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Monday, October 24, 2011

Love for hangers on!

The highly feudal character of railways has given rise to a peculiar trait in recent times that of providing protocol to the higher rank officials. Senior officials demand and get protocol for as mundane an activity as visiting or arriving at railway stations. The higher the official is placed, the higher is the expectation for and from protocol arrangements. The sensitivity of this highly irrelevant practice should never be underestimated as the servility in providing protocol often forms the basis for evaluating an official or a department. The better halves of the protocol hungry officials also leave no stone unturned in reminding the puny officials that they also can be ignored only at the own peril of the junior officials.

I often find it strange that while the really powerful officials of the state like the cabinet secretaries and chief secretaries make do without protocol of any kind, much lowly placed, in the order of their utility to the organization and the nation, officials of the railways cannot step an inch without a senior railway official following in the tow.

The reason for this unusual penchant for hangers on in the guise of protocol arrangement perhaps lies in the rank inability of railway officers as a clan to be able to make any meaningful change in the surroundings that they live in. The absence of satisfaction from ones job invariably leads to deriving a warped sense of power that the protocol arrangements definitely provide to officials who are generally otherwise pygmies, both in stature and in their personal contribution to the organization or the nation.

Railways is perhaps the only organization in the entire nation where officers of the rank of joint secretaries to the government are a dime a dozen. And the organization therefore leaves no stone unturned in regularly reminding them of their worthlessness by assigning them on mundane protocol duties. Perhaps this is another way of showing disrespect for the entire officer clan, by a tribe of officials who have no respect for themselves either.

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