“Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.” Lao Tzu
Introduction “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.”(Kofi Annan) – Everybody desires to be empowered enough to lead a peaceful and comfortable life-style. But how? More than empowerment, enlightenment is more necessary. For enlightenment, wisdom is required to move on towards the right path and saves human mind from confusion as what to do and what not. For enlightenment, knowledge is important. Knowledge is necessary for giving “deeds or actions” its due meaning, direction and value. Kofi Annan comments “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating.” Liberation to do what one wants to do is empowerment.
Politics on empowerment – Today in political world, leaders talk about empowerment. Politics and government is there mainly to take care of its people and look-after their welfare. Merely talking about empowerment does not empower the people or leads to their sustainable development. Sri Sri Ravi Shanker says, “If everyone understood this, the country will gain a lot. We need to spiritualize politics, socialize business and secularize religion. Devoid of spirituality, politics breeds corruption.”
Wisdom/Enlightenment, “Knowing others, is intelligence, knowing yourself is true wisdom” – Hindu philosophy shows high regards for wisdom/knowledge, virtues, characters and will power. According to it, senses are superior to body, mind is superior to senses and knowledge/wisdom/intellect is superior to mind. Bhagwat Gita’ suggests that human action/deed needs to be combined with wisdom/intellect for enlightenment and empowerment.
According to Hindu philosophy, the whole world of activities is a result of complex intermixing of three basic qualities of human nature – goodness (Satwa), Passion (Rajas) and dullness (Tamas). `Goodness” is associated with purity, peace and knowledge; `Passion” with comfort and action; and `Tamas” with ignorance, sloth, sleep and carelessness.
These qualities determine the tendencies, potentialities, limitations, traits and character of individuals and give them direction for action. `Adharma” (immoral behavior), “Alasya” (laziness) and Agyan (ignorance) are responsible for negative behavior like becoming victims of evils, unhappiness and miseries.
Balance between desires and righteousness – People should be empowered enough to enjoy material success and fulfil all worldly desires. If desires are suppressed, one day it may erupt like a volcano and create troubles. But simultaneously, it is also necessary to achieve one’s dreams in a right way and keep a balance between desires and righteousness. It is the wisdom that balances the two and leads to the path of knowledge and righteousness.
Materialism influences most of the people in modern times. It is difficult for them to resist worldly temptations. The desire to enjoy sensual pleasures and be happy without much efforts traps them in a vicious circle. To save their comfort-zone encourages, they desire to hold enough economic and political power in their hands, so that they can do what they want and control the destiny of masses. People with weak minds easily become the victims of such ambitious leaders. Their ignorance makes their efforts futile and destroys their sense of direction. Awareness, knowledge and discipline needs to be inculcated amongst poor masses to empower them and save them from negative forces. Wisdom/intellect needs to be developed to make their mind strong and deeds rational. A mind governed by wisdom makes a person empowered, calm and content.
Empowerment – Meaning of empowerment and approach to be empowered differ from person to person and place to place. As Toffler says, there are three main sources of power – ‘knowledge, wealth, and muscle’. In a way, ‘empowerment is an inter-play of all these variables. During ancient times in agricultural societies, power was mainly based on force. After Industrial Revolution, wealth was the source of power and in modern times, it is mainly based on knowledge.
Power achieved through money or force is short-lived. It can never lead to sustainable development of the poor and needy people. In agricultural society, power was based on force, in industrial societies on wealth and now in present information -technology period, it is based on knowledge. long long ago, even Chanakya also believed that knowledge is wealth. Knowledge was his greatest weapon, strength, asset and power through which he created emperors like Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka.
Positive and negative energies – There are choices before human beings to follow the path of positive thinking or opt for negative mindset. Developing positive attitude/thinking is not an easy task. For attaining it, one needs tremendous perseverance, hard work, and dedication and determination/will power.
Style of thinking and working of people with positive or negative attitude differs very much from each other. People having positive attitude are empowered in its true sense. Positive energies develops the mind, enlarges the vision, enlightens and guides a person to take wise actions with using one’s intellect or wisdom.
Negative mindset – Negative mindset makes mind weak. Actions taken with weak mind is bridled with suspicion, lust and desires – mainly depending on emotions, impulses, hatred, greed and selfishness. It, quite often leads to agitation/aggression and discontentment.
Role of wisdom in empowerment – It is a reality that it is wisdom that empowers a human being and enlightens his/her path. Wisdom can be achieved:
- Through reflection, which is the noblest;
- Through imitation, which is easiest and
- By experiencing, which is the bitterest.”
Role of empowerment – ‘Empowerment’ or sharing of power has become a keyword of the modern political world. In politics, everything revolves around the world ’empowerment’.
Problems created by over-emphasizing ‘empowerment – Following are some of the problems –
- Split in society – Recently, focus on empowerment has created split in society. The attention of the people on empowerment has given rise to the pursuance of sectional interests.
- Encouragement to sectional interests over national interests – In the name of ‘empowerment’, various pressure groups are encouraged by the authorities to pursue their own sectional interests. Almost all the political parties make different kinds of promises to ‘empower’ the upcoming or deprived groups. They do not even hesitate to adopt such populist/paternalistic policies, which are against the national interest in a long run.
- Means to grab the political power – Present day politicians care for knowledge only up-to the extent, so far as it enhances their chances of entering into the corridors of ‘power’ and control the levers of authority.
- Rat race – Attitude to be ‘one up’ does not encourage healthy competition. Rather it pushes individuals/groups towards ‘rat-race’, pulls others down and care only for ‘I, my and me”.
- Increasing corruption and manipulation – With this sole mission in their mind, most of the upcoming politicians concentrate on amassing more and more wealth/empires to buy muscle-power and conscience of common man. They concentrate their efforts/energies to acquire as much money as they can by hook or crook. There is no limit to their greed. The only mission is to hold so much economic and political power in their hands, so that they could lead a luxurious life-style on tax-payers money and whenever they or their supporters are caught doing something wrong, they can get away easily.
- The word ‘empowerment’ exclusive not inclusive in nature – Empowerment, by nature is ‘exclusive’, which separates individuals/different sections of society starts a cut-throat competition amongst different individuals/sections of society/nations. The word ‘Empowerment’ generates excessive desire in individuals to establish their superiority/authority over others, so that they can control the destiny of others.
True Knowledge necessary for enlightenment – For enlightenment, acquisition of true knowledge is necessary. It is knowledge, which inculcates in a person, qualities like self-confidence, self-reliance, self-discipline, self-control and self-respect.
Sound education necessary for enlightenment as well as empowerment – True knowledge inculcates positive attitude, which ultimately leads towards happiness and prosperity.Wisdom depends on knowledge. Sound education is necessary to make people knowledgeable.
Negative mindset – People with negative mind-set care about knowledge only up-to the extent, that enhances their chances of entering into the corridors of ‘power’, get control over levers of authority and over the destiny of masses. They concentrate on amassing wealth/empires to buy muscle-power and conscience of poor people.
In political world, politicians and political parties are generally not much interested in maintaining law and order in the country. They are more interested in propaganda, creation of vote banks and grabbing power – become PM (Prime Minister), CM (Chief Minister), DM (District Magistrates) and GM (General Manager) by hook or crook and thus accessing more space in the corridor of power, so that they can control the destiny of masses/common men and hold the reigns of state authority.
Role of enlightenment in a democracy – Atifete Jahjaga has rightly said, “Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, rule of law and accountability, there is abuse, corruption…”
Many superficial measures are being taken by the government or other organizations (governmental or NGOs) to help and empower poor and underprivileged sections of society. But it has not yielded desired results. Why, because no superficial measure or action can empower any person or section of society. The efforts for empowerment should be from within – be it an individual, a group within a society, a society or a nation.”
The enforced measures of empowerment leads to conflicts and even denial of the rights to other section/sections of society. One’ own efforts and intellect can empower a person in its true sense and guide him how to apply his knowledge gainfully. Lack of intellect leads a person to vices like egoism, superiority/inferiority complex etc. and creates many problems for him as well as for others around him. Only intellect can control human mind and lead his mind towards Enlightenment. When intellect becomes weak, negative thinking and reasoning take over mind.
How to become empowered – Lao Tzu says “Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.” True empowerment can be achieved not through holding political power or access/entry/influence in the corridors of authority/power, but through ‘Enlightenment’/true wisdom’.
Emphasis only on empowerment leads to rat race – Present day’s scenario more emphasis is given to “Empowerment” without understanding what ‘empowerment’ really means and how to make people really empowered. Such an approach has led to a rat race between different sections of society for being one-up by hook or crook.
Too much emphasis on the word ‘empowerment’ incites/agitates the minds of people and generates negative energy in them. It has done irreparable loss to the society and given rise to different kinds of problems.
‘Empowerment’ of ‘Haves-nots – Almost all the societies are divided into two sections – ‘haves’ and ‘haves-not’. There is unrest in the minds of ‘Haves-not’. They also desire and naturally so, to lead a peaceful and comfortable life-style. Modern politicians allure poor by talking too much about ‘empowerment’. They are not concerned so much about the advancement of poor section of society, as about creating vote-banks necessary for holding the reigns of state authority/power.
False promises to allure poor masses – In the modern materialistic and consumerist world, everyday many new gadgets are coming in the market every-day, which makes the life more comfortable. But for majority of people, it is difficult to afford it. Many a times, it becomes difficult for the poor people or persons with weak minds to resist the temptations. False promises of present day politicians attract such persons easily.
Enlightenment ‘inclusive’ by nature – Enlightenment develops respect for positive attitude, right knowledge and respect for truth and ethical values. It teaches people ‘United we stand, divided we fall’. It inculcates in people an attitude to work for common good, to support each other and move forward together. It guides people to keep their ‘ego’ under control. The only way to control it lies within each human being.
Acceptance for others – Enlightenment tells people to be respectful to others knowledge. Access to knowledge through sound system of education is the basic right of every human being. As Jyotirao Phule has said “Lack of ‘Education’ leads to lack of ‘Wisdom’; which leads to lack of ‘Morals’; which leads to lack of ‘Progress’; which leads to lack of ‘Money’; ‘which leads to ‘Oppression’ of vulnerable classes.”
Conclusion – ‘Enlightenment, not empowerment, is the real source of power’. ‘Enlightenment’ through self-introspect can only lead to sustainable development and true ‘empowerment’, not through extraneous/artificially/superficially imposed measures. Focus on ‘empowerment’ by superficial means quite often leads to negative attitude. ‘Enlightenment’ through right kind of knowledge makes people intelligent, generates positive energies in them and leads to their sustainable development.
Resist temptations? – For making mind strong enough to resist temptations, one has to raise the level of consciousness. Human mind has three dimensions – conscious, sub-conscious and super-conscious mind. Once the conscious mind is regulated, sub-conscious and super-conscious state of mind automatically gets controlled.
Conscience is always guided by intellect. Intellect automatically develops the inherent potential of individuals and keeps them away from lust and greed. Only ‘intellect’, knowledge, education and positive attitude of enlightened persons can make them so powerful that they can contribute to make a difference for betterment and not to indulge themselves in sinful activities for their self-interest. It would ultimately bring in prosperity and transform the whole society.
Important variables in governance – Of all the acts of civilized society the task of governance is perhaps the most complex one. The governance is not done in vacuum. For the governance/administration of any country, amongst all, two variables are most important. One who governs, and two who is to be governed. It is the government of the country that governs. And it is people of the country, who are governed. The quality, the tools and the style of governance, therefore, depend on variables like the characteristic of the nation, its social structure, nature, behavior and their value system of its people.
Role of Bureaucracy in governance of a democratic country
How well the crucial role of bureaucracy in governance has been described by Finer as following –
“For the forms of government, let fools contest.That which is best administered is best.” And also,
“But what is best must free man still decide. Lest leaders gull them and officials ride.”
Government that Governs
Amongst the three wings of government – Legislature, Executive and Judiciary, executive is responsible for governance/administration of a country. Executive consists of elected representatives of the people and bureaucracy. The Government roughly falls on the following two general processes: –
- Process of politics, which consists of activities of the elected representatives of the people, and
- Process of administration which consists of the activities of permanent civil servants/bureaucracy.
Role of Bureaucracy vis-à-vis elected representatives – One needs to understand, what is the role of both the wings – elected representatives and Bureaucracy in governance of a country?
Relation between the political and Bureaucratic/administrative wings of a government – That being so, an examination of the relation between the political and administrative wings of government would be the starting point for determining the role of civil service for delivering goods to public at large.
According to Fainsold (quoted from Administrative Culture, Need for conceptual Clarity and Further Rearch by Puranik, S.N. IJPA Sol., XXIV No. II April-June 1978 PP 467-468). famous thinker in the field of administration, the area of the activities of civil service depend upon-
- Relation with political authority;
- Range of functions which it performs
- Military dominated civil service as are in Bangla Desh, Pakistan, some nations in Middle East or Africa,
- Ruling Civil Service – as was in India before independence.
Bureaucracy an indispensable part of any political system – Bureaucracy has become a very potent and vital element of any government all over the world. It is an indispensable part of each and every political system be it a democracy, monarchy or aristocracy. It can exist in a type of society, be it a dictatorial or a democratic society. It role is crucial everywhere – in nations following the principles of communism or socialism or capitalism.
In theory – Theoretically the administrative machinery is subordinate to the political arm of a government. The decision making power rests with ministers. But bureaucracy assists the elected representatives of the people in governance of the country of administration. But, in practice, its role is very important in governance of a country.
Position of political chiefs vis-a-vis bureaucrats – Due to exclusive and specialized nature of work and the need for more and more expert knowledge in governance for improving the quality of service, the responsibility of political chiefs is becoming exceedingly formal in matter of governance. They are forced to listen the advice of the bureaucrats, who dig the expert knowledge from the raw material, give it a shape with a sense of commitment.
Bureaucracy’s importance, is of influence and not of power – The civil service’s role in relation to the ministers is that of influence and not of power. It is this administrative apparatus, which actually runs the government. Owing to other preoccupations of elected political leadership and its lack of technical know-how, the responsibility of bureaucrats in governance, policy making and its implementation, has become a determining factor. Converting policy into directive plans, programs and projects is an inevitable function of an action-oriented administration.
Bureaucracy a permanent link between successive elected governments – Elected representatives come for a fixed period. They come and go. But Bureaucracy is permanent, which forms a link between successive elected governments. Therefore, its becomes vital in guiding the social changes and development in desired direction, especially in the case of less developed or developing countries, where society is in a state of transition.
Importance of bureaucracy in governance – Being so, as far as governance in a country is concerned, bureaucracy could be regarded as the pillar, on which the entire structure of governance rests. Weakening of this pillar could only spell disaster[ii]. For any administration to be good and efficient as a whole, the right type of men placed in crucial positions of bureaucracy is more important than laying down rules and methods of operation.[iii]
What is Bureaucracy? Bureaucracy according to Max Weber – According to Max Weber2, whose study on bureaucracy has become a base for the modern exponents of the science of administration, the main characteristics of a civil service are as following:
- Division of labour – defined rights and duties prescribed in written regulations;
- Hierarchy – (a) Systematically ordered authority relationship;
- Promotions regulated by merit and seniority;
- Merit based selection and training – technical competence as a formal condition of employment;
- Full time career-based service with fixed monetary salaries;
- Impersonality – strict separation of office and incumbent in the sense that employee does not own the means of administration and cannot take the advantage of their position for promoting self-interest.
- A system of rules and files – its operations are government by a consistent system of abstract rules.
- Team-work – One of the important feature of bureaucracy is team-work, i.e. ability to work together toward a common vision. It is ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” (Andrew Carnegie, TOI, P.18, Feb 7, 2017)
- Loyalty to impersonal authority like the State. Cal.J. Friedrich rejected this ‘ideal-type’ theory as neither ideal in the platonic sense nor real in empirical sense.
Criticism of Weber’s theory – Friedrich, Alwin W. Gouldner, Philip Seiznic, Michel Crozier and others emphasised certain behavioural characteristics of civil service as more important.
- Peter Blau introduced an element of positivism, when the emphasized ‘efficiency’ as the core and goal of bureaucracy or civil service. His approach permits structural and behavioral flexibility in response to ecological reaction, as long as they contribute to efficiency. His approach is dynamic and covers ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ aspects of civil service and welds the structural and behavioral aspects in terms of ‘efficiency’.
- F.W. Riggs, John Forward, James Brady4 and others have developed a new approach of ecological and developmental administration. In this approach the civil service is to be explained and designed in terms of local influences as well as the influence of developmental tasks and goals. This approach has been admired, because of its open-minded realistic and flexible character, particularly for purposes of designing a developmental bureaucracy.
- V.A. Pai Panandikar and Kshirsagar (Pai Panandikar and Kshirsagar, Bureaucracy in India, I.J.PA.Vol. XVII No.2 PP 187-208) are of opinion that bureaucratic model cannot be a single type. According to them while the Weberian Model is most suited in Secretariat type of Organisation and the Blau’s model operates well in dynamic field of development type of agencies like the agriculture or industrial departments.
Whatever the merits and demerits of the above models may be, it is a fact that no single model is sufficient either to explain the complex bureaucratic universe empirically or to Guide the designing of a bureaucratic system normatively.
In short – It can be said that civil service is a “professional body of officials, permanent, paid and skilled”2. It is always connected with the exercise of authority as members of a class of power elites. It is engaged in the governance of the country and its administrative work. Its officials are professionally recruited, permanent, paid and properly trained in various disciplines of administration. Its main characteristics are its efficiency, predictability, impersonal nature, and its impartial and speedy working. It is always associated with exercise of authority. It has to deal with human beings with many complexes – psychological and sociological and its dealings extend to society as a whole.
The people who are governed
Government has to deal with living human beings prone to unpredictable behavior. It also deals with the issues and challenges in all the spheres, whether political, economic or social, which directly affects public life.
Governance a difficult task in India having many kinds of Diversity – Way back on December 9, 1946, Mr. V.N. Narayan had said, “At best of times, India is ungovernable country of diversities, conflicts and problems”. A touch here, a push there may make India ungovernable. Governance of a pluralistic society, like India, is a sensitive and challenging exercise. Mr. Nani Palkiwala expressed the same feeling after 50 years of self-rule, which gave to India empty coffers, unfulfilled promises, political instability, fractured society and perpetual divide among different groups along caste and community lines. He said, “Our legal systems have made life too easy for criminals and too difficult for law abiding citizens”.
India comprises of different identities – India comprises people of different identities – ethnic, religious, castes, linguistic and regional identities. While, these identities lived together for centuries and presented a mosaic culture, there have been periods of discord. The diversity made the divide easy. However, the forces of unity have always been stronger than the divisive forces. It is for this reason that India occupies a special place in the global society. It is one of the oldest alive civilizations of the world. It presents a fascinating picture of unity amidst diversity, cultural richness, largeness of area and huge population. It has assimilated multi-ethnic migrants into its fold. The diversities, that exist, are many like:
- Geographical diversity
- Ethnic diversity
- Linguistic Diversity
- Occupational Diversity
- Cultural Diversity
- Demographic Diversity
- Political division of Indian population etc.
As we have seen, in India, there exists perplexing diversities in geography, language, race and culture since ages. It pervades every aspect of life. Equality in each and every sphere of life is just not possible. In such a situation, no compromise should be made to work hard and to discourage healthy competition on the ground to reduce social inequalities artificially. For unity and sustainable development of the nation, a strong and healthy competitive system of placement at all levels of administration according to the requirements of the posts needs to be followed.
Concepts of ‘Welfare-State’ and ‘Development- administration”
The “Laissezfaire” theory of government’s function prevalent during 19th and beginning of 20th centuries. During this period, the main task of the government was generally maintenance of law and order and revenue collection. Now the emphasis has shifted to the welfare plans, national reconstruction and development.
Concept of ‘Welfare State – French Revolution, Bolshevik Revolution, Industrial Revolution, two World Wars and other Contemporary developments gave rise to the concept of `Welfare State’ and Developmental Administration. The former being the objective and the later the machinery to achieve these objectives.
Care of citizens rom womb to tomb – In a welfare state, the government assumes and aims at improving the quality of life of its masses and the responsibility of its citizens from `womb to tomb’. It aims at bringing `social, political and economic justice’ for all irrespective of their caste or creed, the voluntary abdication of riches and power – that these riches brings and establishment of a productive, vigorous and creative political and social life. In short its objective is a massive attack on five major evils of society – want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness.. The main aim of initiating and nurturing these concepts is to bring about betterment to the lots of deprived sections of society and build up a rapidly expanding and technologically progressive economy.
People also desire to go forward quickly and to establish a new economic order, in which common people should have a better deal. It has widened the responsibilities of the State’s government. Poverty and misery, which were earlier accepted as the lot of masses, are no longer regarded as inevitable. Millions of people have started demanding, with persisting insistence, better standard of living, better housing, better education and better medical facilities. The masses started wishing that they themselves should be benefited a much as possible, from the resources of their nation.
“Concept of Development Administration” – The welfare concept of state has no utility in itself unless it is translated into action. The government now work for establishing “Socialistic pattern of society”.
The instrument deployed for achieving welfare goals – The instrument deployed for achieving welfare goals national reconstruction and development – is the institution of civil service, which puts all its energies at bringing about socio-economic and political development of the nation as a whole. An efficient administration can successfully comprehend what is attainable, what is practical and what can help the agencies in the community to formulate plans and policies, by which the community can seek to assure welfare of all its members.
The emphasis in governance has resulted in –
- Increase in the responsibilities of Bureaucracy – Both the concepts of ‘Welfare nation’ and ‘Development Administration’ have increased the responsibilities of bureaucracy manifolds. In addition to their traditional regulatory work to maintain law and order situation in the country, the national governments have gradually assumed the responsibility of welfare of all its citizens from “Womb to tomb”.
- Regulatory and service functions of Bureaucracy – Activities of Bureaucracy have penetrated into different spheres of social, political and economic spheres. Its functions are now divided into two – Regulatory and service functions. It is an irony that Services engaged in Regulatory and Economic functions always remain at the top at controlling-end. Services responsible for service functions in different spheres busy to provide convenience, relief and to give common men a better deal always remain at asking end. So is the fate of bureaucrats engaged in development of the nation by building-up the infra-structure for a rapidly expanding and technologically progressive economy always remain at the asking-end.
- Arising the aspirations of people from the government – Recent developments and various revolutions have aroused the aspirations of people and expectations from the government. The desire of public to go forward quickly and to establish a new economic order, in which common man and weaker sections of society could have better deal, forced the national governments to take upon themselves the responsibility of protecting and nurturing them in such a manner that people get enough opportunities to grow to their fullest stature and prosper.
- People more assertive of their rights – People are now more alert and aware. They are assertive of their rights. Misery, ignorance and economic deprivation, which were earlier accepted as a lot of masses, are no longer acceptable. Now they wish to taste the fruits of development and get benefited from the resources of the nation. Millions of people started demanding with persisting insistence better standards of living, housing, education and medical facilities. In a way, they demand protection from five major evils of an underdeveloped or developing society – want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness.
Bureaucracy includes all the Government services – At present, in any nation, aiming at Welfare and Development administration, Bureaucracy includes all the Government services, Financial, Technical and Specialists as well as Managerial and Generalist. There is police force to maintain law and order, diplomatic service for external affairs, technical services for Public Works Department or Electricity Departments, Railways and Customs for providing services in their respective area.
Bureaucrats in the role of knowledge managers – In the increasingly knowledge-based society of twenty-first century bureaucrats/administrators have to play the role of knowledge managers. They are supposed to find out knowledge based solutions for problems in different spheres. The major goals of development administration could be said to be national integration, holistic change and modernization of social and economic process, welfare and ultimately equality, liberty and justice. Development Administration has to concern itself with four `Ps’ standing for –
- Policy making
- Programmes; and
For doing justice to their work, bureaucrats needs to develop observation skills, alertness and awareness of their surroundings. They need-
- Intelligence or basic applicative skill to create solutions;
- Relevant data;
- Ability to understand pros and cons and alternatives;
- Mental alertness to deliver results within time and cost parameters.According to Valson, the whole bureaucratic set-up needs to be organized properly at different levels and the government should be specific about expectations. Different skills are needed at different levels of its administrative-setup.
Role of bureaucrats at different levels – At all the levels, an administrator has to meet the challenges of modern time. The higher, one goes in the ladder of bureaucratic set-up, more his role becomes of analyzer and synthesizer, break a problem down into many parts, then put those together again in a rational design. Some-times, an official has to make rationality a compromise/fusion of opposite ends and means. One needs to be sensitive enough understand the sentiments of colleagues, value the good work done by his colleagues – individually and in group, and give reward for good performance. He should be capable to maintain discipline within his respective organization.
At topmost level – At topmost level, bureaucrats are responsible for policy formulation; setting goals and designing strategies, appropriation and allocation of funds, fixing priorities, execution of policy, direction and training. Therefore, at this level they need the conceptual skills to look into the future; to look at the organization as a whole; to visualize the whole scenario rather than in tit bits. at the topmost level, they suffer from disagreement with political bosses, weight to patronage and seniority instead of qualities required for a particular post or promotion, and unwillingness to accept new ideas and technology for fear of loss of power and position. They are constrained by conflict between young and old minds in civil service, high level of corruption, low commitment to development and conflict with or influence of politicians on their superiors.
At the middle level – The middle level administrator is usually responsible for learning and interpreting, energizing and supervising, coordinating and collecting information. Therefore, at this level, officers are required to have human skills along with technical skills. At senior and middle levels, skill of communication/networking within the organization and outside is also required for successfully saving effort, time and money.
At lower level – The lower level administrator undertakes the role of mass contacts, demonstration, innovation, introduction of new institutions and collection of taxes. Therefore, at entry level and during the initial years, the administrators are supposed to possess knowledge about the subject, they have to deal. The lower level administrators suffer due to insufficient qualifications, poor salary, and loss of morale, loss of faith in development ideology due to frustrating field experience and loss of initiative crippling subservience to seniors and sacrifices to develop objectives.
Government that governs in India
India opted for the most difficult path, for its governance – India has chosen the most difficult form of government, democracy, which are working successfully only in a very few nations that too in developed countries. This poses many challenges before the administration. The Government of India has accepted the planning process. The success of government’s welfare and developmental plans solely depends upon the efficiency of its bureaucratic cadres. Therefore, India requires that every level of its administrative set-up must be equipped with officers having the capacity to meet various challenges of the modern India.
Federal structure – India has adopted is a system of federal parliamentary democracy. Its federal structure consists of Union and State Administration.
Three arms of the government – To govern the country, the Constitution of India has established three arms –
- Executive – The Union Government at the Centre consists of a ‘President’, (in states Governors) in whom all the executive power of the Union is vested. It is exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with the Constitution [Article 53 (1)]; the Vice-President – only a ceremonial dignitary; and ‘a council of ministers with prime Minister (Chief Ministers) as its head “to aid and advice the President in the exercise of his functions”. The President is the nominal head of the executive. The Prime Minister and his colleagues are real political heads of different government departments. Their executive power, in practice, is exercised by permanent bureaucracy/civil service (civil services mean all the streams of functional, technical and specialist cadres as well as managerial and generalist cadres).
- Legislative powers are vested in Parliament/Assembly. It lays the policy and frames laws of the land for governance. The Executive implements the policies, the laws and the programs.
- There is also an independent judiciary, which acts as a watchdog of the Constitution and is the supreme law of the land.
Government at State level – Different provinces or states in India have their separate political set-up similar to that of Centre. The Judiciary acts as a watchdog. All the three Arms of the State go together in improving the quality of life of public at large. Instead of President and Vice-President, Governor is there as the head of the executive in every state. It also includes the officials at regional or state level, which works under ministers and serves as a link – so essential to maintain continuity of policy and consistency of administration between successive ministers.
Set-up of a Department in Government – Directly under the Minister, comes the Secretary of a Department. A Secretary may head one or more Departments and can be under more than one minister. All matters of the cabinet are routed through him. He is the Chief functionary of his Department(s) Joint Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries and Under Secretaries help the Secretary in the discharge of his work. In Secretariat, decision taking, normally starts at the level of Deputy Secretary. He puts up proposals for policy decisions to the Secretary. Working in the Secretariat exposes the officers to policy perspective in diversified subjects like agriculture, horticulture, power, coal, transport etc. The work in Secretariat requires bright officers having experience and knowledge in relevant areas. The IAS officers on deputation from different states occupy most of the senior posts in Central Secretariat. In the State Secretariats also, it is the IAS Officials, who are posted on the top posts in almost every department.
Working of the bureaucracy in India – The bureaucracy’s work is divided into:
- Work at Secretariat for policy making and
- Work in field organizations for implementation of policies and Plans.
Working in Secretariat – Secretariat functions as the nerve center of the Government, both at the Center as well as in the States. State Secretariats are located in the capital cities of respective State and the Central Secretariat at New Delhi.
Bureaucrats assist the minister in formulating and monitoring policies and programs. Executive orders originate from here. It keeps a watch over the program implementation and presents a correct appraisal of it to the Government, from time to time.
Directly under the Minister, comes the Secretary of a Department. A Secretary may head one or more Departments and can be under more than one minister. All matters of the cabinet are routed through him. He is the Chief functionary of his Department(s) Joint Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries and Under Secretaries help the Secretary in the discharge of his work. In Secretariat, decision taking, normally starts at the level of Deputy Secretary. He puts up proposals for policy decisions to the Secretary. Working in the Secretariat exposes the officers to policy perspective in diversified subjects like agriculture, horticulture, power, coal, transport etc. The work in Secretariat requires bright officers having experience and knowledge in relevant areas. The IAS officers on deputation from different states occupy most of the senior posts in Central Secretariat. In the State Secretariats also, it is the IAS Officials, who are posted on the top posts in almost every department.
Functions performed at Secretariat level – According to Punjab Administrative Reforms Commission, the following are important functions of the Secretariat: –
- Making decisions on policy matters and enunciating policy decisions in clear language,
- Looking after Planning and finance work,
- Legislative business,
- Personnel management policies,
- Legal advice,
- Coordination and cross clearance among the administrative departments, in the Secretariat,
- Communication with central institutions like the Planning Commission etc., and
- Overall evaluation, supervision, control and coordination of the work being done by the field organizations.
Fieldwork – A large number of bureaucrats play a crucial role in state administrative work. Working in the field can be divided in two groups-
- Working in the field departments or head office,
- Working in District.
Field departments or head office – The Head offices are to supervise, coordinate and monitor/watch the implementation of policies within their specific field-area. Their administrative and financial powers are defined in Civil Service Rules and Financial Rules, the Budget Manual and other Codes. It is their responsibility to set their men and machinery; money and material in order. Administration at field level requires men of drive and initiative possessing leadership qualities of leadership.
District administration – The district administration occupies a key position. In a district, officials have to perform regulatory as well as developmental tasks. It is the most convenient geographical unit, where the total apparatus of Civil Administration can be concentrated and where it comes into direct contact with the people.
The importance of field-work arises from the fact, that it is at this level, that bulk of people gets affected, favorably or adversely by the governmental policies, programs and its implementation. It is here, that people judge the quality and efficiency of the governmental administration. Collector continues to play a pivotal role in the District Administration.
First five or six years of bureaucrats are crucial for all. During this period, they go on field postings to get the feel and first-hand knowledge of real life and social realities. These postings open up the minds of young officers, by bringing them into direct contact with administrative life, with officials working in other departments, feelings of people at grass-root level. They get opportunity to understand the concrete problems. They come to know about people belonging to different sections of society and their social conditions prevailing in that particular area. They get acquainted with the structure of their own as well as of other departments working in a district and coordinating activities of various departments at district level and with that of district headquarters. This period enriches them with a variety of experiences and makes them ripe for senior positions. A collector enjoys immense power and prestige at district level.
Both kinds of work – work at Secretariat and work in the field have their distinctive challenges. For efficient performance of work in both the areas, there is need for really bright and talented officers.
Tasks of the Government – Like most developing nations, India has yet to cover distance of centuries in decades, making the transition from agrarian society to industrial-society and then to information society. Science and technology have made their debut here rather late. Time never ran so fast, as it did for India, after independence. Yesterday was not long ago and today is nearly over, with so much still pending to be done.
Great transformation under way – A present, a great transformation is under way, not only in India, but every- where in the world. Time never ran so fast, as it did for India, after independence. Yesterday was not long ago and today is nearly over, with so much still pending to be done. Like most developing nations, India has to cover distance of centuries in decades, making the transition from agrarian society to industrial society and then to information society. Science and technology have made their debut rather late in India.
For sustainable development, right person at right place – To absorb such a transformation, the main thrust of the authorities should be employ persons at all the levels of administration according to the requirements of the posts. Good governance needs as many persons as possible with knowledge, expertise, efficiency and who are capable to apply science and technology in the work of administration. It would expedite the task of governance and provide transparency and give relief to the public. To find out right persons for good governance, a system of healthy competition for placements is required. Government should give more importance to sustainable development of nation rather than to employ people just to reduce social inequalities artificially. This is truer in a large country like India, where perplexing diversities exists in geography, language, race and culture since ages, and pervades every aspect of life.
Role of executive in governance – Amongst all the three wings of the government, the Executive affects the daily life of the people the most, as it implements the policies, the laws and the programs. Bureaucracy is an important component of the Executive. Any laxity in the performance of this Service would jeopardize the objective and push the developmental goals behind.
Challenges before the present Government – Some basic problems after the Independence have been – Poverty, low per capita income, illiteracy, dependence of at least ¾ of her population on agriculture, industrial backwardness, capital deficiency, rapid population growth, unemployment and under-employment, prevalence of backward technology, under-utilization of natural resources and unsuitable social structures.
- Population explosion – Population is exploding virtually unchecked. Standards of education have declined beyond any remedy and it has become inefficient, wasteful, dysfunctional and increasingly unrelated to national needs and aspirations. Illiteracy of masses is still a problem in the society.
- Challenges on economy-front – Because of the factors mentioned above, the growth has been very slow and the economy of the country has always been in a bad shape. In the absence of enough capital or skilled personnel or able management and efficiency, the level of productivity has remained low, leaving little surplus for saving and capital formation. In addition to all this, by and large, the absence of able and honest leadership and lack of efficient and clean administration are the main reasons for persistent economic backwardness.
- Periods of strife and conflict – The periods of unity, in our history, have been lesser as compared to periods of strife and conflict. The partition of the nation, the three wars, the swelling streams of nearly a crore of refugees from Bangla Desh and Sri Lanka, the periodical terrorist attacks, famines and floods, recent economic depression has adversely effected the whole nation. Each has to be tackled firmly and speedily.
- Divisive forces – There are new divisive forces due to diversities India, which base themselves on cultural and linguistic variations of the country. Today the violence in West Bengal, Bihar, J&K, Assam and Punjab is a serious challenge before the administration at various levels and that unless local problems are solved speedily, they are likely to pose a new threat to the unity and stability of the nation as a whole.
- Regional Disparities – There is a wide gap between the rich and poor and between region to region. Some states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Punjab are marching ahead rapidly under the stimulus of the plan schemes, while others are lagging behind and re unable to find adequate resources to implement the schemes. Therefore, the gap is widening between the prosperous and backward states. Besides, within each state, there are pockets of poverty amidst plenty – such as dry and hilly areas as well as those with tribal populations are still far below the national average. This gives rise to new tensions – social and economic and the stability of the society is threatened. The administration of the country has to face this challenge and take up lead in reconciling regional interest with national unity.
- Challenges at Social front – The administration of the nation has to face many challenges at social front also. Pervasive corruption and indiscipline has weakened the social fabric beyond repair. Generally law follows social change, but in India the Government is trying to foster social change through law. Some unpleasant changes took place in the past and are increasing every day in the character, role and inter-relationship of the main constituents of the national elites – the political executive, the legislators, media, the businessmen, the organized workers, the surplus farmers and the bureaucrats. Sectoral and regional imbalances are also sources of great social and psychological tensions.
- Bitter relationship between Centre and the States – The political and administrative atmosphere is also not in harmony with the developmental activities of the administration. Due to India’s unique federal structure, many complexities arise due to tense Centre-State relationship. Also there exists a great deal of friction, tension and mutual suspicion between different political parties, as well as the political leadership and the administrators. This results in delay in decision-making, lack of coordination of policies among departments and lack of dissemination of information for effective decision making and thus either procrastination and long delays or inadequate and inapt policies.
- Corruption – “Corruption, embezzlement, fraud, these are all characteristics which exist everywhere. It is regrettably the way human nature functions, whether we like it or not. What successful economies do is to keep it to a minimum.” (Alan Greenspan) In India, after six decades, the country’s democracy has given too much space to corrupt and inefficient governance without any accountability towards public. People have also become immune to corruption, inefficiency and poor governance in public life as normal.
Conclusion – Spiritual Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shanker says “Peace and progress can only happen through reconciliation and reform. Reform cannot happen out of anger or hatred. We need a calm and clear mind, a compassionate approach, along with the whole-hearted participation of the parties concern.”
Common man in India is still waiting hopefully for good governance. People are hopeful that with the result of previous few elections in centre as well as in states, majority party is forming the government instead of coalition governments, the situation should become easier for the ruling authority to provide good governance to the nation. Advancement in technology also is helpful in making the task of the government easier.
However, at present, all political parties pay more attention to ‘propaganda, publicity and populism’, attention-catching slogans and stunts rather than working for the welfare of common-men, and giving relief to the common man. They are busy to connect themselves with people through media, “publicity driven” campaigns, print-media, social-media, television, radio, advertisements etc. Instead of working for the welfare of people and development of the nation, they are wasting or misusing lots of money and public funds on propaganda. Rival national and regional parties are also fighting all the time over distribution of powers between national and provincial governments.
[i] Paipandikar VA, Bureaucracy in India – An Empirical Study, IJPA, pp187, Vol. xvii, no.2, April-June, 1971.
[ii] Shourie HD, Bureaucracy Baiting, The Tribune, June 18. 1992, p6.
[iii] Rajagopalachari C, Talk delivered on August 14, 1955, under Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel lecture.
[iv] Valson EM, Development Bureaucracy. A tentative Model, IIPA, vol. XVIII no. I, pp36-50.
“Life is there to live and live happily”
“It is good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you have not lost the things that money can’t buy” George Lorimer
Introduction – Life is there to live and live happily Almost everyday people, people wish to their near and dear one, ‘be happy’, ‘enjoy the day’, ‘enjoy life’, ‘enjoy the trip’ ‘enjoy your holidays’ etc. etc. But the irony is that hardly most of them know or understand what is true happiness, how can they be happy.
Issue – But how? The main problem is how to make people realize what is happiness, how can they be happy and what they should do or what are the ways and means to achieve it.
What is happiness? – For many people, for enjoyment and happiness they should have muscle, money or political power. Some get happiness lies in getting name, fame, wealth or in securing for themselves important positions in the corridors of authority – be it social, political or economic. For them, authority over others is enjoyment. They like to control the destiny of other people around them and have a say in all important matters of society/nation.
Youth of the day find happiness in visiting and holidaying in world’s most exotic locales, purchasing expensive goods and clothes, providing best education to their children, buying expensive cars and residences in exclusive areas and ultimately retire rich. For fulfilling all these desires, they would require a handsome amount of money. Without enough money at hand and good bank-balance, they feel insecure and restless.
Does material success give happiness – Material success does matter in life and is necessary to be comfortable and to enjoy in life. There is nothing wrong to pursue ambitions and self-interests and make efforts to be successful in life. All are supposed to lead an active and happy life especially when they are young, because youth is the most energetic and most enjoyable period in anybody’s life. As far as possible, it should be free from worries and tensions. Nature offers maximum opportunities to young people to utilize their intellectual and physical capabilities and enjoy the life the most.
In Hinduism, ‘Grihasthashram’, (young couples leading a family life) are advised to work for financial and material gains, get involved in economic activities of the nation and fulfill their dreams and ambitions. But at the same time, they have certain duties/obligations towards society. They are the trustees and managers of social estate. They are supposed to fulfil their duties towards family members – parents, wife/husband, children and elders; towards the rest of the society, helping other people in need of protection/help; and towards nation by observing the law of the nation and pay taxes honestly on their income.
Young couples are the main contributors and ‘Society’ is the recipient. They are supposed to make direct/indirect contribution to the society consistent to their capacity, knowledge and conscience. Taking proper care of toddlers and elderly/old people, proper maintenance of institutions of learning, NGOs involved in social service and support the poor etc. are included in their duty. They are also supposed to be sensitive and compassionate to the problems of weaker sections of society.
Can only money make one happy? – George Lorimer suggests “It is good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you have not lost the things that money can’t buy” (George Lorimer, TOI, Sacredspace, P.16)
A million dollars question arises – Can only money or material success buy happiness? Such questions are being asked from time to time. People thought over it, tried to get an answer but have never been satisfied with the answer. The answer depends on just what one means by ‘happy’. Present generation born and brought up during the era of materialism and consumerism regards money the most important thing in life. Many people are running after money blindly. It needs to be understood that money is the means, not an end in itself. Money is not the master or sole aim in life. It is supposed to be the servant. Money is important and useful for meeting day to day requirements and basic needs of the life, but ‘greed’ or aspiring for more and more money does not make a person happy. More one has, for much more he desires. Once craving for money starts, there is no end to it. ‘Satisfaction’ with what one achieves in life or possesses and living within its limits gives more happiness than always craving for ‘more’.
What money can’t give – Some successful persons feel that happy and satisfied with what they have earned or achieved in their lives. But most of the times, such happiness is superficial and short-lived. Money and material successes can make one happy for a short period, or provide comforts in life or satisfy their ego up-to certain point, but can not buy sustainable happiness in life. People keeping themselves busy in earning money, hardly get time to enjoy life’s little pleasures.
There is a large number of persons, who are poor, unemployed or underemployed. It is difficult for them even to fulfill their basic requirements. Unemployment is continuously increasing and prices of commodities are soaring after the great economic depression of 2008. Because of the lack of opportunities, money and numerous temptations, many of them are tempted to adopt wrong means including extortion, violence etc. to become rich overnight. These are one of the main reasons why corruption, crimes, violence or thefts are increasing amongst all the sections of society every day. It is becoming very difficult for the government to maintain law and order situation properly. There seems not much hope for the improvement of the law and order situation in near future.
What is happiness according to Hindu Philosophy
According to Hindu philosophy, real enjoyment/happiness (आनन्द) means ‘Satchitanand’ which includes in itself three things –
Cit (चित्), and
Sat (सत्) or path of righteousness – Sat refers to what is true and real. It inspires one to be true/honest to oneself and to others. It enables a person not to live in an illusionary world, but to accept the facts or realities of life and then decide his/her course of action.
Tremendous will power and a strong character is required to follow the path of ‘Sat’. It is difficult to follow the path of ‘sat’ for persons with weak faculties of mind. One needs to control or abandon passions like lust, anger, greed, vanity, conceit or over-joy, as it leads only to sorrow and distress.
Cit (चित्) or mindset/consciousness, knowledge, awareness or wisdom, Wisdom controls passions. It leads to balanced mind-set and controls irrational desires or passions. A balanced mind directs a person towards path of righteousness and achieve in proper manner desirable objectives.i
Ānanda (आनन्द) or happiness – Usually a common man devotes his/her time, effort and energy in satisfying the physical basic human needs. Real happiness lies in the development of ones inner self. One needs to have a balanced mind for being happy. Whatever comes on the way in life, one must accept that. Indian value system teaches an individual to accepts his surrounding, as it is and try to extract from it, whatever happiness he can. An Indian does not find life a vale of tears, from which to escape at all costs. It is said that Indians do “not count wealth in money alone, there is richness in their poverty.”
A person, whether rich or poor can be happy if he is able to keep a balance between his material (physical body) needs (be it money, attachment, material pursuits or ego) and spiritual needs (of soul).
How to achieve ‘Satchitanand’?
For reaching to the stage of ‘Satchitanand’, it is necessary –
- Positive attitude
Role of knowledge – It is not the money but acquisition of Knowledge, which is necessary to become happy. For real happiness people focus on pursuit of right kind of knowledge, maintenance of harmonious relationships with fellow-beings and health are more required rather than anything else.
Knowledge is essential the purpose of giving activities, their due meaning and value and make a person happy. Even a wise man may get puzzled without knowledge, as to what he should do or should not do. Therefore acquisition of knowledge is the most important thing in life. It is only after gaining knowledge, a person could understand well the real nature of work and could distinguish correctly between action, forbidden action, and in-action.
Positive attitude – A person is, what he thinks. Negative thought generates negative energy that is transformed into illness/bad feelings. Negative thinking pushes a person backwards. It pushes away the solutions and enlarge problems. It leads to pessimism. It is better to light a match that to regret the darkness. A bee is small, but produces one of the sweetest things -honey – that exist.
Positive thinking brings happiness, serenity, blissfulness and sensitivity. It helps one to achieve success and to reach up-to great heights. Positive attitude towards life inspires in human beings qualities like sincerity hard-work, honesty and uprightness. For leading life in a positive way, one’s actions(Karmas) need to be performed with balanced mind. A person should adopt the path of righteousness without any bias.
True education is self-acquired and leads to self-awakening and to live with wisdom. Self awareness brings in love, peace harmony, joys and ‘Bliss’ Formal education in schools usually teaches to maintain external things or what exists – to preserve the systems, culture, religion and philosophies and prepares people for employments. All the time people worry about losing in the maintenance process. Human life is to live, not just to maintain.
Contentment – Contentment has an important role in life to make one happy. There is enough for everybody’s need in this world, but not enough even for a person’s greed. Contentment can generate happiness or feeling of real enjoyment in life amongst those who have enough money for fulfilling their basic needs. Hindi poet Kabir has said –
“Godhan gaj dhan baji dhan aor ratan dhan khan,
Jo ave santosh dhan sab dhan dhhuri saman.”
(meaning all kind of wealth in this world can not bring that kind of satisfaction to human beings as contentment brings)
In India, it is a proverb that Lakshmi, ‘the goddess of wealth’ is quite unpredictable. With great effort a person learns to earn the wealth righteously, spend it properly and keep it safely. (Lakshmi bahut chanchala hai, isko sambhal kar paana, rakhana aur kharchana, teeno bahut tapasya ke baad aata hai. Quoted from the booklet Anmol Moti, written in !940’s by Shri Bhagwati Dayal Khare , an Advocate, Barabanki, U.P.)
Indians believe that achievements only at physical plane do not always make a person happy, successful and strong. Such a mindset gives rise to greed, anger and passion and most of the times (s)he is not able to maintain good relations with others. Materialism, consumerism, ruthless competition for positions of power, money and VVIP status in society or desire to have all the pleasures of life at others cost have brought some unpleasant changes in the mind-set of people in recent past and is increasing every day in the character, role and inter-relationship of the following main constituent of the national elites – political executive, legislators, businessmen, media, organized workers, surplus farmers and bureaucrats etc.
Winding up – With positive thinking and contented mindset, child-like innocence is also required for happiness, which guides one to forgive and forget easily, carry no grudges against anyone, focus attention on the present, and keep always alive curiosity to understand new things and spirit of adventure.
True education and learning removes ignorance and trains the faculties of a person towards positive thinking and channelize his/her energies towards right direction. Positive thinking inculcates in human mind discipline and productivity. A knowledgeable person does not believe in discrimination. All persons rich or poor, high or low, forward or backward appear equal. Detached mindset helps them to live together peacefully in this world.
Positive-thinking leads towards clear objectives. Clear objective decide the right course of action. Choosing right path or course of action makes a person happy and contented. For happiness knowledge, wisdom and intellectual intelligence is necessary. Intelligence itself brings in financial independence. Limit one’s desires/over-ambitions. Even best ones are short-lived. Whatever comes in the way, one must accept it gracefully with positive mind-set and try to make efforts to extract the best out of the worst circumstances.
i Manusmriti, II, 94.
ii Bhagwat Gita, IV 14,15,16,and 17
iii Manusmriti, II, 3 and 5.
- Wisdom/Enlightenment and empowerment
- Rights and duties
- Role of Bureaucracy in good governance
- India – Unity in Diversity
- Fusion of many cultures in India
- Theory of biological Evolution
- Dalit Assertion, A Journey from ‘Shudras’to Outcastes, to’Panchamas’ and to ‘Dalits’
- Untouchables (“Dalits” of modern India) in Ancient India
- Happiness in life
- Census operations
- Good Governance
- Basic tenets of Hindu philosophy/Hinduism