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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Procedures override deliverance

I often wonder, where did we go wrong in the last sixty odd years. Why despite a stable democratic system inherited after centuries of foreign rule and oppression, Bharatvarsh did not really take off? Why, on the economic front we are still at the bottom of the list of nations. Why even basic infrastructure like decent roads and highways were non-existent till now, and it required a major resolve to start building them at a pace unimaginable, only a couple of years earlier. How is it that every Bharatvasi who leaves our shores becomes a success story, despite being an abysmal failure in his own motherland? Why, Why, Why, Why and Why. These Why’s, I think will haunt me to my grave.

Yes we all have to start questioning and start asking why? Isn’t it ridiculous that in the system we live in, a procedure or a rule or a policy is easily and almost always allowed to take overriding priority over deliverance? Isn’t it equally ridiculous that the same system lays such a strong premium on non-deliverance that at times the achievers stand the risk of being victimized. And in the process, deliverance suffers and has suffered in the first fifty years of the existence of a free Bharatvarsh.

Why is it so important for a sarkari mulazim to follow rules and procedures without any concern whatsoever about deliverance and output. It is important because in our system there is no demand for and therefore no premium on deliverance. In my twenty nine years of career, I can count on my fingertips, occasions when deliverance of a very basic nature, in the form of acts to be done, not results to be achieved has been asked of me. Career progression nowadays is not based on performance, but on other factors like sycophancy, spinelessness, sweet talk, boss handling, and other similar qualities. Strange, one even thinks about deliverance in such a system!


My fit of anger is always followed by a bout of regret. Anger definitely blinds. It has blinded me on so many occasions. And then it does not matter whether the person at the receiving end is my beloved wife or my best subordinate. The trigger is never the same. It changes from time to time, from venue to venue and from occasion to occasion. Constant however has been the inconsequential nature of the trigger, when viewed in hindsight. Another constant has been the deep sense of remorse after the event, when I invariably tend to make amends, knowing fully well that the situation or the relation shall never be the same again. The damage remains and also the remorse. Who gains, one wonders, till the bout of anger resurfaces again.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Nation loses a statesman

YSR Reddy passed away yesterday morning in a helicopter crash. The news came in today at around noon. The state of Andhra Pradesh is in mourning. The nation is in morning and the political class cutting across party lines are also in mourning.

YSR Reddy had been an ideal chief minister. He can be defined in only one word "Genuine". He had a genuine concern for the development as well as for the people of the state. His loss is one of the severest that this nation has suferred in the last decade.

YSR, Shivraj and Naveen belong to that select group of chief ministers in this country who are genuinely loved by the masses. An absolutely clean image and genuine love for the state and its people is what sets apart this breed of chief ministers from the rest of the crowd. This love for the state propels them to be development oriented, that too with a vengeance.

YSR shall be missed for long. He will be missed by people who do not even belong to his state, by peple who have never met him in the past, people totally unconnected with him or the political environment. And this is his true legacy. God bless his soul.

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!