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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Love not Pride

Being an Indian, I love India but do not take pride in it.
Being a railwayman, I love Indian Railways but do not take pride in it.
How can I take pride in my country, that is interlaced with poverty and rampant corruption. A country that even after 60 years of independance has failed to provide even the most basic necessities to its citizens. A country that ranks high on the corruption index but very low on the human development index. A country that is almost at the bottom of the list of nations and perhaps ranks marginally above its even more lowly placed neighbors.
How can I take pride in my railways that has sacrificed deliverance for rules and procedures. Rules and procedures that do not facilitate, but obstruct deliverance. A railway that is least concerned with HR, a system that makes any development a monumental task, a set of officers who have and apply only negative powers, whose focus is only self gratification, not welfare of the men at large.
Love yes but pride no. Love is there for anything that is close to the heart. Pride can only be for excellence, not for rot, howsoever close to the heart it may be.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Touch the softer side

The routine keeps all of us busy, or we expand the routine so as to keep us perfectly occupied most of the time, I am not sure. Still I am of the opinion and opinions may be wrong that the latter is true. After all indulging in the routine is the easiest thing to do. The routine happens on its own, has its own set mechanisms and consumes a lot of time. These are its USP's, though not exactly its strong points.

We all have to get out of the routine, though not totally. On the other hand, the routine also has to be disposed off, as otherwise it has a tendency to pile up. The solution lies in enhancing the efficiency of operations.

And what does one do after getting out of the routine. Touch the softer side, touch the human side, sides that have not been touched ever. It is strange that though all of us desire that the system, organization and the boss should care for us, we do not ever reciprocate this sentiment when it comes to our juniors.

Rank injustice, rampant corruption, filthy environment, sexual harassment at its peak and cases of drinking in official territory is what one finds on touching the softer side. Rather than diseases, these are symptoms of a management that does not manage, that is more concerned with the routine rather than going deeper into the system. And one would find this situation everywhere, cutting across ministries, state boundaries, sectors and hierarchies. The only commonality is that this all happens in the sarkari sector profusely.

Can it be set right? Yes only if one is prepared to walk the extra mile and also ask for it.

Do we bureaucrats have the desire, will, capability or the inclination to do it? Capability yes, but all others No.

It makes me sad. Yet I have decided not to lose hope.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

3 idiots

Watched 3 idiots today. A wonderful movie that teaches one how to live life. That success is not merely money or position is the essence of the film. True success is all about satisfaction that one derives by responding to one's own calling.
Suddenly the artificial world that we live in starts acquiring a artificial hue. That the conventional thought process is all wrong is the feeling that starts surfacing. The need to be a genuine human being, one who is frank and truthful, despite the temporary setbacks that one may go through, appears to be the ideal path to attain true satisfaction and bliss.
Strive for excellence and success shall follow.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Environment blues

Environment helps, it definitely acts as a catalyst in either a positive way or negative and that too fast. My new office that earlier boasted of one of the worst environments ever possible, is changing for the better. I can feel positive vibes, a positive energy that is slowly finding its way in the nooks and corners of this office, the nerve center of operations for trains in the capital area.
My belief in the power of environment took root in the early 80's when I observed a Calcuttan changing his colors immediately on descending the stairs of the newly constructed metro. The same guy who spitted and also litterred the town center known as Chowringhee, developed a sense of pride within the metro premises, a pride so fierce that it generated a feeling of protection for the metro system. Similar incidents, repeated many times over in subsequent years strengthened my belief in the positive effects of environment.
Most of us from the sarkari sector remain oblivious to this effect for want of first hand experience. And when they experience it, their life changes. But I find it sad that even the so called leaders occupying top managerial positions show no concern for either the environment or the HR. Their concern as always remains their own self, that prevents them for attaining true bliss.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The great indian railways

My belief that the core issue with the railways is the multiplicity of its organized services gets reinforced every day. This so called loyalty to the service, not the organization helps neither the service, nor the organization. It is however sad that this realization does not dawn on even the top echelons of the organization.
Many expert committees have in the past recommended the setting up of an "Indian Railway Service", but it is rather unfortunate, for the railways as well as the nation that this advice has not been heeded to.
I shudder to think what would have been the fate of the nation if the IAS and the national/state bureaucracies were also divided on the lines of the railways.
Railways is still a great organization, great because of its sheer size and number of employees. That way even India is great. True greatness would however come only if there is genuine concern for the HR, but that seems utopia at present. Departmental concerns override everything else, be it HR, concern for its clients or future growth.
When shall we start treading a different path that will make the railways truly great. I live on hope.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fake concerns

I often wonder whether the concerns on various matters expressed by the people in service of the government are true or false.
And my experience of over 30 years tells me that accepting such concerns at their face value is fraught with danger.
This is primarily because of the "Dr Jeykall & Mr Hyde" type of persona that most of us bureaucrats acquire during our stint in the so called service of the nation.
People who do not mean what they say and do not say what they mean are in command almost everywhere and that is the real problem of India. People whose only concern is "self" and who would go to any length to satiate their personal ambitions and desires cannot be and will also never be of any use to the nation.
I find the situation "unfortunate" to say the least.
Is there any salvation?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The true path is different

I firmly believe that our way of doing things is definitely the wrong way, be it any sector, state or organization in the sarkari sector. Otherwise how does one justify our "bottom of the heap" ranking amongst the nations of the world.
If our way was the right one, our country would have been in the top fifty, but at present that seems like utopia.
Why the hell, this simple thought does not come to the majority of us, the top shot nincompoops of the nation? And why the hell it should come, because we are forever busy satisfying the unsatiable, the proven system and mechanism of non deliverance.
All my visits overseas have reinforced this belief of mine, that what we are doing is wrong and the way we are attempting it is even more wrong. But it is always easy to tread the oft beaten path and therefore we are where we are. Reckless chaos is what I would term the sarkari way of working in our country, but it keeps us terribly busy and satisfied. After all diferentiation between delivery and remaining busy is what we have been unable to learn even after spending a lifetime in service of the self, not of the people.
Overworked but underutilized as opposed to underworked but overutilized is the scenario in which I find myself and my colleagues in, almost all of the time.
When shall we change things physically on the ground?