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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Forever busy

When shall we stop remaining busy and start delivering?

Well we the bureaucrats of India whom a british playwriter once described as a bunch of bumbling nincompoops shall forever remain busy satisfying the unsatiable, the system of non deliverance.

When shall we become mature enough to realize that remaining busy is not enough and that this scenario places us in a make believe world where we imagine that the country, state, organization of our dreams will fructify with our highly misplaced efforts.

It is true that India has potential. Unfortunately all of us have a notion that having potential is a good state of affairs to be in, wheras the truth is just the opposite. Having unlimited potential in every single sector, as is the case in our motherland goes to prove that we have been a sheer failure in our efforts. Decimating potential, and not accumulating it is the key to happiness and success.

The remaining busy syndrome has been taken so far by the bureaucracy of India that we almost everyday and on every occasion grumble about the heavy work on our shoulders and at the same time judge others by how busy they are. We are so bloody busy that we dont even have time to improve the system, or to place our objectives and the goals in the correct viewing frame. And therefore in our over-drive to create unproductive work, we are everyday devising new policies, procedures and rules, while at the same time remaining totally unconcerned about delivery. What an ingenious way of working, it is only indian bureaucrats who are capable of such a devious approach.

And why not. We have emerged as an end unto ourselves. Our concerns do not extend beyond our small worlds that comprise of our own near and dear ones. Even others in the organization can go to hell, and the common man does not figure even in the farthest of our dreams.

How the hell can this country even dream of finding a place in the top 100 nations of the world when the drivers, and we certainly are one of them, do not even know the way, have eyes but no vision, have no innner motivation to drive unless cajoled, greased or bambooed, and lastly who would sell the car at the earliest possible opportunity.

But we are happy and content, just remaining busy.

Disease or symptom

The rot is total. Be it the bureaucrats or the politicians, almost all at the helm of affairs are contributing their wee bit in concretizing the rot, by putting one more nail in the coffin.

A few months back, I remember I was invited to attend a meeting on building world class infrastructure. I experienced a sense of revulsion on hearing the subject. When we are a total and proven failure in even literal sweeping of the muck and dirt, we do not have a right to even debate such issues. When we are aware of the rampant corruption in "State" bodies and often are a party to it, actively or passively, we do not have a right to indulge in sheer rhetoric. But rhetoric helps, in creating a momentary euphoria, euphoria created without an iota of deliverance and that is the beauty of it.

It was only a week back when the Bhopal Management Association invited me to deliver a talk on building India of our dreams.Yes it is true that we shall forever remain dreaming about building India, for we lack the basic competence required to deliver. We as a system and also as individuals lack the guts to decide. Deliberate - Yes, Procastrinate - Yes, Decide - No is our motto.

Some may argue that even developed countries have corruption and corruption is not the IPR/USP of India. Well justifying corruption even if it is justifiable, is an act of dishonesty towards oneself and the nation. Anyway it is only our motherland where every single interaction of its inhabitants with the governmental system, except for the super wealthy and the powerful kind is laced with greasing of palms. And the system of corruption is so strong, that the corrupt does not even spare persons of his own ilk, persons who are part of the sarkari tantra like him. Well this is what I call the pinnacle of corruption and that is what I witnessed after reaching Delhi.

Yet I am convinced that corruption is only a symptom, of a deep rooted malaise called "Lack of Leadership" displayed in abundance by all those who matter in the matter of running the governmental machinery in the nation.

And we talk about building an India of our dreams. What bullshit.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

can u feel the pain?

Can you feel the pain of others? Can you feel the pain of your men who feel they have been wronged? If the answer is Yes, then you qualify to be a real human being. If No then whatever you may say, you are just not concerned about the human beings around you and therefore have no right to expect concern from others. I feel sick of the duplicity of people, especially of the sarkari kind who profess concern for their men and also the masses, but do not feel or even appreciate the pain of others.

Yes, feeling the pain of others complicates the life but also makes the life worth living for and worth dying for. After all what is life, a transient extravaganza, a momentary period of existance in this never ending cycle of time. It is definitely not worth living for ones own self.

When my wife feels the pain of her servants, it makes me proud of her. When I feel the pain of the staff working under me, my life acquires a new meaning. The mere feeling that other human beings and myself are part of that greater power, makes me one with the universe. Life then acquires a new meaning, a meaning that is worthwhile, to live for or to die for.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mistrust is the key

I am now convinced that mistrust, of the system and the individuals making up the system is the key to the total mess up and chaos we witness in organizations in India, cutting across sectors. And we are using that key rather more too often.
It is unfortunate that even the class one officers of the country are gripped by this malaise. The senior one becomes, the more he is likely to mistrust his subordinates, conveniently forgetting that once he was also a junior and that the only thing that seniority in service begets is neither knowledge nor experience, but vision. The higher one climbs a pole, the farther he can see and the same holds good even for sarkari services.
Why the hell dont people accept that only complete trust in the system and more importantly the individuals making it up is the best way to make a beginning in this otherwise hopeless situation. And therefore everyone pads up figures and even situations knowing fully well that as he will not be trusted, he will atleast get what he wants, even if the untrusting superior imposes a hefty cut. A chicken and egg situation results.
All my successes, and there have been many, have been the result of this trust in individuals that I fiercely posess and also cherish.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Omnipresent corruption

Things have now come to such a pass in the country that even the corrupt believes that he is being harrassed and persecuted by corrupt government functionaries. The saddest part is that the honest people who are in power and can really do something have also started accepting corruption as a normal way of life.
The governments of today, the majority of them with rare exceptions of course have started resembling a giant mall where every service is on sale. It is actually impossible for anyone, even the minor government functionaries to be able to get anything done from the sytem without the customary greasing of palms.
The recent incident that brought a lot of shame to the fantastic state of Madhya Pradesh is perhaps a small window in the reality of today. A reality that is ugly, and that is why is kept under wraps. A reality that is responsible for keeping the nation backward and poor. But why such incidents do not result in a widespread anger and anguish against the system is what bothers me truly.
The high level of acceptance of, rather than corruption per se is the real cause of concern!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Action or Inaction?

"If you do not take any action, no action can be taken against you"

Someone told me this line yesterday and said that it solidly applies to the Indian bureaucrats, who follow it in letter and spirit. Despite being a bureaucrat I agreed totally.

After all, the dilapidated infrastructure of the coutry, the universal unhappiness, the painful corruption levels and many other malaises are the fruit of this belief.

GOD help us!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Does size (of states) matter?

I definitely do not think so. How can small states help when we already have small states that have been unable to help themselves. After all efficiency is definitely not dependant on size. It depends on the efficacy of governance or administration. Why the hell we do not realize that the fundamental problem with the sarkari machinery in the country is the almost defunct decision making processes and a complex contractual mechanism. Unless these twin issues are resolved, let us not expect deliverance, whether small states or big states.

Look at what happenned with railways. Going from 9 to 16 zones has not helped either. On the contrary dissatisfaction levels in the staff have shot up exponentially. After all deliverance cannot be expected from a disgruntled HR.

But definitely there is a positive side. More slots for babu's to fill leading to better promotional avenues and also more posts of ministers and chief ministers. There are gains, but definitely not for the masses.