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Monday, September 17, 2012

Conformance galore!

Conformists rule the roost in all mediocre organizations and railways is no exception. An organization that remains devoid of even extremely faint traces of leadership invariably provides an ideal ground for the conformists to take deep roots.

In conformance lies anonymity and in anonymity lies a mediocre survival, a survival that provides not   satisfaction but ample opportunities for self aggrandizement.

I recently realized that it is only since my return to the railways that a liberal usage of the term “self aggrandizement” has been finding way in all my writings. Yes it is indeed true that one starts appreciating this term more in railways than anywhere else and perhaps I also would not have appreciated the same had I not spent a considerable time outside the organization.

For where else one would find, almost the entire fleet of babudom, with limited exceptions, merely living for themselves, without any concern for the organization, staff or the clients.  Which other organization provides its top level officers, opportunities to ridicule, punish, loot and exploit on a platter. And this exploitation is amply witnessed in misuse of railway staff at home, ridiculous protocols, almost ordering gifts from subordinates and yearly renovations of toilets and hanging curtains almost worth a nano whenever the incumbent changes. The brass is above rules and procedures and the brass cares only for itself is what the rank and file has learnt by experience.

The lack of vision and direction and absolute unconcern for men and land has also apparently emerged as a mandatory criterion for all those who are poised to move up in the conventional sense in this organization that had a "great" affixed to its name till very recently. 

Treading a different line requires courage and the brass neck deep in acts of self aggrandizement is obviously found lacking and therefore prefers to tread the oft beaten track.  The acts of the brass are adoringly emulated by those below thus perpetuating the rule of the conformists.

The most visible aspect of the conformist is his almost violent inability in being able to listen to a point of view that is not in conformity to his way of thinking. And therefore one witnesses either a heated or a subdued environment in almost all discussion forums at almost all levels. And that leads me to wonder as to the type of organization are we rearing for the future generations.

I am not sure whether my time shall come or not, but if and when that comes, either the organization shall change or I would  get the boot in the first few days itself. But I would definitely avoid like plague  the path that all my predecessors had tread upon.

Insha Alllah!


  1. Sure Sir, your time will always come in Rail Bhavan. This great organisation of IR will continue in same ways in year 2053 as well as in year 2153 also. Only, existing customers of IR will switch over to road or airways!

    Long live IR and its railwaymen.

  2. Conformity confirms slavery of convention. It is infact a gift of our very own cultural carriage. It infuses the element of fear factor in the minds of those having ability to think. To think differently, though gifted, is indeed a capacity we all have to create however, we, those who aren't able to open the windows of mind conform to the standard of conformity.

    Great people, those having the ability to think differently, have one thing in common, they have all been non-conformists.

    We lost one such visionary in Kurien. What have we not? When no milk then so much milk, when no food there is so much of food.... what not. But, unfortunately, When so much of conformity can't we accept non-conformity atleast as a idea to experiment.

    IR, it seems, has become true inheritor rather follower of our cultural carriage, has closed all it's windows like we find in it's majestic bhawan.

    The level and extent of insulation of minds is also reflected in the reactions of conformists to the non-conformists.

    The crux differentiates men from boys. It's upto those in the knowhow to decide whom to be led by, boys or men.

    pl. comment.

    1. I agree with you. I often say that the only good thing about the Board is the majestic rail bhawan.

      Yes, we are going downhill rapidly, only because we are not moving forward. It is all because of the inability of the organization in propping up right people in leadership positions.

      As a manager, the only thing that we can do is to be aware of ground level realities by literally walking frequently on the ground, knowing the pulse of the men and then not behaving in the fashion that we abhorred in our seniors. Expecting others to behave in a way we want them to is an exercise in futility.

      Boys don't lead, they only fumble. It is an adult who has to lead. But the definition of an adult is not 21+, but one who takes full responsibility for all his words and deeds, especially when things go wrong.