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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Misplaced Loyalties!

I often wonder why the sarkari kind of people are generally not loyal to the organization they work for? Why other considerations almost always take priority over loyalty to the organization that provides sustenance to the employee and his family?

Sacrificing organizational interests at the drop of a hat is what we all tend to do almost always. And there is always sufficient justification to indulge in the same.

Loyalty to the organization does not imply merely sticking to the rules and procedures. In essence it means making a positive contribution to the organization that pays for ones daily bread. It is tragic that most of us who make a living out of the organization pay no heed to its welfare. The concern of the bureaucrats, especially the senior railway bureaucrats confines itself to the welfare of the self.

Loyalty to the organization should always take overriding priority over everything else. It is sad that loyalty to the "boss in the chair" has emerged as the focal point in the lives of most of us railway officers. And this loyalty is also temporary. The boss remains relevant only as long as he occupies a vantage chair and so is the loyalty of his subordinates to him. Loyalties switch on the day of retirement.

The crop and the culture that we are breeding sickens me!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Unrealistic expectations!

The issue of corruption is now center stage. The Hazare and Ramdev movements are based on the understanding that politicians are corrupt and therefore a strong mechanism is needed to checkmate them. This has led to the ongoing long drawn out and heated debates and discussions on the proposed lokpal bill.

Inadequate appreciation of the issue of corruption has caused the above scenario.

Corruption has two faces, financial and professional. Due to lack of understanding of the the professional kind, financial corruption alone is generally considered synonymous with corruption per-se in the nation. The genesis of financial corruption lies in the rapidly depleting standards of national character, and its root cause lies in the complexity of the sarkari system that we have adapted to ru(i)n the nation. Too many thumb impressions for even petty decisions have diluted the concept of responsibility while at the same time giving adequate cover and shield to the corrupt. Enabling corruption has therefore emerged as the strong point of our existing system.

Professional corruption on the other hand is as damaging as its financial counterpart, maybe even more, primarily because of its extremely high ripple effect and its being freely practiced by almost the entire bureaucracy. The higher the pedestal occupied by the bloke, the higher is the damage he causes through his blatant acts of professional corruption, the most common of which is the art of "not taking decisions". And therefore the file, the sarkari tool for taking and communicating decisions keeps on shuttling up and down, right and left, backward and forward and in the process keeps on bloating like a pig.

Identifying the politician as the major culprit in the popular game of corruption is perhaps the biggest mistake almost all of us make. While the politicians are no doubt generally corrupt, the bureaucracy invariably takes the cake in this field with the lower rung generally specializing in financial and the upper crust in professional corruption. Service, only of the self, family and friends has emerged as the motto of the bureaucracy, cutting across sectors and states. Besides why deliver, when no one asks for it. Keep on coasting along, purposelessly and handle files as one would a ping pong ball or a shuttle cock and in the process keep on rising to the top, like muck in stagnant water.

Movements such as those witnessed in recent times are no doubt piloted by men with good intentions, but unfortunately these good men have very little idea of the manner in which the wheels of governance move in this nation. And therefore it is imperative that before another watchdog institution is created, the contribution made by the CVC and the Lokayukta needs objective assessment. The creation of a Lokpal, without cleansing the tantra would tantamount to creating one more checkpoint, one more roadblock that would further slowdown the snail paced system of governance that we have in our nation.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The crusade of the crusaders

The current scenario in the country makes one sad. After all what is the fault of Baba Ramdeo that has made him undergo an experience so painful. First being pampered and then being kicked, by the establishment, just because he stood up for truth, and also commands a very strong fan following. If it was just truth, none would have bothered, but what created fear is the following. What appears from the media reports is that he has been hurt mentally, more than physically. Anna Hazare, another crusader also has to often face what one can term as, disrespect to a pure soul, and that is because he comes out as a genuine crusader for probity in public life who has also acquired a larger than life image in the nation.

The crusade to cleanse the society of its ills is a tough call that cannot be fully appreciated by most of us, even armchair crusaders like me. That a crusader would have to face ignominy and his life shall be tough, sometimes even to the point of extinction is almost guaranteed and yet he crusades. A trial by fire is what all crusaders have to face and that is the real truth of their lives. And that is why crusaders like Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdeo are rare commodities. Perhaps if one searches around with a magnifying glass, not more than one crusader from amongst a millian Indians would be found.

Yet, these crusaders give us hope, a hope that all is not yet lost and the nation can still be redeemed. A hope that in this nation of people with jelly like spine who are prepared to accept gross injustice at the hands of a few, there are still a few men who have the courage to stand up, even to the might of the empire, for the cause of what all of us secretly desire in our hearts, evolution of a just and equitable society.

And that is reason enough to live and rejoice!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Change of Guard!

Change of guard leads to interesting times. When the guard changes, the men who directly or indirectly report to the guard also change and on full display in those times is the frail character of men. Salute the rising sun and kick the setting sun is always the motto of "common" men, who thrive in the sarkari tantra.

The setting "sun" unwillingly, after many failed attempts at continuing his reign slowly descends from the sky and starts assuming human proportions and form, a radical contrast from his once divine apparition. Gone is the arrogance and the common tendency to dispense, not favors but what he once considered the fountain of knowledge. Slowly and steadily, as the D-Day approaches, his general tendency to demean those who were under him and lick the butts of those above, starts reversing. The memory that once failed him when the sun was at its zenith, slowly starts returning and the common man who stood forgotten starts getting recognized.

The rising sun on the contrary is on a different high and starts assuming godly proportions and form. Suddenly the words that he utters are lapped up by all those who flock around him. Whatever is left of his spine after so many years of service to the nation (bullshit) starts assuming a new form, that of jelly in front of his political masters and iron in front of his subjects. The subjects too have by then switched their loyalties and are always more than keen to display their appreciation of whatever the new rising sun says or does, while at the same time demeaning all those who occupied the chair before him. For petty personal gains, they are more than eager to pay obeisance in whatever form is called for, to their new master. "Soul" is sold for a pittance.

The game continues. The rising sun becomes the setting sun and a new rising sun takes over. The organization and the country remains where it was.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Failed fast!

Baba Ramdeo is almost back where he came from, Haridwar. In a midnight swoop, the great show that he orchestrated was brought to a naught and the Baba escorted back to his karma bhoomi. If nothing else, this incident definitely displays the might of the Government of India, and also, considering the reception that the Baba got on his arrival at Delhi airport, the chamaleon nature of the politicians of this great nation.

Passing a value judgement on the incident may not be a very great idea, for the judgement can go either way, considering which side one is on. The plans of Baba were also not very pious, as they could have easily disrupted, the tranquility of this very sensitive city of ours, the city of Delhi. Post the initial euphoria, the citizens of Delhi would definitely have preferred to live without the troubles that a huge congregation right in the heart of the city can cause. To that extent, this action appears in the national interest.

Can such a congregation as had been planned, make a difference to the most talked about issue of the decade, the issue of corruption in high places? Doubtful, unless one was looking at a revolution on the lines of what happened recently in a few countries and what was attempted a few decades back at Tianamen. A revolution; why not, but is the nation capable of the same. So deep is the interlacing of corruption in our society that the critical mass of citizens essentially required for a revolution would never be available. Besides revolutions are almost always against one individual, and here in India, it would need to be against the social fabric itself, by the very society that has created the fabric in the first place. How ironic and therefore utterly impossible!

And therefore do we have to live in(and with)the corrupt society forever? How can the present state of affairs come to an end? Definitely a change of the party at the center would hardly make any difference at all, considering that the entire political milieu is almost of the same type and there is nothing much to choose from. Then what?

The answer lies in the simple issue of leadership. Perhaps someday, some leader may emerge who shall pull the nation out of the abyss it finds itself in. Another line that may have a fair chance of success is the framing and implementation of quickly implementable draconian laws against corruption. A swift punishment of the kinds as witnessed in the middle eastern countries for those who indulge in corrupt practices, would definitely deter even the hard core corrupt. Death by hanging, or amputation of a limb and that too withing a few days/weeks of the incident may perhaps create sufficient deterrence for the corrupt. Holidaying for a few weeks/months in the confines of the holy Tihar definitely disheartens some, yet would never prove to be enough deterrence for those who make their billions through corrupt practices.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The unforgettables - Corruption!

It is about corruption all over the newspapers, every day. After Anna Hazare, it is Baba Ramdeo who has jumped on the bandwagon. The Prime Minister also everyday displays his steely resolve to stamp out corruption. The march to the abode of the thieves, the Tihar jail, has also started in right earnest, though it is yet to pick up speed. The concern is whether one Tihar shall be adequate for the fleet of corrupt men(and women) in high places that this nation can flaunt? All good intentions no doubt but shall these measures really help?

Not much really! All these measures including the oft repeated expressions of a steely resolve against corruption definitely make a good headline, but that is about all. Like all good intentions that are not backed up by action, a sight so often witnessed by bureaucrats like me, the present euphoria against corruption shall also fade away with time. Forgotten shall be the Kalmadi's, Kanimozhi's, Raja's and Behura's and their place shall be usurped by a young and dynamic team of plotters who shall not disappoint the citizens by leaving no stone unturned in milching the nation.

When shall the nation, including its well intentioned bigwigs realize that corruption is not a disease, but a symptom. When shall we appreciate that it is not only the CWG and the 2G that we have to fight against, but the entire sarkari tantra, each and every single kalpurja of it, that has gone absolutely rotten. And if corruption was a disease, the nation is so highly infected by it that there is no chance of survival. And if it is a symptom, we only have to look for the disease and cure it.

The archaic decision making and the over complex contractual processes that throng the entire sarkari system, cutting across sectors and state boundaries are the culprits. These processes lead to diffused accountability and no responsibility whatsoever. The oft touted symbol of dynamic delivery in the nation, the Indian Railways is no different. Despite being a small player in the gigantic railway network, I am amazed at the rot and the sloth that these two archaic processes have led to. Deep rooted corruption, down to the grassroots, and yet the management, the top management chooses to be oblivious of the same and finds solace in mundane chores that are rapidly pushing the organization downhill.

We from the hindu religion believe in destiny and I am therefore convinced that it is the destiny of this nation to forever continue to occupy the prime spot in the list of the most corrupt societies of the world. Amen!