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Choose Your Time and Place
|by Mahesh Chandra Dewedy|
"I don’t mean that you should become Brahmcharis (celibates), but choose your time and place.’’ thus culminated the valedictory address of the Director, National Academy Of Administration, Mussoorie delivered to the probationers of the Foundational Course of 1963 batch.
Although this Academy is a training Academy for I.A.S. officers, but it also organizes a common Foundational Course for officers of all services selected through the civil services competitive examination. As I was selected in the I.P.S. in 1963, I had also attended this course and was listening to the Director's valedictory sermon with rapt attention.
The course syllabus was eminently designed to familiarize us with the Indian social, economic, administrative and political scene as well as to make us sensitive to the aspirations, needs and sufferings of the masses; but, since the academy was administered exclusively by I.A.S. officers, the ambience of the academy was Indian Administrator Sahib (boss) - like. Therefore we, the probationers, had been learning more of the Sahibi-way of living than the problems of the masses. The Director's parting remark had tickled our young hearts in no small measure, while it had summarized the unwritten but real objective of the course in one sentence.
On 11th July 1963 it was a cloudy evening when I had arrived at the gate of the imposing Charleville, which housed the National Academy of Administration. As I hailed from a village, my rustic conscience was quite surprised as well as amused to see that the only shop at the gate of I.A.S. training academy was a liquor shop. Later I learnt that this 'Madhushala' (bar) had been established there to help I.A.S. probationers learn the all-important art of drinking without the inconvenience of going to Kulri market.
The administrators of the academy (all I.A.S. officers) made no bones about their love for Bacchus and whenever the occasion arose they did not fail to encourage the probationers to learn this Sahibi-habit. One day a Bihari probationer was buying a bottle of Black Knight when a deputy director happened to enter the shop. As the Bihari probationer started concealing his bottle from the gaze of the deputy director, the deputy director reassuringly told him, "Oh! Come on. I am also going to have one."
One evening four I.A.S. officers got a bindas (uninhibited) lady probationer of Indian Railway Accounts Service drunk in a room of Kutesar Castle and then made her condition so pathetic that for about a month she could sit only on a pillow in the classroom. The matter had become the talk of the academy but the administrators, in their concern for the career of the young I.A.S. officers, initiated no action against those probationers, and considered it sufficient to advise them, "Choose bearable number."
After two months of our joining, Bagchi got 'elevated' to the I.A.S., because some candidate selected in I.A.S had not joined. Bagchi was immediately allotted a room in the Happy Valley, which was the best among the various hostels. Later one day, when he had come to meet me, he confided, "Mahesh! You know what they ( the I.A.S. administrators) tell the I.A.S. probationers privately? You are there to rule while all others are to serve."
This difference between the ruler and the servant became clearer to me when I joined the Central Police Training College, Mt. Abu after completing the Foundational Course. Here the body-breaking training schedule commenced at 6 A.M. and continued till 6 P.M. and even at dinner our conduct remained under watch. Moreover, not only consumption of liquor in the police mess was prohibited but also any light talk about girls was a taboo.
However, full realization of the ruler-status of the I.A.S. dawned on me only during my police career later. Here I found that every department and corporation of the Government is under the thumb of some I.A.S. officer either directly, or through secretariat, or both. The Indian Administrative Service is a permanent and all pervasive ruler and all other services are subservient to it. Moreover, the I.A.S. officers are accountable to none excepting themselves – as they say that the king can do no wrong.
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06/16/2012 13:13 PM