Powered By Blogger

Popular Posts

Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

When mediocrity rules the roost in governance!

During the course of my walk this pleasant morning, while crossing the newly renovated swimming pool in the officers colony at sardar patel marg I noticed a shining stainless steel plate adorning the names of a few officials who it was obvious were the leading lights of the ceremony held recently to finally permit the hoi polloi to dive in the waters. With the senior-most bloke actually doing the honors, three other officials by their dignified presence added to the grace of the sombre occasion; something to this effect is what the plate said.

This happens all the time. Even the fitment of a new commode is accompanied by an inaugural ceremony replete with an inaugural plate or a stone that mentions the names of all those who were there at the time the facility was either incepted or commissioned.

Often the matter written on the plate leads me to deep introspection about the roles that different players would have enacted on such solemn occasions. While the bloke occupying the top chair invariably would have cut the ribbon or pulled the curtain and also proudly broke the coconut and in the process had his name inscribed for posterity as the chief guest, the role of the blokes junior to the top guy is often not very clear. Invariably the plate makes a mention of the 2IC as having a “garimamayi upasthiti” or a dignified presence on the occasion. This leads me to wonder whether the presence of all others, with the exception of the top bloke and the 2IC was of an undignified nature and if so, how does the dignified guy distinguish himself from the undignified crowd, who generally are of similar elk as those mentioned on the plate. The last category on the plate is officials who were merely present unlike many others who were present but not fortunate enough to have their names cast in stone.

Have we indeed become a nation of ceremonies? True it is yet what right do mere officials have to get their names cast in stone for posterity? Are these attempts at attaining immortality by mortals in paid service of the society worthy of a pardon?

And so during all my assignments, one of the first tasks on hand is to purge all the foundation and inaugural plates from my territory. Often this work is carried out under cover of darkness as the persons named on the plate exist powerfully enough to have this exercise suspended and the perpetrator ostracized.

Quite often the official seeking immortality really ventures too far as noticed during my sojourns to Simla. Heritage structures built in the late nineteenth century have been adorned by ghastly plaques that mention, not the name of the engineer who built the structure but the names of officials who were in power when they decided to have the plaque installed to commemorate the heritage value of the structures. The large number of such plaques invariably adorning every single heritage structure and other places of importance made me wonder whether after a considerable lapse of time, these very officials would be regarded as the ones who actually built the structures.

While such attempts to usurp credit and come in the public eye even for historical works is definitely condemnable, what is really sad is the penchant to have names cast in stone even for works of a mundane nature that should have been done as a matter of routine. Do we really require a toilet, a gymnasium, a swimming pool or even a garden to name only a few representative categories to be incepted or inaugurated with the names of the senior blokes cast in stone. Despite the deeply entrenched practice, such attempts cannot be justified even by extremely far-fetched explanations.

Yes for the sake of historical records, we may sometimes need commemoration ceremonies for building a new bridge or laying a new railway line or for creating a new city or even a new stadium or say a metro system, but not for building loo’s or putting new taps or commodes. Unfortunately the lack of real achievements is propelling some elements of the society to take credit and basking in self-created glory for run of the mill activities. Definitely it is the surest sign of mediocrity ruling the roost in governance. 

No comments:

Post a Comment