DailyPost 1696

The invisible arm which runs everything in this country, some visible are seen here and there. Social media has added some more  visibility to this clan. Max Weber described them as the perfect cogs in the labyrinth governmental machine. We still know most of them as posts or designations and each of which brings a visual picture of that bureaucrat, to our mind, of his capability, outlook, communication ease and what he is likely to deliver. This is built up on years of behavioural data, stories, news items, individual experiences and the like. There is nobody who has not seen a bureaucrat in this country.

The steel frame defines the framework, which they created over the years and they lived by. But that was British India. How much of steel is still left in it can be both a topic of research and also a great topic for scaled referendum across the country. We will get an answer on a scale 1 to 10, the percentage of votes associated with each number will clarify where we stand. First settle the brilliance issue. The Indian Civil Services Exam is by far the toughest exam in the country and only the best are able to make their way to the other side of the exam. Has academic and intellectual brilliance translated to the same exceptional level of governance? How many would have yes as an answer is anybody’s guess.

Somebody has rightly said, courage is way more exceptional than genius. How much of this trait do these young men and women have? What steel frame and if it’s  consequent steel became a part of a bureaucrat, we leave it one’s wisdom and conjecture. What is of existential value is whether he has a spine or not? This is the differentiating factor which would finally decide, in whose favor will he deliver. Is spine most important to him, or his comfort and structured career progression? The health infrastructure across the country and its inability to respond in the worst humanitarian crisis speaks volumes on the health of bureaucratic spine in this country.

Bureaucratic spine decide what finally succeeds;  a strict legal mandate or the whims and fancies of powers that be. No govt has ever found a bureaucratic stumbling block for whatever agenda it  wanted to pursue. The pandemic has put the state of bureaucratic spine in the open. The next facet and might be a much more important bureaucratic element is having a heart. It’s not the management style emotional quotient or sensitivity and soft skill drama. Given precisely the nature of the population we have; suffering from poverty, bad health, substandard education and joblessness, are you moved by human misery or not. Even leaving the scourge of pandemic aside, Indians face suffering of all types day in day out. A welfare state can happen by a bureaucracy with a golden heart and rulers with a super golden heart. In the abyss, we are in, there is nothing left to comment.


Sanjay Sahay

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