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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hierarchial preserves

It is foolish to believe that the higher the rank, the greater is the knowledge and/or wisdom. In real life however, knowledge or wisdom is not a hierarchial preserve but an individual trait. The higher one climbs on a tree, the farther can one look or in other words, greater is the vision. Similarly in bureaucratic environments, the higher the rank, the better should be the vision, though this is not always the case and often one finds absence of vision generally in the upper crust of the bureaucracy.

And this widespread lack of vision and undue belief in the knowledge and wisdom of self in the upper crust of those who govern is a major reason why our nation continues to be almost at the bottom of the list of nations.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The looking glass

Look in before you look out.

It is sad that the sarkari sector in general fails to look in before it looks out. Our attempts at changing the external scenario generally come to a naught because we do not, as a first step attempt to set right our own internal environment. The situation is ridiculous to the extent of trying to win a car race using a car that has a worn out engine, low tyre pressure and a bad suspension. The obvious solution lies in first setting right the car before taking on the world.

But we miserably fail at setting right the internal scenario before handling the external one. And the tragedy is that we fail not because of halfhearted or inefficient steps, but because we do not take any steps whatsoever.

How can worn out decision making processes, archaic rules and procedures and a dilapidated human resources structure take an organization anywhere, except down the hill? Is it not a pity that the majority of the Indian bureaucrats, especially the ones occupying the high chairs fail to appreciate even this basic ground reality and waste their as well as that of everyone else in their attempts to flog the system to achieve marginal results.

When shall we wake up and set our own internal machinery right before attempting to change the world?

Deliverance matters

The Bihar election results have taken the nation by storm, despite being along predictable lines. They have however also taken the nation by surprise, due to the sheer number of seats that the ruling dispensation has won, primarily because it delivered what the people wanted. A mandate for deliverance is what it is all about.

Such results generate hope even amongst hardcore skeptics that all is not lost yet. That the countrymen can appreciate and recognize deliverance, even in the state of Bihar where caste equations have so far played a major role in propelling people to power is a major cause of satisfaction for all those who have a burning desire to deliver. The results have further reinforced my belief in the theory that it is always one individual who leads an organization, a state or even a nation to glory, a group of people can only create chaos.

It would make sense for the nation to view these results as a desperate cry of the countrymen in general for a better quality of life that only improvements in the fields of infrastructure, law and order and economic development can give. It would be a pity if these results are viewed on narrow party lines, as it is immaterial which party occupies the chair as long as the country moves forward.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lurking Fear

Generally fear lurks perpetually in the minds of sarkari officers, irrespective of their caste (service), creed (rank) or religion (place). The fear stems from their inability to truly serve, as was expected from them and as also accepted by them at the time of joining the service. The place of posting as well as advancement in rank was not meant to be guaranteed, yet an officer forever lives, works and manipulates in the expectation of a place of posting of his choice and unhindered advancement in ranks till he reaches what is generally understood as the pinnacle of his career. The higher one goes, the more fearful he is. Lick the boots of those above and boot out those below continues to be the motto of such cowards.

And so he compromises, yet always maintains a justification for all his acts of omission and commission to the extent that even blatant acts of dishonesty are justified by him and attributed to his “genuine” need of a desired place of posting and/or regular promotions.

Such officers, whatever may be the justification that they give, are serving only themselves and not the organization or the nation that unfortunately they would cheat at the drop of their hat, for personal gratification and yet profess to be honest. Such turncoat tribe of sarkari mulazims, I would say are more damaging for the system than the ones who are blatantly dishonest and have no pretensions of honesty whatsoever.

Whether one wants to lead a life of a tiger or a jackal is a call that one has to consciously make, with full knowledge of the established fact that there are no free lunches whatsoever in life and a price would have to be paid either way.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Misplaced loyalties

It is not only the scams in general and professional corruption at large that is irritating to the citizen, it is the petty corruption of the pettiest kind indulged into by the well-off category of bureaucrats that is difficult to really appreciate. Why should joint secretary level officers expect free rations, toiletries, gas supplies and even a free truck ride for their belongings whenever they shift on transfer. And these are not stray cases but almost a regular phenomenon.

Such incidences that I learn about almost on a regular basis lead me to three basic thoughts. The first is that greed of a person is not directly proportional to his poverty. In fact the opposite is more likely to be true and a person way below on the economic front is generally less greedy that the well-off kind. The second is that sarkari officers in general are loath to spend money on things that in their opinion they can fleece from the system. And the third and the most pertinent is the loyalty angle. Sarkari mulazims who permit or even turn a blind eye to such loot, are proving to be more loyal to individuals, not to the organization that pays them salary for their daily bread. And this brings us to the fundamental question - to whom a Sarkari mulazim is supposed to be loyal to? To a superior in the hierarchy who can favor the mulazim for petty personal gains, or to the organization and the nation. Despite what the majority feels or does, it has to be the organization and the nation. This is a call that all bureaucrats have to take, though I am convinced that hardly anyone shall. After all, loyalty to the organization and systemic loot cannot co-exist.

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Adarsh" conduct

The fact that corruption has permeated the entire fabric of the society cannot be denied even by the extremely corrupt elements amongst us. But considering the fact that there is some honor even amongst thieves, the adarsh society scam has set new benchmarks in how deep our bureaucrats, politicians and even men in uniform can dive. Manipulating sea facing flats built in the name of Kargil heroes is perhaps the ultimate in the moral degradation of the society.

CWG 2010 was unique in that it set new benchmarks in the levels of corruption in our society. The “Adarsh” scam is unique in that it has shown how unethical and manipulative are even those who are supposed to guard the bureaucratic systems and also our frontiers. The “Adarsh” scam has overshadowed the CWG scam and has even pushed it out of media. Another recent scam has nudged the “Adarsh” from the media and soon something else will take over the media space.

Public memory being short and the new scams surfacing with almost amazing regularity, the perpetrators are likely to be soon forgotten and also get out of the net only to enjoy their “billions” in peace.

Long live the nation.