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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Deglamorize the services!

The services need to be de-glamorized. After all the nation does not want its servants to join its services for glamour but to serve, yet the reality has remained otherwise since the day britishers walked out leaving us in the lurch.

The white man was immediately replaced by the brown, the Indian Civil Service by the Indian Administrative Service with the difference being that the brown guy surpassed the white by miles in his perception of and also handling of those he perceived he was the ruler of. What he failed to emulate was the sense of fairness and justice that the white skin possessed despite being the virtual rulers of the land. The rulers can indeed be pardoned for excesses, after all they were never one of us, but not the brown sahibs, who were till they cleared the exams, one of the impoverished humanity that this nation is composed of.

Cutting across services, one witnesses an almost total absence of the will or the desire to serve. It is indeed the penchant for self gratification, throwing their weight around and being regarded a few notches above the masses, albeit in a different league that fuel the desire to enter the elite group of those in the services. It is sad that merely clearing one examination confers the license to rule and exploit the nation for petty personal gains to all those who till they were on the other side of the fence, had like a commoner sufficient grouses against the establishment.

Very rarely does one come across a youngster who has made it and still has the fire and passion to really serve the nation and its masses. Most of the youngsters aspire for the services allured by the glamour associated, in the form of bungalows, white ambassador, retinue of servants, foreign jaunts, the servile attitude of those around and of-course immense opportunities of putting the hand in the till. It is indeed sad and the misfortune of the nation that these are what attract the youngsters into the inner folds of the government almost as flies are attracted to sweets. While all services offer sweet attractions, the premier service of the nation, the IAS stands out in its ability to offer its entrants what other services fail to offer, unbridled power and a stranglehold over the nation.

Service of the self needs to be replaced by service of the nation and its masses. That the tendency of self gratification that the bureaucrats display in plenty has absolutely no place in a poor developing nation like ours is a reality that needs to be appreciated and put in place for the nation to prosper.

The services need to be deglamorized and presented as what they really should be – in service of humanity.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Divine Intervention Solicited!

The Times Now debates have of late emerged as the widely accepted practice of killing time, killing time without later being able to recollect later what indeed the debate was all about. The debates that earlier started and continued with a flourish are now fast losing their relevance as discussions are being held merely for the sake of discussions. Perhaps it is a fine way of many to put on display their faces and thus remain in the reckoning in the public arena.

A couple of years back while living in Bhopal, the city of lakes, I often wondered at the architecture of Hotel Lake View Ashok a property of the tourism major going by the name of ITDC.  The hotel designed by an internationally renowned architect whom one would not like to name had a lobby that can never be air-conditioned for it had all high ceiling with all corridors opening in the vast open space. It was pretty obvious that the hotel was designed for the sake of architecture with perhaps only the architect getting a kick out of the design.

On a similar analogy, handing technical issues now, the injection of new technology in the form of latest international designs of locomotives and coaches always makes me wonder whether a technological upgrade merely implies a transfer of technology from beyond the shores and a couple of overseas junkets without handling the overall associated gamut. And therefore all such upgrades come with massive labor pains that carry well beyond the birth of the child.

I have now realized that a pinch of salt is what one should take while consuming rhetoric of any kind, whether it is a claim to a nationalistic fervor or trumpeting of efforts to heal the wounds of the humanity. The efforts to nail those found with their hand in the till also have to be taken with a lot of salt as the final punishments are never commensurate with the extent of the crime. At a lower bureaucratic level also the statements of intent often proclaimed from rooftops turn out to be falsity personified. The wheel continues to be invented again and again with the difference that unlike in the golden past, those inventing keep on taking sole credit ad-infinitum.

The last decade has indeed been the most horrifying in so far as decline in human values and a disgraceful conduct on display on the part of those occupying high chairs is concerned. Partially successful efforts at selling the family silver cheap marked the beginning of absence of probity in public life, a trend that continues unabated till today, with brazenness emerging as the hallmark of those in power.

Railways also have a long story to tell. While still being counted as an organization that delivers, albeit in a sellers market that too in monopoly, the standards of leadership, governance and management have witnessed a steep decline. The Mahesh Kumar episode is indeed the tip of the iceberg, but perhaps as matters stand today, the full iceberg is never going to be visible and things shall soon return to normalcy with corrupt and unethical practices continuing to rule the roost.

And that makes me certain that the only person capable of setting the nation in order through his impeccable standards of commitment, honesty and guts will never be allowed to rise and lead all of us to glory. Perhaps we can only wait for divine intervention to bail out the nation now!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Depravity knows no bounds!

The recent verdict of the apex court that a public representative convicted of any criminal offence attracting a punishment of two years and above by any court shall immediately lose his seat has come as a ray of hope for many in this otherwise depraved scenario. The court has also ruled that contesting elections while lodged within the confines of a jail shall not be permitted. Yet the fact that such verdicts were necessitated speaks volumes about the torrid state of affairs in the country.

Newspaper reports state that over 30% of our public representatives in the state and the centre are facing criminal cases. These are the persons who are expected to be the torchbearers of our democratic system and also the lawmakers. Yet law breakers many of them have been, but perhaps no more after this historic verdict that has the potential of triggering a major operation clean up.   

That the verdict has come barely a few days after the revolting incident involving a top politician of a central Indian state is gratifying indeed, as many had starting losing hope from the system. Prompt and appropriate action by the state government without bias or fervor also acted as a balm. It appears that   considerable goodness and fairness still exists in the system despite the widely prevalent rot and sloth.

Some time back a spokesman of a national party was found with his pants down in his own lawyers chambers seeking physical gratification in lieu of favors. While this spokesman was also shown the door like the recent entrant, he soon made a reentry in the political arena thereby confirming that character has no place whatsoever in the murky national political scenario. A plethora of similar incidents cutting across states and political outfits goes to show the real depth to which the national character has plummeted, the political classes being only the most visible representatives of the society.

It is tragic that the debauch conduct is supplemented by rampant indulgence in corrupt practices. The series of scams involving public money witnessed in recent times has left many with gaping mouths. This indulgence cuts across states and political shades and almost everyone with the exception of a few have lost no time whatsoever in looting the till. The glaring example of the sale of the public silver in the past, the open loot indulged into by successive bosses of a hill state and also what transpired south of the vindhyas till the recent change of guard led many of us to lose whatever little hope that existed despite the ongoing rot and sloth. Coupled with the rank inability of the masses to move matters within the sarkari machinery without the customary greasing of palms, the overall scenario has indeed been grim for a considerable time now.    

That the bureaucratic arena is no better has been made amply clear by the recent post for bribe incident. The penchant for self gratification of the bureaucratic clan coupled with their bloated ego’s has indeed made a mockery of governance in this nation. Jostling for key positions & junkets overseas, ego flaring up on inconsequential matters, milching the system and all its associates and constituents and a total lack of concern for the organization or the nation are visible traits of the majority of babu’s, not an encouraging scenario either.

What are the choices left with the aam aadmi? Perhaps he can march on the streets or camp on the Vijay Chowk on the lines of the Tianamen or the Tehrir else he can suffer in silence or worse still, extract his pound of flesh from the system. The last may perhaps be the preferred one as the aam aadmi of this nation being a microcosm of the society regards the need to maintain high standards in human values and conduct as passé.

Salvation is not in sight and neither is doom, yet the verdict gives hope that some efforts at stemming the rot are indeed underway. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Utopian Dream

Patience is a hallmark virtue of the hindu community. And therefore they wait indefinitely for things to improve. After all India is not Egypt where the populace does not tolerate the excesses of the government and walks out of the confines of their comfortable homes to throw out a government that they had voted in power. After all the definition of a democracy is a government of for and by the people, yet how many of us are able to appreciate it I wonder?

Watching the affairs of successive governments in the nation for a considerable time now, I am convinced that the nation is not conducive enough for the habitation of the aam Hindustani and has strangely emerged as a place where only the men in power and those rolling in cash can live in relative peace. For the aam aadmi however it is a land of non-stop turmoil and anguish and therein lies the tragedy of the journey of this great civilization.

In recent history, utopia was first presented to the populace in 1942 when the call to quit India was issued. The naïve populace then believed that everything would be fine once the britishers left, however that was not to be. The hopes that built up in the initial years post independence took a nosedive in the early sixties when famines and acute scarcity of food grain rocked the nation. Meanwhile the political class as well as the bureaucrats had turned wise and realized that being a self seeker is definitely the far better alternative. It was obvious that the nation had arrived and had started taking off in a skewed direction.

Fed up with successive governments, the populace turned towards the opposition parties in the mid seventies and formed the first non congress government that disappointed more than it enthused. Subsequent experiments with different shades of governments both at the federal and the state levels also proved that there is not much to choose between the devil and the deep sea, with each initially offering hope and then dashing it against the wall.

The series of scams that surfaced with amazing regularity in the recent past have however imparted a different dimension to the concept of governance in this nation. The people who govern, now firmly believe that their anointment on the seat of power gives them a right to loot and plunder for their personal gains. Yet they also like all others never fail to present a utopia whenever an opportunity arises, and the naïve populace continues to believe them perhaps for lack of options.

The utopian dream rocks and our slide downward continues unabated.