Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bureaucracy, Aristocracy & Democracy!

If you're going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy; God will forgive you but the bureaucracy won't….Hyman Rickover

Hyman George Rickover, also known as the "Father of the Nuclear Navy", was a United States Navy Admiral who directed the original development of naval nuclear propulsion and controlled its operations for three decades as director of Naval Reactors. And many of my friends who are good bureaucrats must be smiling to themselves after reading the quote though on face they will show their displeasure. Yet the facts remains as what Hyman has said is every common man’s opinion about the bureaucrats i.e. we call govt servants! Many from the govt service won’t agree to this yet when you look at the applications came for the class four posts in govt service may it be a  peon i.e. “chaprasi” or even a forest guard, there are candidates which are post graduates, then one need to believe that there is something magical in govt service! Mainly two things one is assured salary & another is even the gods can't remove you from the job however way you perform!  These two things give a govt servant the present attitude i.e. they are untouchable to common man. And another major aspect is monopoly in most of the day to day matters involved with common man’s life. For e.g. if I want to get my projects plan sanction there is none other than PMC who can do it or if I have to make my land NA i.e. non agriculture then only Collector can do it or if I want a electric connection then except MSEB no one else can do it or may it be a driving license then I have to get it done through the RTO last but least even I have to transfer a piece of land on others name then only Talathi who is lowest rank of the revenue can do it.  Leave apart these entire things, even if I want to registrar sale of my property or marriage registration I have to get it done only via govt registrar! And the list of such works is unending & may it be a school teacher or a millionaire businessman each of them has to surrender in front of some govt representative which we call as a bureaucrat! Agreed all these are supposed to be giving service to common man but ask that common man is he happy with the service from bureaucrats? This is because of the British system where the purpose of giving security to govt servants is they can perform without any fear or interference & serve to the public. But unfortunately after British left somewhere this basic aim of giving security to the govt servants got lost & now what remains is an attitude that a bureaucrat is above the god & whatever he or she does is the final word!

This was going fine till last two decades i.e. up to 1990 & the bureaucracy ruled may it be Country level, State level or even Taluka level but then some where the so called aristocrats i.e. people’s representatives came in to picture. These are elected members who have been chosen by the people & they too come in many forms i.e. from MP to MLA to Corporators of local bodies. Slowly this specie realized that the so called bureaucrats are supposed to be servants of the public & they conveniently took that we are elected by the public so we are public! Nothing wrong again as that’s what an ideal democracy is for; on one side bureaucrats will be doing their administrative role & aristocrats keeping control on them that they are on right track & all this for the interest of the end user i.e. the common man!

For those who will be confused about the zest of this write-up, well recently I read very interesting news regarding a case in our beloved Pune city. I won't go in to the details of the case as that’s not the essence of our sharing. It’s about one of the buildings of which some floors have been illegally constructed & now it comes in to light that the institute who has been owner of the building has done it without any sanction & started use of these floors. Obviously as usual what happens in such matters that now everyone is pointing towards everyone & trying to justify how their department isn’t related to all this illegalities. But again as per the unwritten rules in bureaucracy, “for every mistake there is a scapegoat! So keeping in tune with this rule inquiry has made by the senior officers of PMC & outcome is few of the junior engineers has been suspended (not removed) from the service & few others promotions has been stopped. On prima fascia this seems usual to any common man as a crime has happened so someone has to be responsible from the system whose job was to check that crime before it happened & the one who failed in doing so needs to be punished & so he or they has been punished! Here is where the whole matter took a different turn as when a bureaucrat or few of them have been punished then the hell broke loose as how this can happen! The self proclaimed untouchables getting under guillotine! Its not done & the news was in this context only. That so called associations of all such bureaucrats gathered together & they have appealed to media as well to their bosses that they are not guilty but the aristocrats i.e. the elected members who pressurized them to ignore the illegality of the said building are the real guilty & they too should be punished!

Wow that’s real cute of our bureaucrats that now they are feeling some species can pressurize them & they are not untouchable after all! Again the common man will say what new in this? Rather this time the particular matter has come in open so these two i.e. elected members & govt servants are pointing towards each other but then who has stopped the bureaucrats to take the names of the elected members which has been pressurizing them to ignore the illegality of the building? Had this case hasn’t came in lime light & few of the officers not been punished then would these people have made such allegations? So many illegalities are happening around us all the time is it every time the bureaucracy is pressurized so they are not taking any action? Last monsoon two people lost their lives due to electric current got on the water which has been clogged on a suburban road in Pune. As usual inquiry has been set but nothing, no mseb officer has been known to punished neither those who allowed water clogging as every year millions of rupees has been spent on rain water arrangements yet every year the water get clogged all around the city! The new roads get dug & many accidents happen, who is at blame for public money getting wasted? The Mumbai-Bangalore bypass has no service road which is mandatory & each day thousands of two wheeler commuters’ travels over it under the threat of death due to accident from heavy vehicles; so who is pressurizing the so called bureaucrats from making the service road? What about all the legal works which needs to be taken care but are being ignored, why they need pressure for these? This is very easy stand that ignore the illegality as per our convenience & when get caught then point the finger to the elected members as under their pressure we ignored it!

Not that the claim isn’t true, so called representatives of the people too are known for indulging in all such sorts of acts but then they are for people, aren’t they? They will think that whatever public wants give them may it be regularizing illegal construction of may it be hawkers blocking the street, they know only one thing deliver what public want! And we are a country where self interest is above everything so every law is a hurdle for us!  So our elected members never pressurize the govt servant for good things which are largely in public interest but only where some ones individual interest is at stake! Look at another case about road cutting for MSEB power cables in city, when the administration has allowed mseb power cables to lay at reduced rates as its essential service to the society. Here all the elected members came together & stayed this decision, making road digging for power cables a costly affair; for which citizen only have to pay more! Many such examples are there, where bureaucrats or aristocrats individually taken stand against each other’s when its public interest at stake against their own interest & putting a show of being rivals. But when its personal interest then they immediately gets along forgetting their rivalry! Many of my friends who came from both the categories & may not like this sharing but what I have put forward is what people think & feel & nothing personal. As the profession I am in is also not being spoken with high regards, yet I have to accept it as my opinion need not be the fact or what society thinks!

Coming back to sustain the pressure from elected members, this is why the bureaucrats has been given security by the system so they shouldn’t succumb for doing wrong things even if coming from representatives of the people but seems they conveniently forget this security when its order or call it as a request from elected members! And why not as right from the promotions too transfer at so called cream postings everything is under control under the aristocrats, so it’s in benefit of both to watch each other’s back unless some fool opens up a scam like above news & the partnership gets broken between the both categories!

It’s the high time the common man should realize that bureaucracy & aristocracy i.e. govt servants & our elected members are two sides of one coin; a coin which is supposed to be act as a currency to make our lives comfortable but unfortunately it’s been working for each others interest & at cost of us only!

The news which made me write this sharing went unnoticed & by now must have forgotten from the memories of even those few who read it but it is an eye opener! It showed true face of these untouchables that yes they too can get pressurized even for wrong things, so why not pressurize them for doing right things! And the persons who can pressurize them are none other than our own elected members, so now it’s up to us only to understand our power or else in the nexus of bureaucracy & aristocracy it’s you & me are getting killed. Today some unknown person is victim of their negligence & untouchable attitude, tomorrow it could be anyone from our family & then there will be too late to act! Before that lets act & pressurize these both cracy's to deliver for the purpose they exist or else the day isn’t far where the common mans i.e. democracy's existence itself will gets eliminated & for that we only will be responsible!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

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