you name 10 people who have become billionaires without paying a bribe?

Can you name 20 people who have made USD 100 million over the past 21 years without paying a bribe?

Can you name 10 neighbours who have lived their life without paying a bribe?

Can you name 10 members of your family who have not paid a bribe?

We have many billionaires, millionaires, and neighbours who have gained their wealth by questionable and opaque means.

Do any of the business federations (ASSOCHAM, CII, FICCI, and IMC to name a few) have a policy that prohibits giving a bribe to any government official or a non-government employee? Does your building society give bribes to get their approvals and clearances?

Does any association expel members who have been known to give bribes? Do the big business associations hold open meetings that allow the public to question the business federations on these matters?

One cannot always blame the politicians and businessmen. We must look inward - at our own experiences.

We all say, "We wish India to be a better country". But what are we doing to make it better?

When was the last time that you agreed to pay a fine to a traffic policeman to avoid the inconvenience of going through the process?

When was the last time you threw garbage on the streets?

Or picked up some garbage from within your building?

When was the last time you stopped your car, motorcycle, or scooter to allow a child or an old woman to cross a street?

Or helped an elderly person get on a bus?

Or held open a door for someone else?

Living in a material world.

No, our politicians are not alone to blame for the loss that Indian soul. Nor are our pampered industrialists.

A lot of the blame lies with us, as people.

We have lost our character - sacrificed it on the altar of monetary gains and convenience.

Look at the number of people still vying to get employed with the biggest financial firms - though these financial firms continue to find ways to cheat and game the system; to work against the interests of their clients. Many brilliant people from IIT and IIM have found their way - and still try - to these large financial firms purely for the money.

Look at the shameless lobbying in the mutual fund industry (even from those that belong to "good businesses houses" like HDFC and Tata) for the re-introduction of a pool of money to pay distributors in an opaque way. Just as a real estate developer incentivises a bureaucrat or a politician for re-zoning land, the mutual fund industry wants to grease the wheels of money flows.

The introduction of the "fungible total expense ratio" will "incentivise" a distributor to move your money to the Fund that pays him the best, not necessarily what is best for a client's portfolio. They are finding ways to "revitalise" the industry. Maybe if they concentrated on working for the benefit of their investors, everything would fall into place.

The fact is we have all become a part of the material world. The benefit of what we get at the end of the day has diluted the means we have deployed to achieve our goals. "The means are as important as the end", said Gandhi.

In this modern day and age, maybe our ends and our objectives have changed. Success is the measurable material, not this vague concept of "character". "Character" does not pay bills.

The children need to be fed and put in good schools, the wife needs to be made comfortable in a separate home away from the in-laws, and the husband needs his fancy car and gizmos.

None of the above objectives are bad in themselves but how did you get the money to pay for it all? What fungible payment did you make to the politician, the bureaucrat, or the distributor of a mutual fund to reach a material goal?

It is time to say "Enough!" and time to be a part of the solution and not be a part of the problem or a silent observer.

So how do we put an end to it?

No candle light marches.

No fasting.

No sitting in a room and spinning khadi - our world and lives are too complex for that.

But simple, firm, and concrete actions.

It takes two hands to clap your hands.

Try it, stop reading this - and clap.

Clap, clap, clap.

Now put one hand down and try and clap with the other hand.

What do you get?

A wave of air. No sound of clapping. One hand is worthless when you wish to clap.

It takes two hands to clap.

Just as it takes two hands to seal a bribe.

The hand of the person who gives the bribe - and the hand of the person who takes it.

If the person who wants a bribe sticks his hand out; don't extend your hand to pay the bribe.

Fold your hands together and do a "Namaste" and leave. Let the god in you greet the god there within him.

India cannot change overnight. India cannot rid itself of corruption overnight.

India did not become corrupt overnight. It took a lot of participation and decades of decadent behaviour to get us to where we are.

As Gandhi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world". And as Churchill and others have reminded us it will take a lot of blood, toil, tears, and sweat to win such an epic battle. And win it we must.

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Disclaimer: The Honest Truth is authored by Ajit Dayal. Ajit is a Director at Quantum Advisors Pvt. Ltd and Quantum Asset Management Company Pvt. Ltd. The views mentioned above are of the author only. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and has not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author, Equitymaster, Quantum AMC and Quantum Advisors do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. Please read the detailed Terms of Use of the web site. To write to Ajit, please click here.


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22 Responses to "Blood, toil, tears, and sweat"

hgbansal

Aug 12, 2012

good article

Like 

Vandhana Karthick

Aug 11, 2012

Great Article!! People never stop receiving bribe and also never stop giving bribe.It starts from wen the baby borns in an hospital,we pay bribe to the nurse,wardboy and others as an gift..Bribes another decent word is Gift.Many of us pay to save time and tension due to this people who do not have money still they do not get more affordable to their life.But many of them in India dies if they stop receiving bribe even from small level to high bigger level in Politicians.And also India seems many scams and become common to people now a days, which they never mind and also Government minimum judgement as maximum lifetime imprisonment.But the defaulter happily gives all his assets to someone on his behalf.People themselves should stop giving bribe,doing scam,and all illegal activities.

Like 

Shirish

Aug 3, 2012

The need to bribe arises due to inconvenience and pain involved in no-bribe way. Many people give bribe reluctantly to save time and trouble. I would say that govt should start taking "bribe" officially to offer convenience to people. This has been successfully done before. The examples are "tatkal" railway reservations or passport services. Instead of paying to touts, you pay to govt. officially to get last min reservation or urgent passport. This type of services should be extended everywhere where there is corruption. Govt revenue will increase and those who can afford can get quick service as well.

Like (1)

pramod

Aug 1, 2012

Good article. Tata Hdfc like "so called" good managements must ask SEBI for A "window" in bear mkt FOR ALLOWING COMMISION to make distributors persuade /buy common man in MF at bear mkt like in dec 11 or june12.INCENTIVE AND BONUS attraction and wrong implementation has killed the world fin mkts. while on the subject,Commission earned by MF distributor will always stand in good stead ,if his customer makes profits than earned by his wrong advise to buy at bull mkt peak and lose cust confidence forever. Yhis is the way ,MF distributors have died its own death out of greed for commission .People simply do not believe in stock mkt and MF due to heavy manupulations in stock prices,MF NAVs,HUGE OP COSTS,sebi being only "Namke Waste" for taking free salaries like all govt Babus do all the time esp in last 2 years. They are paid for taking no decisions /not even normal duty.This lot would be enmass sacked in pvt sector.This is the reason people prefer govt job again .zero accountabilty with lots of nuisance value ! Ajit says it right we have no leader . Sonia Singh never come on TV interview- VERY DISGUSTING.Let them face Karan Thaper only once.

Like (1)

Sachin Salunkhe

Jul 16, 2012

Probably the best of yr articles...herd cries foul about corrupt asking for bribe....none talks abt NOT Paying the bribe...Country is made by its people and not by Leaders...I often talk among my friends...Good to see the same on this platform...now WE have some nice new High ways and X/press ways ...But look at the people driving on those...Govt is not supposed to tell people not to piss on the roadside...Govt is not supposed to clean (rich people's)dog/shit on the footpaths...Bravo!!!!

Like (1)

jana

Jul 14, 2012

Congrats Mr Dayal! Brilliant! thoughful, incisive analysis!! Increasing trend of lack (of) human values, cultural aberation, and identity loss make people immature , impulsive and indecisive and the rest follows...And Weak begets weaknesses and so on.,,leads to 'yatha praja taTha raja!" ( close to 200 people, I have forwarded your article) Thanks

Like (1)

Prem Singh Dhankar

Jul 14, 2012

Ajitji, very well written, hard facts expressed by your inner God. I pray to invoke many more such Gods in us and Bharat can sure be better place on earth. Actually my written words are failing to express reality which I have under stood in your writings, Bravo, Hats-off, keep up the good work, God Bless!. Yes, we need the leader of a desired character......i.e HONEST, BOLD AND COMMITTED, WHO CAN TAKE THIS COUNTRY THRU"\'"Blood, toil, tears, and sweat".

Like (1)

geo thomas

Jul 14, 2012

It is an honest truth, everyone knows it, being in advising field for the last 10yrs, honestly worked towards clients goal, mutual fund only 4% of the people are investing which is very sad, and suddenly front commission is stopped, i welcomed it as it will help the people, but what is happening agent have stopped selling MF and started selling traditional insurance, now who is to be blamed, why can not sebi and amfi educate the normal public about mutual fund and fine those distributor who are cross selling and who work for commission, i wish the authority insted of increasing expenses ratio i will recommend to increase exit load till 5years. Who says we dont have an leader, but to follow the leader you have to give time, i believe anna hazare is one of them, lokpal is just one bill like RTI which helped many, this is just the start. But we all should be a part.

Like (1)

Anupam Garg

Jul 14, 2012

duh...i thought the india against corruption movement had ended in a dismal defeat

Like (1)

Om Prakash Sharma

Jul 13, 2012

India needed a Gandhi to rise against the British rule. Most Indians co-operated with him when they saw sincerety of the purpose in him.India needed a Chankya to rise against corrupt and divided rulers and to fight unitedly against Alexander. Do we have any such leader today? I will be happy to follow him. And I had bribed in very extreme compulsions and that too for getting my dues and not favour.You can not put every one in the category of corruptible.

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