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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Addressing railway officers

Yesterday I addressed railway officers at railway staff college vadodara. The lecture was a part of a series which they call "Achievers series" and the eminent speakers before me had been Mallika Sarabhai and Sredharan. I therefore considered it quite an honor to be on the same platform as these two eminent personalities, even if only for the limited purpose of giving a lecture.
Addressing railway officers or for that matter officers from the organized services is difficult. Difficult because these officers are generally skeptical about delivery as opposed to officers from the private sector or students. This group had officers of a varied seniority and I therefore was slightly wary before my lecture.
The lecture went off smoothly. I spoke from the heart, as always and the response of the participants was also better than expected. The session ended on a happy note with a group of charged up officers wanting to share their experiences, their moments of glory with me after the event. This is how an ideal lecture session should end. It made me happy and contented.
There was only one disturbing trend when one of the participants questioned as to why railway officers like Sridharan (self included) are able to achieve eminence only when working outside the railway system. What he said was generally true, primarily because railways being a closed organization does not offer the same platform for recognition that organizations like the Delhi metro or ITDC are able to provide. It is quite possible that Sridharan would have been a super outstanding officer in Railways, whose super eminence never got a chance to be displayed adequately because of the limited territory that railways offer and the closed nature of the organization. By the way, the gentleman who raised the issue also did not consider a national award, a guinness record and a limca record worthy of being considered as proofs of sufficient achievements while working in the railways. This brings us to the basic human failing of not recognizing achievements of others just because one has a poor opinion of his own self.
Not getting avenues to achieve is a common crib of officers, particularly railway officers. I have never witnessed IAS officers cribbing. Perhaps the cribbing kind are not able to differentiate between success and achievement. Success is when one recognizes his own efforts, achievement is when others recognize it. Being successful is therefore in one's own hands, achievement is not. Perhaps most of the officers value recognition by others more than by their own inner selves.
How sad but true!

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