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Similarities between Reservations in government jobs and story of ‘an ant and ‘a grasshopper’

“Work is worship. There is no substitute for hard-work”


The similarity between the story of an ant and a grass hopper and present scenario of sharp contrast and disparities existing in the position of well-educated, enlightened people or intelligentsia and forward sections of Indian society, mostly belonging to upper castes, (demographically small in size like ant of this story) and poor masses (mostly belonging to lower castes and demographically large in numbers, like a grass-hopper of this story). During the whole of 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, people mostly belonging to upper castes, shaped the course of events for decades to come and even beyond by taking initiative to challenge the imperial power. They faced all the brunt of the British ruler’s anger, while engaged in the national and reform movements, worked hard, made many sacrifices to break the vicious web created by the British rulers for economic exploitation and their intrusion into Indian culture on one hand and on the other internal weaknesses of Indian society engulfed in evil practices and superstitions.

Old story of the ant and the grasshopper with new interesting twist (Quoted from

Old version of the story

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant’s a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out the cold.

Modern version of the story

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks the ant’s a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Masses have been happy with the small favors bestowed on them by the rulers and short-term benefits by giving them an opportunity to be equal in social status with the advanced sections of society. They are totally unmindful of the after-effects and cruel intentions of the rulers to “divide” the Indian society and “rule” it as long as possible.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. NDTV, BBC,CNN show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. The World is stunned by the sharp contrast.

The present political scenario of the country as how the government deals with the issues controlling the fate of the nation and millions of its citizens is quite similar to it. How can this be that this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so? Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house. Medha Patkar goes on a fast along with other grasshoppers demanding that grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter.

Amnesty International and Koffi Annan criticize the Indian Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the grasshopper. The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the grasshopper (many promising Heaven and Everlasting Peace for prompt support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance).

Opposition MP’s stage a walkout. Left parties call for “Bharat Bandh” in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry. CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among ants and grasshoppers. Lalu Prasad allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian Railway Trains, aptly named as the ’Grasshopper Rath’.

Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act [POTAGA]”, with effect from the beginning of the winter. Arjun Singh makes Special Reservation for Grass Hopper in educational Institutions & in Government Services. The ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government and handed over to the grasshopper.

In a ceremony covered by NDTV, Arundhati Roy calls it “a triumph of justice”. Lalu calls it ‘Socialistic Justice’. CPM calls it the ‘revolutionary resurgence of the downtrodden’. Koffi Annan invites the grasshopper to address the UN General Assembly.

Many years later … The ant has since migrated to the US and set up a multibillion dollar company in silicon valley. 100’s of grasshoppers still die of starvation despite reservation somewhere in India. As a result of losing a lot of hard working ants and feeding the grasshoppers, India remains -a developing country!!

Demand for national solidarity

On the issue to uplift of weaker sections of society, observations, comments and suggestions of Kaka Kalelkar, Chairman of the First Central backward Class Commission, 1955, goes well with the story told above. In his note of dissent, ha had expressed his views on the issue of Reservation in class I, II, III and IV Services of  Government of India.

  • According to him, “National solidarity in a democratic set up demands Government to recognize only two ends – the individual at one end and the nation as a whole at the other. Nothing should be encouraged to organize itself in between these two ends to the detriment of the freedom of the individual and solidarity of the nation. All communal and denominational organizations and groupings of lesser and narrower units have to be watched carefully, so that they do not jeopardize the national solidarity and do not weaken the efforts of the nation to serve the various elements in the body politic with equity. Mutual help, mutual respect and mutual trust are the touchstone, on which all communal and denominational activities will be tested and anything that undermines it, will be expected and brought to book.” …
  • “Communalism and casteism are bound to destroy the unity of the nation and narrow down the aspiration of our people.” I
  • “The special concessions and privileges accorded to Hindu castes acted as a bait and bribe inciting Muslim and Christian Society to revert to caste and caste prejudices and the healthy social effect by Islam and Christianity were thus rendered null and void.” (Para iv)
  • When to bestow special concessions? – In his note of dissent, Kaka clarifies that “It is only when a community is proved to be working  under a special handicap and is not allowed to freely function as a citizen, that the state may intervene and make a special provision for the advancement of such under-privileged and handicapped communities or persons… A general formula for helping all persons to whatever caste or community, they may belong, should be made.” (Para viii)It is not enough to prove that one community is regarded inferior by another. The Christian may look down the Jews and the Jews may retaliate with the same feelings. The Brahmins ‘Learned section of society’ may regard ‘Banias’ (business community) as inferior and the ‘Bania’, in his turn, may regard a ‘Brahmin’ as a mere social dependent. Such opinions and prejudices do not come in the way of the full growth of the backward communities either educationally or economically….. It is for them to make necessary efforts for their prosperity. They will naturally receive whatever help is available to all citizens.” (Para vii and viii)
  • Views on caste structure – “We are not blind to the good intentions and wisdom of our ancestors, who built the caste structure. It was perhaps the only way, through which they could teach the nation to forget and rise above racial clan-ship, tribal and similar biological groupings of society and to accept a workable arrangement of social existence based on cultural hierarchy and occupational self-government.” iii
  • Contribution of ‘Upper Classes’ in uplift of weaker sections – He said “It would be well, if representatives of the Backward classes remembered that whatever good they find in the Constitution and the liberal policy of the Government, is the result of the awakened conscience of the upper classes themselves. Whatever Government is doing by way of atonement is readily accepted and acclaimed by the nation as a whole. The upper classes have contributed their share in formulating the policies of the Government Removal of untouchability, establishment of equality and social justice, special consideration for backward classes, all these elements found place in the Constitution without a single voice of dissent from the upper classes.” iv
  • Need to introduce sound system of basic education – “If the backward communities have neglected education it is because they had no use for it. Now that they have discovered their mistakes, it is for them to make the necessary efforts for making the leeway…As far as the assistance in the matter of education for the backward classes, I am convinced that introduction of basic education in all the states with help the backward communities to cultivate self-confidence. They will also have a better chance of succeeding in open competition and having the special advantage of mixing with people and serving them, they will prove themselves better administrators and leaders of society.”v
  •  ‘Services are not meant for the servants but for the service of the society as a whole’ – He also said very clearly, “I am definitely against Reservations in Government services for any community for the simple reason that services are not meant for the servants but for the service of the society as a whole. Administration must have the services of the best men available in the land and this may be found in all the communities. Reservation of post for certain backward communities would be as strange as Reservation of patients for a particular doctor. The patients are not meant to supply adequate or proportionate clientele to all the doctors, whatever be their qualifications.’ vi


Criteria of backwardness other than caste – “It would have been better, if we would determine the criteria of backwardness on principles other than caste.” (Para vii) According to him, “caste test was repugnant to democracy and the objective “to create a casteless and classless society by perpetuating and encouraging caste divisions.” (Para viii)

Kaka Kalelkar concluded that giving an additional weapon in weak hands was no remedy. The remedies the commission had suggested in its main Report were worse than the evil, they were out to combat. In his letter forwarding the Report, Kalelkar remarked, “I am definitely against Reservation in Government Services for any community for the simple reason that services are meant for the service of society as a whole.”


Note of dissent, Paras i, iii, iv, v, vi, vii and viii, Report of First Backward Class Commission, 1955.



October 26, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

India – One nation, One culture


India occupies a special place in the global society and Indian civilization 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. India comprises people of different ethnic, religious, castes, linguistic and regional identities.

Usually diversity makes divide easy. In India also, there have been periods of discord. However, the forces of unity have always been stronger than the divisive forces. Different identities in India have lived together for centuries and present a mosaic culture.

Factors leading to the unity of India – Important factors, which have kept unity and continuity of India intact, are:

  • Indian philosophy, Vedic literature and its value system – Indian philosophy contains a vast reservoir of knowledge. It is found in  Vedas, Upanishads, Sutras and Smritis. Basham says that Vedic literature contains “an ocean of knowledge in a jar.”

The Vedic literature is a magnificent example of scientific division and orderly arrangement of rules, in a few words, in different branches of human knowledge, covering almost all the aspects of life, be it phonetics, arts, literature, medicine, polity, metrics, law, philosophy, astrology or astronomy.

Indian philosophy and its value system still commands the respect and attention of an average Indian. The priestly schools had devised a most remarkable and effective system of transferring knowledge to succeeding generations in the form of hymns, restricting it only to those, possessing brilliant feats of memory and capability to keep extreme sanctity.

Only after raising oneself from ignorance, a person could be able to understand the greatness of the Indian value system. Like a jeweler, one could spot out gems from amongst worthless pebbles. A knowledgeable person could pick up knowledge and leave the undesired obsolete elements developed in it with passage of time.

 This gold mine of knowledge inspired not only Indians, but foreigners as well. Intellectuals from various countries have translated it in their own languages and reinterpreted it for a rational mind.

  • Doctrines of Varna, Dharma and Karma

The foundation pillars of the Indian civilization are the principles of Varna, Dharma and Karma, which give to the people, a purpose to live for and ideals to be achieved.

Doctrine of Varna gives the Indian Society a stable, sustainable social structure, which distributes and organizes performance of various functions. It has made it possible for the people to lead a quality of life and ensured the continuity despite numerous foreign invasions, migrations and assimilation of various groups.

The doctrine of Dharma defines the duties and vocations for different sections of society, ensures social harmony and prevents rivalries and jealousies.

Doctrine of Karma makes the inequalities, prevalent in the society, tolerable to an average Indian.

Together these principles laid the foundation stones of  Indian social structure and contributed to its growth. It has organized inter-relationship of various groups of society. These principles have given to the people a distinct character. It has defined their roles by distributing various functions and managed the performance to improve quality of life.

In the past, these principles had wisely directed all the activities – social, political, intellectual or economic – into proper life functions and controlled its malfunctioning or dis-functioning. It had made it possible for people to reach a high level of intelligence having specialization in different areas. It contributed to all round growth of cultural heritage and encouraged self-discipline, consciousness, self control and self-direction. Decentralized self-regulated systems were the mode in social, political and economic life in ancient India.

  • ‘Sanatan (eternal) Dharma’ of Hinduism takes care of the basic physical, mental and spiritual needs of the human beings at different stages of life. It nurtures the basic instincts of human beings over nature, after a deep study of natural instincts, inherent attributes and natural behavioral pattern.

It has prepared an atmosphere for co-existence of different groups –  be it ruler or ruled/rich or poor. It has provided unity of culture throughout India and serves to give Indian society coherence, stability and continuity.

  •  Tolerance – The spirit of tolerance and firm belief in the principle, ‘Live and let live’ has always been the part of Indian ethos. Indians believe in ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – The whole world is one family. Truth, Ahimsa, peace and non-aggression are the hallmark of Indian culture. Tolerance is most evident in the field of religion.

Tolerance is not confined to religion alone. It is seen everywhere in the Indian way of life. The people endure injustice and unfairness until they are pushed right to the wall.

John Fischer mentions, “Even during Bengal famine, an extreme situation – when necessity knows no laws, people did not take law in their own hands, nor was there any violence. No grocery stall, no rice warehouse, none of the wealthy clubs or restaurants was ever threatened by a hungry mob… They just died with docility, which to most Americans is the most shocking thing about India.’ Many times in the past, Indians had accepted oppression and exploitation without much protest, while such situations, elsewhere in the world, would have led to bloody revolutions.

Even today, the people are patiently tolerating the criminalization of politics, high-handedness of authorities, corruption, scams and scandals and inefficiency of the administration without much protest. Administration is one such area, where tolerance is harmful, as it not only hinders the development, but also pushes the nation backwards.

  • Validity to all religions – Hindu faith in an all pervading omnipresent god, multiplicity of gods and goddesses as representing some portion of the infinite aspect of the Supreme Being, inspired it to accommodate people of all faiths.

 Hinduism concedes validity to all the religions and does not lay down strictures against any faith or reject any religion or its god as false. That is the reason, why all the twelve major religions of the world are present and flourishing in India without any hindrance.

  • Path of assimilation – Hindu religion neither repulses any trend vehemently, nor allows others to sweep its established culture off its roots. It has adopted the path of assimilation. It does not force others to convert. It does not impose its beliefs, practices and customs on others. In the past, it has assimilated numerous social groups willing to join it.

C. Rajgopalachari said, “If there is honesty in India today, any hospitality, any charity…. any aversion to evil, any love to be good, it is due to whatever remains of the old faith and the old culture”.

Fusion of different cultures

As India passed through various phases in the past, each and every group left its influence on its culture, which came down to the present generation in an unbroken chain of succession, with some modifications and adaptations. All the sects present in India, whether foreign or indigenous, have been influenced greatly by Hindu thinking, practices and systems. Different religious communities also influenced Indian culture.

Following cultures have contributed in enriching the composite culture of India : –

  • Ø The growth, influence and refinement of values of different religions generated within the land of India.
  • Ø The interaction between value-system of indigenous religions of India and religions of diverse migrating or foreign communities like Islam, Christianity, Zorastarianism etc.

Vedic Hindu Culture

Vedic Hindu Culture is one of the oldest living cultures in the world. It mainly originated and flourished in northern parts of India and later on spread throughout India. The word ‘Vedic’ is derived from the word ‘Vid’ meaning ‘Knowledge’ and signifies’ ‘knowledge par excellence’.

The Vedic culture came into being due to intermixing of the culture of Aryan with the culture of indigenous tribal people of India during 2nd century BC to 650 AD. The origin of the Vedic culture can not be traced in any single founder; neither can it be confined in one single authoritative text.

Its knowledge has been handed down from time immemorial, earlier by verbal transmission and later on, in written form by the ancestor to succeeding generations. It has not prescribed final absolutes. It is a constant search for more knowledge. Vedas are not supposed to be the end of quest for knowledge. It is a non-ending process (Neti-Neti).

The strength of Vedic culture is proved by the facts: –

  • Despite centuries of foreign rule over 75% of Indian population remains Hindu.
  • Had it become obsolete, it would have given place to other religions and cultures.
  • It influenced almost all other religions found in India.

Buddhism and Jainism

Budhism and Jainism has influenced the thought, moral and life style of many Indians. Buddhism attracted equally the elite as well as the lower strata of Hindu society. Buddhism drew the attention of people towards the harsher effects of the caste system, sympathetic attitude towards lesser human beings and system of organised education. Major contribution of Jainism is the principle of non-violence.

Dravidian culture

After the sudden disappearance of Indus valley culture, of which the most characteristic feature was its town planning, Dravidian culture with its advanced social system, industry and trade made a mark in the South.

Islamic culture

After the tenth century, Islamic culture influenced the Indian culture substantially. Its influence could be seen in the rejection of elaborate rituals and caste pretensions. It preached a simple path of faith, devotion, brotherly love and fellowship. With the growing political strength of Muslims, the need for mutual understanding and communal harmony gave rise to Sufi tradition of Islam and Bhakti movement of Hindus. Both these emphasized the need for mutual appreciation, tolerance and goodwill. Like Buddhism, Islam also provided an alternative to people, wishing to opt out the caste system.

British Culture 

Eighteenth century onwards, the British culture influenced the Indian culture substantially, especially that of elite and intellectuals. Access to modern education, Western literature and philosophy gave Indians the understanding of liberal and humanitarian ideas of the West.

Some of the contributions of the British to India are political and administrative unity, many democratic institutions like Parliament, bureaucracy and concepts like rule of law, unified nationality, a common currency, a common Judiciary. They gave a new economic structure based on industrialization. British-rule gave an impetus to social progress and brought many reforms.

The British influence on Indian minds was as discussed below: –

  • Many reformers welcomed rationality and other good features of English culture. They advised people to interpret religion rationally and make efforts to eradicate social evils like Sati, child marriage, untouchablity etc. prevalent at that time.
  • Some people were so influenced by the alien culture, that they developed a complex about the primitiveness of Indian society.
  • Some reformists tried to revive their own rich ancient culture and prevent the masses from being swayed away by the glamour and materialism of Western culture. It gave the call for ‘Back to Vedas’.

Two aspects of Hindu culture received a good deal of attention of British: –

  • The Caste system and
  • Reluctance to convert people of other religions, on the ground that all religions are valid.

The British condemned the Caste system, but the later, they enthusiastically applauded.

Hindu, Islam and Christian religions had received substantial state patronage for sufficiently long period.

Assimilation and fusion of different cultures has been a continuous process of the India civilization. A major cultural synthesis took place during 6th and 10th century, between Vedic Hindu culture, Buddhism and Dravidian culture. Another assimilation was seen after the 10th century, when the thinking of Arabs, Turks and Afghan, mainly guided by reason, influenced Indian thought. Sufi and Bhakti movements are examples of this. These two sects taught the people to love and respect all human beings irrespective of caste or creed. These also brought changes in the nature of mutual understanding, communal amity and accommodation.

Once again, during the period between 18th century to 20th century, a major cultural synthesis took place with modernization and industrialization ushered in by the British.

Winding up

Many principles and cultures developed in the past, elsewhere in the world, had created such a wave that swept over the entire world for some time. An anti-wave, replacing such waves, emerged soon. It wiped off the previous influence. The Vedic culture, however, has proved to be an exception in this regard. There had been periods, when the Vedic culture became weak, especially under foreign rules. But it re-emerged every time, and whenever it re-emerged, it did not destroy other sects, it assimilated them within itself.

Despite of having different kinds of diversities, most of the times, the Indian society has been able to develop “an attitude of reconciliation rather than refutation, cooperation rather than confrontation and co-existence rather than mutual annihilation.”

It has happened due to basic tenets of Vedic culture along with tolerance, which are very close to every Indian. The principles of Varna, Dharma and Karma have contributed to the growth of the Indian society as a whole in a systematic way. It has organized orderly performance of various functions needed to provide a quality of life to its people. It prepared an atmosphere for co-existence of different sections of the society – be it ruler or ruled, be it rich or poor. It served to give Indian society coherence, stability and continuity; and held together different castes and communities having diverse languages and practices for generations – thus making unity in diversity a reality.

July 6, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lost Glory, Civil Services in India

Once upon a time, bureaucracy in India was known for its being ‘the backbone of imperial rule’ and ‘the steel-frame’, on which the whole system of administration depended. Though it mainly served the imperial interests, but it worked efficiently and effectively. Now it has become a ‘spineless’ because of its ineffective way of working. Quite often, it is called contemptuously ‘Babudom’. When, how and why did it lose its past glory is an interesting story.

Need of a bureaucracy – A Government roughly falls into two general processes – I) The process of politics, which consists of the activities of elected representatives of the people and ii) the process of administration to assist politically elected ministers, which consists of the activities of permanent bureaucrats/civil servants. These civil servants are professionally recruited and trained in various disciplines – functional, technical and specialist as well as managerial and generalist such as police force to maintain law and order, a diplomatic service for external affairs, technical services for Public Works Department or Electricity Departments, Railways and Customs etc.

Theoretically the administrative machinery is subordinate to the political arm of a government, but in practice, it plays a very important role. It 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 communism or socialism or capitalism. It can exist in a type of society, be it a dictatorial or a democratic society.

To run the administration of a country nicely, a band of capable officers—efficient, prompt, just and sympathetic—belonging to different disciplines of civil services are required. Though they always live behind the scene, but it is the bureaucrats/civil servants, who not only dig expert knowledge from the raw material, but give it a shape with a sense of commitment. Politicians come for a short period and go. It is the bureaucrats, appointed on a long-term basis, who provide continuity in the governance of the nation.

The civil service is, therefore, an indispensable part of any government. Due to its exclusive and specialist nature of work and the need for more expert knowledge in administration for improving the quality of life, the importance of administrative civil services increases day-by-day. In every administrative set-up, there are certain positions or posts, which might be called strategic from the point of view of maintaining the standard of administration.

Evolution of civil services in India 

British have laid down the foundation of many democratic institutions in India including bureaucracy/civil services. It is one of the oldest and most wonderful institutions, the British has bequeathed to India. It has a long historical background and is a product of centuries. It has evolved, slowly but steadily, under the three successive regimes—

  • The East India Company,

  • the Crown and

  • Indian Republic.

                                                    Under East India Company

Employees as traders – The term ‘civil service’, was first used in the late eighteenth century to designate those employees of East India Company. Roughly from 1606 to 1740, its employees, known as ‘Factors’, were managing primarily trading operations, and incidentally administrative work. Notably after Battle of Plassey, its administrative work grew more and more in size. Precisely from 1741 to 1834, the civil servants were entrusted with purely administrative activities.

Consolidated its position – After the annexation of Indian territories, East India Company consolidated its position as a dominant power in India by 1784. The spread of its authority changed the character and role of its employees, from merchants to that of statesmen, from traders to governors, and judges and magistrates. Earlier they were known as ‘writers’.

Tasks and performance during East India Company’s rule – The shape to bureaucracy was given during the regimes of Warren Hastings, Lord Cornwallis and Lord Wellasly. Lord Wellasly (1798-1805) created a corps of specially talented officers —selected from the Commercial services as well as army. These officers were called `pioneers’ and were made responsible for the pioneering task of settling newly conquered areas, making political adjustments, restoring law and order, assessment and collection of land revenue, administration of criminal and civil justice and some of developmental tasks to gain confidence of people.

The administrative structure under East India Company was simple, but effective. Formalities were the minimum. The officers possessed a high sense of responsibility. They developed traditions of character, initiative, imagination, understanding and paternalism. The civil service was not only a career for them, but something which they had built-up, united and administered. They were the spokesmen of its dumb masses and often fought with their superiors for the interest of the people. A civilian of those days said, “They ruled with an iron hand in a velvet glove”.

Responsibilities – In the absence of any fast means of communication, the officers at the district were compelled to take decisions of their own o important matters of policy and administration. The main characteristics of the administration during those days were as follows:

  • Concentration of authority and responsibility in the District Officer who was Magistrate, Collector, and Judge;

  • The area of the district was not so large as to make this undivided responsibility impossible. The District Officer had complete knowledge of his area and people;

  • The administration was based on a set of simple laws and rules, respected Indian Institutions and local customs, so far as they did not clash with the Imperial interest;

                                           Under the Crown (1858-1919)

Golden Period of Indian Bureaucracy – This was the golden period of bureaucracy. From 1858 to 1919,bureaucracy, especially the ICS, attracted best talents of British Society, mostly graduates from Oxford or Cambridge. During this period, the civil services were institutionalized. The whole system, from top to bottom, became well-knit, highly centralised and behaved like an unbreakable steel frame with all the characteristics of a full-fledged Autocracy (M.V. Pylee, Constitutional History of India, 1600-1950, p.28, Bombay, Asia, 1967).

Objectives of British rulers – – In 1858, when the transfer of power from East India Company to the British Crown became a reality, the foundation of the Indian Civil Services were formally laid. Without doubt, higher Civil Services during this period were exclusively made to suit the special needs of British Imperial Power.

The British Government was very clear about its aims and objectives – to maintain law and order, collect revenue and perpetuate British rule in India as long as possible, as India was like a precious ‘Jewel in the Crown’. It aimed to enforce due process of law, collect revenue, to maintain efficiency in all basic matters – crime, land revenue, records of rights and economy ( K.M. Pannikar, “The Development of Administration in India”, Bulletin of Public Administration, Patna, Patna University’s Institute of Public Administration, Vol. II, Nos. 2 and 3, p.14)The British Government in India did not favor its indulgence in any kind of social welfare activity, which would, later on, pose problems for Imperial rule in India. Initiative and actions were the aims to be sought.

ICS propped up as the elite service – ICS responsible for law and order situation and revenue collection was conceived and propped up as the elite service meant predominantly for British citizens. Its members were bestowed with all kinds of authority, favors, concessions and privileges. They exercised and enjoyed immense power and privileges.

Performance of Bureaucracy during Imperial Rule The bureaucracy of this period had developed certain traditions of independence, integrity, and hard work, though these qualities served the British interest. Due to its decisive role, these services, particularly the ICS, came to be called “Steel-frame of the whole structure”, which reared and sustained the British rule in India.

Centralization of Power – Unlike the decentralized administration during the East India Company, growth of rapid means of communication made centralization of administration possible. It not only became rigid in its class structure, but also became bureaucratic in methods and procedure of work. Centralization tightened the regulatory functions of the officials to supervise and control the subordinate officials and made the office procedure elaborate and cumbersome.

Sir William Hunter commented, “He governed most, who wrote most”. Thus came into being multiplication of reports, returns and correspondence and obsession for office work. Routine work and cumbersome office procedures severely affected the power of initiative and enterprise which were found in abundance in the older generation of the civil service. So much so, that those officers, who once wielded the sword so fearlessly began to grumble under the tyranny of pen. (H.K. Trevaskis, Punjab of Today, Vol. II, 1931, p.287)

Whiteman’s superiority” – Though Queen Victoria’s Proclamation of 1858 declared that her subjects, of whatever race or creed, were entitled to be appointed in all her public services, the British Rulers wanted the appointments in superior Services by the dictum of “Whiteman’s superiority” due to its decisive role in the governance of country. Lord Kimberley, the Secretary of State wrote in 1893, “It is indispensible that an adequate number of members of the civil services shall always be Europeans”. Viceroy Lord Landsdown stressed: “The absolute necessity of keeping the government of this widespread empire into European hands, if the empire is to be maintained” (Quoted from Bipin Chandra, p.158, Modern India).

Lord Curzon also justified this policy by stating as follows: “The highest ranks of the civil employee in India, those in the Imperial Civil Service, …. though open to such Indians, ….. must nevertheless, as a general rule, be held by the Englishmen for the reasons that they possess partly by heredity, partly by upbringing and partly by education that knowledge of the principles of government, the habits of mind and vigour of character, which are essential for the task and the rule of India, being a British rule, and any other rule, being in the circumstances of the case impossible. The tone and standard should be set by those, who have created it and are responsible for it”(Supplement to Gazette of India, , p.937, June 4, 1904).

Most efficient and effective civil services in the world – Without doubt, during this period, bureaucracy gradually developed into one of the most efficient and powerful civil services in the world. It developed certain traditions of independence, integrity, and hard work, though these qualities served the British interest. The bureaucracy, particularly the ICS, came to be known as the “Steel-frame of the whole structure”.

Under Dyarchy (1919-35)

Vanishing of idealism of the past – In post 1919 period, as the National movement intensified, the demand for Indianisation of higher civil services increased. Dyarchy promised progressive realization of responsible and self-government in India. India Act of 1935 allowed the continuance of only three All India Services, namely, Indian Civil Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Medical Service (Civil). These services performing control functions were kept under the direct supervision of British rulers. Certain All India Services, particularly, those dealing with service functions were provincialized like Education Service, Agriculture Service, Veterinary Service or services dealing with roads and building etc. Other services were not abolished abruptly or left to die its own death.

With the gradual Indianisation of All India Services, the class consciousness of these services became dim. British element in the service had lost its old sense of mission, was feeling frustrated. It weakened the solidarity of services.

Dampening effect on “The Espirit de Corps”– Indian public and leaders were already allergic to bureaucracy, not on the basis of its actual performance, but because they were a living symbol of foreign rule. Criticism of of the services by individual members in provincial and Central legislatures, the `ignominy’ of working under Indian Ministers in provinces, the non-cooperation movement of 1920-22, the insufficiency of salaries due to high price-rise in the wake of the World War I etc. have changed the character of Indian bureaucracy. It left a dampening effect on the attraction of Civil Services as a career service for British Youth. All efforts to attract them fell flat and the number of British Officers began to decline. They lost their old sense of mission and were frustrated. It is evident from the following chart: –





















Source: Misra BB. Bureaucracy in India, p292

Indian element in bureaucracy was imbued with a national spirit, looking forward to a day when Indian would be independent. These changes affected the “The Espirit de Corps” of these services.

Breakdown of the spirit of the civil services – Lee Commission (1923) was the first evidence of the breakdown of the spirit of the civil services in India. With the introduction of Dyarchy, the spirit of mild paternalism in them also began to fade. After it, there was no claim that the British Civil Service in India, competent though they continued to be to the end, was anything more than a group of officers doing their work for purely material considerations. The idealism of the past had vanished. (K.M. Pannikar, “The Development of Administration in India”, Bulletin of Public Administration, Patna, Patna University’s Institute of Public Administration, Vol. II, Nos. 2 and 3, p.14).

Under Provincial Autonomy (Post 1935 Period)

Fall in standard of governance – During this period, the ICS officials had lost much of its past authority and therefore, showed a noticeable fall in standards. The period after 1935 witnessed frequent clashes between the Indian Ministers and British officials.

Officials learnt to tolerate elected representatives – Post-1935 period taught the officials to learn to tolerate elected representatives and ministers. Those, who were still thinking in terms of their previous status and authority, took premature retirement. This period witnessed frequent clashes between the Indian Ministers and British officials and former’s helplessness in regard to All India Services.

Further deterioration in standard – Rowland Committee remarked: ‘The present position, in our judgement, is thoroughly unsatisfactory both from the point of view of the district officer himself as well as from the point of view of the efficiency of the governmental machine and welfare of the people in the district…He is expected to see that nothing goes wrong in his district, but he has little power outside. The Magistrate and Collector failed to see that things go right. He is supposed to compose differences between other officers, but he has no power to impose his will upon the recalcitrant. He can cajole and persuade, he cannot compel…In our view, the situation, if left to itself, can only deteriorate further because activities of the government in the mofussil will increase and practically every department is thinking in terms of a “Provincialized service” and makes little attempt to disguise its determination to go ahead with its own plans, without reference to any other part of the government’(Report of the Bengal Administration Enquiry Committee, p. 18, 1944-45).

No radical changes desirable – Report of the Joint Committee on Indian Constitution Reforms proposed that in the early days of `New Order’ and indeed until the course of events in the future could be more clearly foreseen, the new Constitution should not be exposed to risk and hazard by radical changes in the system, which had for so many generations produced men of the calibre (Report of the Joint Committee on Indian Constitution Reforms, Para 286, Vol. I, Part I, 1934).

Only fresh recruitment into these services was discontinued, thus enabling its painless extinction through the natural process of retirement, resignation and causalities of its members.

                                          During Interim Period (From 1947 to 1950)

Designs for Independent India – Many national leaders did not like the idea of building up a new India, the very machinery that was till now hampering and countering the freedom movement should be used. According to them the spirit of authoritarianism of bureaucracy under imperial rule could never co-exist with freedom.

Nation left with no alternative– Immediately after the independence, the nation had no alternative but to leave the things to time. During the last days of British rule, many problems arose, such as communal tension, lawlessness, Railway and Postal strikes, short-supply of goods and the danger of another famine in near future (P. Ramachandran, “Partition Legend”,  p.9, The Hindustan Times, September 1, 1980). This was followed by departure of British and muslim officers from higher services, partition of the country, Pakistan’s incursion into Kashmir and annexation of widely spread conglomeration of provinces and princely states in the Union of India, which made the situation worst at the dawn of independence. Events, invariably unplanned, were moving so fast that there was no question of even attempting to supervise their course.

Sardar Patel’s Foresight – Sardar Patel visualized the whole situation. He insisted on the continuance of same set-up of bureaucracy and assured the nation, “I wish to assure you that I have worked with them during this difficult period. I am speaking with a sense of heavy responsibility and I must confess that in point of patriotism, in point of ability, you cannot have a substitute…I wish to place it on record in this house that if, during the last two or three years, most of the members of the service had not behaved patriotically and with loyalty, the Union would have collapsed. ( Indian Constituent Assembly Debates, pp. 48-50, 1949).

                                        Under Indian Republic (Post 1950)

Changes in the role of bureaucracy

The performance and role bureaucrats, being the product of the same society, depended on changes happening in the social and political scenario around them from time to time. The image, Indian bureaucracy acquired after the independence, was that of effective bureaucracy under the able, sincere and visionary leadership of Patel, Nehru and Pant. Then, some where down the line, things fizzled out and became the committed bureaucracy of 1970s, demoralized bureaucracy of 1977, especially, after the Shah Commission proceedings, insecure bureaucracy of 1980’s and the corrupt bureaucracy after 1990. Personal upbringing, training and discipline has always kept a few of upright and honest officers away from these influences.

In context of free India – Shri C. Rajagopalachari had told the nation right in the beginning that performance of bureaucracy depended on the calibre of officials, who are appointed to its strategic posts. “For any administration to be good and efficient, as a whole, we want right type of men. The quality of men placed in position is more important than laying down of rules and methods of operation”.

This is more true in a large country like India, where there have been perplexing diversities in geography, language, race and culture, which have existed through ages and pervaded every aspect of life. In such a situation, it becomes necessary to evolve some standards and guidelines, whereby the interest of the nation, as a whole, is taken care of.

Pressing problems immediately after the Independence – After Independence many national leaders did not like the idea of building up a new India by the very machinery that was till now hampering and countering the freedom movement. – The main reason for continuation of the same administrative machinery was that during the last days of British rule, there were many pressing problems before the nation. Situation became worst at the dawn of independence because of departure of British and Muslim officers from higher services, partition of the country, Pakistan’s incursion into Kashmir and annexation of widely spread conglomeration of provinces and princely states in the Union of India, which made any drastic change impossible.

Along with it, there were other difficulties too, such an communal tension, lawlessness, Railway and Postal strikes, short-supply of goods and the danger of another famine in near future, arose. Events, invariably unplanned, were moving so fast that there was no question of even attempting to supervise their course. Therefore, the nation had no alternative but to leave the things to time.

Bureaucratic set-up after independence

Without depriving the States of their right to form their own Civil Services, there are many All India and Central Services recruited on an all India basis with common qualifications, with uniform scale of pay, members of which alone are appointed to the all the Strategic Posts throughout the Union. Sardar Patel was very sure that India has no alternative to this administrative system. He said, ‘I wish to place it on record in this house that if, during the last two or three years, most of the members of the service had not behaved patriotically and with loyalty, the Union would have collapsed.’ Civil servants and visionary national leaders built the infrastructure for a new modern India and for its all round development.

Objectives of the Government in free India

Since India became a Republic (1950), the aims, objectives and the role of government changed completely. The Constitution laid emphasis on national reconstruction and development—a shift from the traditional task of only maintenance of law and order and revenue collection. The objectives of the Government were now to launch a massive attach on five major evils of the society—Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness—and to secure to all its citizens “Justice—social, economic and political”. This change had brought about many new responsibilities pertaining to economic development and social welfare on the shoulders of its civil services. The civil service was supposed to come closer to masses and feel the agony of the millions of underfed, under-read and under-clothed citizens and then design strategies, formulate and execute policies, take right and timely decisions, initiate action and remedial measures for improving the lot of masses and upliftment of the country as a whole.

Role of bureaucracy during Nehru Patel era

During1950’s, the performance of IAS was at the best. It represented one of the finest services in the world. The image, it acquired immediately after the independence, was that of effective bureaucracy under the able, sincere and visionary leadership of Patel, Nehru and Pant. They remained as honest, upright and efficient, as the society around them had been or as their political masters wanted them to be. Higher civil services of government of India represented one of the finest services in the world.

Perfect tuning between leadership and bureaucracy – There was a perfect tuning between the leadership and administration. Together (with the tact and fairness of prominent national leaders and the coordination of able officers) they had solved innumerable pressing problems that came on the way at the dawn of independence. Once, it was decided to continue with the same bureaucratic set-up, the political leadership drew best out of the depleted administrative machinery and inspired it with proper correctives.

Administrators encouraged for ‘Free’ and ‘Frank’ opinion – Their vigilance, integrity and honesty saved the administration from falling victim to wrong practices. Political interference, in matters of day to day administration; was not much. The administrators were encouraged to give their free and frank opinion. They were free to work out details and implement their decisions. Only when something was found going wrong or implementation got unduly delayed, the political leadership interfered in administrative matters. The political and administrative wings of the Government together put the nation on the path of progress, accommodating diverse viewpoints and interests without bias.

Built infrastructure for new modern India – Officials of initial period tried to live up to the high standards set down by British ICS. They were hardworking, fair and prompt in taking timely decisions. The position of law and order was intact and people were living peacefully. They built the infrastructure for a new modern India and for its all round development.

Added responsibilities – In the early 1960s, besides executive functions, normal development work, basic planning and advent of five-year Plans exposed the administration to economic aspects of development. For the first time, officials were interacting with the economic functions.

The Industrial policy Resolution of 1956 laid stress on the development of heavy industries with public sector given an important role to play in the development of economy. The sincere efforts, organizing capacity and drive of bureaucracy put India at the tenth rank amongst the nations of the world in terms of industrial out-put by 1960.

Analysis of the role played by bureaucrats in this era – It was not, that everything was all right during this period. The structural change started putting the service under stress and changed its value system later on. The traders, industrialists and businessman expected favors for backing the politicians financially during elections, who in turn demanded compromise from the bureaucracy.

‘Ivory tower life style’ – The administrators of this period were criticized for their ivory tower life style, which alienated the bureaucrats from common man. However, now it is being realized that ‘ivory tower life style’ prevented bureaucrats from succumbing to outside pressures and helped them to remain honest, upright and impartial. But at the same time, alienation from common man, while on work and therefore, ignorance about the pulse of public started making bureaucracy weaker day by day. Unfortunately, after independence and progressively over the years, higher civil services at the centre began losing its sheen.

Corruption could not be rooted out totally – In 1962, Santhanam Committee observed that in the governance of the state, all the leaders could not set a standard of integrity that might justify the popular expectations. Even the leaders like Patel and Nehru could not root out totally the proliferating corruption in political and administrative set up. However, A good percentage of our public servants maintain and function in accordance with strict standard of integrity.On the whole, during this period, inner restraint and control had effectively led the officials to preserve the honour and fair name of the service and saved it from getting corrupt or spoiled by outside powerful agencies.

Mrs. Gandhi Era (1965 to 1980)

Era of ‘Committed Bureaucracy’ – The period, from 1965 to 1980 was an era of committed bureaucracy. With many of the old visionary leaders having gone from the national and state scene in the sixties, a rot started setting up rapidly in the administrative set up. During mid sixties, political climate at provincial level started changing.

New regional parties emerged at provincial level – Many new regional parties emerged at provincial level and came to power. Some states like Bihar, U.P., Haryana, and Punjab etc. witnessed political opportunism. Tall promises were made to win elections. Floor crossing, defections, attempts to topple Governments; betrayal of people’s faith and consequently political instability and frequent changes in provincial Governments became the order to the day. All this resulted in intensification of competitive politics. Mrs. Gandhi, after becoming Prime Minister in 1966, felt very insecure due to the hold of syndicate in politics. But she refused to act as a puppet in the hands of the syndicate and, therefore a split in Congress took place in 1969.

Economy of the nation under severe strain – The two wars of 1962 and 1965 followed by successive droughts in 1966 and 1967 put the economy under severe strain. Economic logic and administrative acumen was subordinated to the logic of politics. The developmental activities of the previous years could not keep pace with the challenges facing the country at that time. Concept of easy money started taking birth. The politicians relied more on populist slogans rather than on tackling the real issues troubling the progress of nation like population explosion, illiteracy, inadequate health care and poor social service programs. It led millions to poverty and unemployment.

Attempt to divert public attention from real issues to abstract issues – In order to divert public attention from real issues, abstract issues like social justice, socialism, secularism, communalism were floated in the political world. Government assumed a pervasive role of being the sole guardian of public interest and assumed tremendous authority in the name of socialism. Economic logic and administrative acumen was subordinated to the logic of politics. The developmental activities of the previous years could not keep pace with the challenges facing the country at that time.

Intoxicated political leaders – The absolute authority intoxicated the politicians, making them trample over everything including the democratic institutions – bureaucracy being one of them. The change in the political complexion of the nation was reflected in the performance of Administrative Service and its capacity to work impartially without any fear or favor.

The leaders of that time could not appreciate the value of efficient and impartial civil services and did precious little to check deteriorating standards of the service. The officers were not expected to be as loyal to the Constitution, as they had to be to their respective ministers. Bureaucracy gradually became more committed to the ruling party.

Sense of insecurity – Political upheaval made political leaders very insecure. For her political security Mrs. Gandhi thought it necessary to get complete hold over the bureaucracy. During 1969 to 1974, personality cult was promoted with full force. Politicians desired the bureaucrats to be completely committed to the ministers under whom they were working. Bureaucrats were supposed to be the servicemen to carry out the orders of political bosses.

Power of transfers, posting, and extensions as powerful arm-twisting measures – The simplest of the arm-twisting measures, which politicians took in their hands, was to take the power of transfers, posting, and extensions. It placed the officers at the receiving end. Political patronage gave encouragement to corrupt and ambitious officials. Shrewd officers, who could get away, if any wrong done, were given more importance. Upright officers with some mission and neutral approach had been sidelined.

On a sustained and systematic basis, the process of committed bureaucracy flourished, thus undermining the integrity, values, ethos and confidence of the service. IAS, the service of proven competence and integrity, too found it comfortable to toe the footsteps of the political leaders. They became a willing tool in the hands of politicians.

Bureaucracy lost capacity to be the true agents of healthy change – Earlier, attention was paid to initial training, Departmental examinations in accounts, civil, criminal and revenue laws and varied experience to understand, what happens behind the scenes. The role of senior was crucial, both to impart professional knowledge and also to inculcate proper service values like honesty – intellectual and pecuniary, impartiality in dealing with the rich/powerful and the poor/weak, political neutrality and so on.

Now professionalism of officers depends on amorality – meaning capacity to get done, what superior authorities want to be done and proximity – meaning getting closer to people having authority and position. Right or wrong, presence of laws, rules and regulations were irrelevant to smart officers. During Emergency in 1975, the trusted officers of the Congress Party were placed on crucial positions. Slowly, but steadily the service lost its capacity to be the true agents of healthy change.

Demoralized and insecure bureaucracy of 1980’s

Trend of bureaucrat politicians nexus – For the first time Government officials were made to depose before the Shah Commission for their alleged commissions and omissions during the emergency, sometime around 1080. The blames for failure of system were put on the bureaucracy. It demoralized the bureaucracy. With every change in the Government, there started the trend to shuffle the bureaucrats. It further developed the unhealthy trend of bureaucrat politicians nexus.

Unhealthy developments of 1980’s – During 80’s, terrorism raised its head. Escalated communal problems and economic developments gave rise to economic crimes. BOFORS became a big issue. Transfers, postings, accelerated promotions, suspension, denial of promotions had already bent the civil service to a great extent. Compromises, delays in decision making and shielding unjust acts of political masters by subverting rule of law, flourished in full during this period. One of the leading features was the deep involvement of a core group of civil servants in scandals. The crisis management and cover up operations were undertaken quite unsuccessfully by politicians.

Inter-services rivalry – Apart from being accomplices in politician’s corrupt practices, there was a rise in inter-service rivalries during 1970s and 1980s. Government could not give their due place and proper work atmosphere to its bright technical, scientific and professional personnel in bureaucracy. Their services were and are still required urgently for rapid industrialization and technical progress of the country. Professionals, by their very nature and training, work harder than their generalist counterparts. They are more target oriented in their approach and disciplined. Still they remain far behind their generalist counter-parts in matter of career progression.

Gradual shift in recruitment base – The rapid growth in education, liberal grant of scholarship and stipends, general improvement in the social standard and cultural values of rural people, rural development, economic and other concessions to weaker sections brought a gradual shift in the recruitment base from diverse background. It was hoped that people coming from widely varied background carrying with them diverse experiences would be better placed to appreciate the ground realties of the nation. The wider, the spread of recruitment net, the larger would be the talent base and richer would be the service.

Hope was belied – However, it belied the hope and made the service more vulnerable to political pressures and other extraneous influences. There was a fall in officer like qualities, which made the service object of reducible and contempt in the eyes of public. Mr. Tyagi commented, “The old zeal and stamina for strenuous work is now missing. Similarly moral considerations play a less conspicuous role in the official life of a civil servant today than formerly. As the country is moving forward in the direction of industrialization, the values and the old moral standards of its civil servants are tending to diminish. The civil service is less disciplined and less united today than it was formerly.(Tyagi, Ibid. p172).The adverse effect on the quality, work-culture and ethos of the service was not felt that much earlier, but in 1990’s groupism in the service became evident and harmed the integrity of the service to a large extent.

The Corrupt bureaucracy (1990’s)

Changes after the fall of Rajiv Gandhi’s Government – The political complexion of the nation underwent a revolutionary change after the fall of Rajiv Gandhis Government and then disappearance of Nehru-Gandhi family from the political scene. The era of instability started. The last time a general election in India producing a clear parliamentary majority was in 1984. Since 1989, the Governments are acutely handicapped by their minority status.

Criminalization of politics– It led first to politicization of criminals, then to criminalization of politics, which made it increasingly difficult for decent, peace loving people to breath freely. Mr. VN Narayan commented on the climate of 1990’s, We have a political problem (scams and scandals), but we have no political solution, we have a religious problem (Ayodhya), but no religious solution. There is an economic problem (poverty), but there is no economic solution (Liberalization). There is a social problem (Sectarian conflicts), but there is no societal remedy (Secularism and Mandalisation). There is a socio-medical disease (cancer of corruption), but there is no socio-medical cure (ministerial resignations and reshuffles) There is only one solution to all problems – a human and spiritual solution. We have to consciously move toward humanizing our social institutions and spiritualize (not communalize or secularize) ourselves(Times of India,  p1, July 27, 1994).

Transfer-posting Raj – The period between 1975 to the beginning of the 21st century was

the transfer-posting raj in the government. Successive ministers and political parties made it a money minting business. Administrators have lost out by letting the political class prevail. The critical first two decades after the independence were lost and by 70’s and 80’s the political class had come into its own.

Economic offences increased – “A dubious alliance among a section of bureaucracy, politicians and criminals led to the denials of fruits of economic development in the country. This period saw a marked shift in the complexion and scale of economic offences from the rough and tumble of gold smuggling and other merchandise to more sophisticated white collar crimes like bank scams, import andexport fraudsetc.”(Memoirs of Mr. Pande, former director general of DRI and economic intelligence bureau, quoted from TOI N.Delhi, p.14, dt.29.3.2008)

Explosive problems of this period – Instead of plugging the loopholes of the system, political leadership gave importance to electoral gains and losses and to attain political power, with an aim to lead a luxurious life at the cost of public money. The country faced many explosive problems, which made the nation weak and adversely affected the daily life of a common man in many ways. In the absence of any sound ideology and clear vision, the politicians of 1990s depended ideologically on “Caste”, “Community”, and “Political secularism” considerations, in pursuance of sectoral interests and use of power of money and muscle to widen their electoral base.

Polarization of society on caste and communal basis – This period witnessed complete polarization of society on caste and communal basis. Politics of Mandal had divided the society on a permanent basis, which suited the interests of sectional parties well. There are inter-caste and intra-caste, inter-community and intra-community and inter-tribal and intra-tribal conflicts.

Unstable governments – The result – hung Lok Sabha and Assemblies, loss of parliamentary culture and decorum, increasing fall in the standards, ability, values and conduct of legislatures, as is seen by poor quality of debates and scanty attendance in the houses of legislature, unruly behavior of members, scenes of pandemonium, all round erosion in the role of legislatures and bad image of legislator due to criminal records, corruption, manipulation, sale and purchase (horse trading) of legislators to increase their number in legislature etc.

Coalition governments – The Governments are formed, not on the basis of popular mandate, but through post election manipulations, unholy alliances, bargaining, horse-trading and give and take principle. Voter turnout in general elections hardly reaches 50% of the total population. It is difficult for any single party to get clear majority. Even the majority party in Parliament, without its alliances, could hardly get 25-26% voters support. A minority party, getting a few seats, forms the Government, with majority party supporting it from out side. Hung Parliament and hung assemblies give power to even marginal regional parties with handful of MPs and MLAs to dictate their terms and conditions to national issues and pursue their sectional plans.

Net result – The developments of 1990s threw challenges before the nation to run a viable, assured and stable Government to check casteism and communalism, to tackle separatist movement tactfully, keeping the unity and Integrity of the nation intact and to decentralize excessive concentration of authority at center.

“Toe the line” bureaucracy of 21st century

Rot in the steel-frame – The beginning of 21stcentury has seen the steel frame shaking

under political pressure. Transfer has become a powerful weapon in politician’s hands enough to make a bureaucrat compliant. “….Rarely are factors like competence, aptitude, past experience and public spirit taken into account while making appointments to responsible posts. Instead, these attributes are often a disqualification. Pliable functionaries, who are not overburdened with ethics, are handpicked for plum postings.” (Javed Chowdhary, 1965 batch IAS Officer, Quoted from Steel Frame to His Master’s Voice, Sakina Yusuf Khan, Sunday Times of India, New Delhi, May 4, 2003). There is a general acceptance that “toeing the line is better than standing up for principles and paying the price” Bhasker Ghosh (also an IAS Officer, ibid}. One wonder is the new age bureaucrat less idealistic, more pragmatic?

Simple living and high thinking – “In the fifties and sixties, bureaucrats could live comfortably on their salaries. Not any longer. More and more bureaucrats today use the system to make money.”{ A former diplomat G Parthasarthy, ibid}. Attuned to today’s highly competitive and material world, expediency, money and power are the main attractions in life for the youth of the day. Now-a-days nobody believes in the principle of ‘Simple living and high thinking’. The luxuries and comforts of modern materialistic world have lured everybody including the bureaucrats. Now Corruption, casteism and unhealthy competition to get hold of a few influential posts in the corridor of power has corroded the steel frame. Whatever salaries officials get is not enough for them to live the way they want in the modern world. It is one of the reason for increased corruption, casteism and unhealthy competition to get hold of a few influential posts in the corridor of power, so that they can make more money. It has corroded the steel frame beyond repair.

Critical analysis of the present day situation

Disintegration of society – At present, the country is facing caste-communal divide; forward-backward divide, urban-rural divide and division based on class, gender, language and region. The feeling of oneness has almost disappeared with the emergence of many myopic, local regional parties pursuing sectional interest. They, hypocritically shout slogans like, Socialistic pattern of society, Equity, Share in power structure or Secularismetc. which have, more or less, run out of steam all over the world. These abstract ideologies have been proved unable to solve the problems of poverty, overpopulation, deteriorating condition of law and order, violence and general coarsening of the moral fiber of the whole society.

Morale of the service at an all time low – The old values are dying, but the new ones could not be created for the benefit of the society as a whole. It has its adverse effect on bureaucracy, as well. Today, the morale of the service is at an all time low. Mrs. Gandhi started the concept of committed bureaucracy in early 1970’s, except for a few positions, but she usually honored the principle of seniority in making appointments. In the first instance, Rajiv Gandhi overlooked the principle of seniority, when he brought Mr. Kaul as cabinet Secretary, then brought Mr. Deshmukh. After that began the musical chair for higher posts and generally by-passing the seniority-rule.

Blatant use of ‘transfers’, ‘postings’ and ‘extensions’ – Every leader wishes to have his own men in senior positions, so that he could manage his course of action without much resistance. Politicians use the tool of postings and transfers arbitrarily and blatantly, while making senior appointments in the states or the center. With every change in the Government, be it in center of state, there is a shuffle and reshuffle in the bureaucracy. Some IAS officers in the states have been even suspended by the Chief Ministers in recent past. IAS association in UP had passed a resolution in 1997 saying, We are the leaders of the state administration. IAS officers can not be suspended on anyone’s whims and fancies. There is a procedure to follow… It is a simple rule of administration….”. Mr. Narsimha Rao, during his Prime Ministership, started giving extensions, year by year, to chosen officers, so that they could be put under control. Top posts were filled only for a short periods. In his 5 years of Premiership, Mr. Rao had four Cabinet Secretaries. There had been frequent changes in the position of Secretaries also.

Adverse effect on Work culture’ – The trend of having a following of one’s own in the service and giving plum postings to one’s loyalists has mortgaged the national interests. It led the nation to chaos, criminality and corruption. It has adversely affected the work culture. The Vohra Committee has vividly described the nexus that has developed between unscrupulous politicians, corrupt bureaucrats and criminals. The appointment of tainted officers at crucial positions itself makes the intentions of the politicians clear. It has also been felt that young recruits are acquiring more and more skills but are deficient in understanding and attitude.

Misappropriation of public funds – Corruption and misappropriation of public funds was always there, but not so rampant, as has been witnessed after 1990. The corruption has deeply entrenched into the system and become its integral part. It has acquired a kind of legitimacy, as a price to be paid for “Getting a job done in the Government and saving citizen’s Time, energy and money. Otherwise, one has to run from pillar to post to get a job done.

Liberalization – Liberalization was meant to ease government control on economy and reduce corruption. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out as desired. Numerous scams and scandals rocked the nation after 1990, like Bank Security Scam, Telecom Scam, Jain Hawala Scam, Bihar Fodder Scam, Petrol Pumps allotment Scam, House Allotment Scam, Public Service Commission’s scam in appointments (April, 2002) etc. These are the direct consequences of the nexus between the politicians and the bureaucrats. Most glaring were –

  1. Harshad Mehta Scam (1992) – The loss to banks was put at about Rs 5,000 crore. Till now (2011) banks are trying to recover what they can from the inheritors of Mehta.

  2. Enron Scandal (1992) – Dabhol power project of the US energy major in Maharashtra was always controversial. In late 2001 it came to light that Enron had for years concealed debt and overstated profits. The energy giant went bankrupt and several executives, including CEO Keneth Lay were convicted on many counts in 2006.

  3. Telecom Scam (1996) – In 2009, former telecom minister Sukhram was convicted by a Delhi court of accepting bribes to grant licences and purchase equipment from companies during 1993-96 tenure at the centre.

  4. Ketan Parekh Scam (2001) – The stockbroker was accused of engineering mayhem in the market. Parekh was banned from the capital markets for 14 years.

  5. Telgi scam (2003) – (Counterfeited stamp paper) Telgi allegedly had links with several officials anf politicians.

  6. Koda Scam (2009) – Jharkhand CM 2006-08, allegedly made Rs. 4,000 crore through graft, including grant of mining licenses, and illegally invested it in real estate, shares and other avenues in Mumbai, Kolkata, Thailand and even a coal mine in Liberia.

  7. Satyam Scam (2009) – It has falsified its accounts and diverted money to fund real estate transactions. Raju was arrested and is facing prosecution for a scam estimated at Rs 7,000 crore.

  8. 2G Scam (2010) – The award of spectrum to new telecom licenses in 2007 at 2001 prices sparked off a controversy. The CAG later held that the loss to the exchequer could be up-to Rs 1.76 Lakh crore.

Playing safe attitude of upright bureaucrats – Sincere and honest officers have lost interest in their work. They do not have much to loose, so long as they play safe, do as little as possible, take no risk, display no initiative and refer everything to the minister that involves taking important decisions. Many bureaucrats adopt the line of least resistance, though off and on, they are being criticized for their non-performance. Due to excessive political interference in day to day administration, the upright officers try their best to escape from district postings, where they are in direct contact with the public.

Adverse affects of frequent transfers and postings – For sustainable development, a bureaucrat needs a reasonable tenure in one post. In order to do justice to his work and to get a grip over the situation, one needs time to understand the atmosphere, to plan, to supplement it and to see the results. With politicization of services and tenure being increasingly insecure, offices work on the principle of short-term measures, which could yield quick results.

Senior’s support – Earlier during difficult situations a bureaucrat could depend on his seniors for help or advice. Now seniors, themselves being insecure, can not give support to their juniors. Failure to get seniors support at crucial moments further dips the morale of young and enthusiastic officers.

Career progression – At present, for moving ahead in career, competence or seniority carry much weight. It is not good enough to have right political connections, but also needs to belong to the right caste. After 1990, the card of Reservation and representation of Backwards in higher bureaucracy has been overplayed.

Politics of Reservations – A good governance is based on a delicate balance of relationship between multiple cultural communities. The politics of Mandalisation has destroyed inter cultural balance and harmony. Reservation is being used for political expediency. It has diluted the standards and integrity of the service as a whole. The poison of groupism and casteism has spread in the elite service as well. Praful Bidwani says,Social conservatism, casteism, communalism and provincialism are more apparent today in the services than in the past(Praful Bidwai, p15, Times of India, July 23. 1995).

Criminalization of politics – Some of the criminals, under-world Dons have joined the politics. They mix up freely with the bureaucrats and politicians. Mutual support is there to shield each others guilt, wrong practices and corrupt behavior. Given decline in character and morale of politicians and confusion about their objectives, the only role left for the service is to defend the deeds or misdeeds of the ministers before Parliament, Legislatures and public by twisting the arms of law in their favor. The high IQ, decline in value, expediency being the order of the day, this disastrous combination tends many bureaucrats to connive with politicians and others, whose only concern is to further their own interest and to benefit their kin and loyalists.

Perception of people about the bureaucracy of 21st century

People think that the present bureaucracy has developed some undesirable features like personal loyalty, dependent thinking, superfluous functioning, hierarchical thinking, distrust and class thinking. Its feudal framework, its tuning in British class discipline and its chaining in socialist ideology, prevent it to exhale the fragrance of free administration of a free state. Officers are inaccessible to people, resist changes, and favor status quo. They are obstructionist, inefficient and obsessed with the rulebooks, precedents and procedures. They hesitate to shoulder responsibilities for their actions. They either blame the political leadership or other technical or professional services in case of any wrong done. The decline in the standards of performance of bureaucrats can be seen in: –

 Acute law and order situation in the country, which includes Criminalisation of social and political activities,

 Half-hearted implementation and monitoring of developmental plans and policies resulting in increased number of illiterates, poor and unemployed.

 Impediments in the successful implementation of the new economic policy.

Who is to be blamed?– Most of the bureaucrats are not attuned well to the culture of creativity, dynamism, liberalism and progress, which needs open-mindedness, tolerance for listening to other’s ideas and views, giving dissent a chance, having a sense of responsibility, imagination, honesty and confidence. Majority of people blame present politicians for such a deterioration of the bureaucracy. Political parties have conditioned today’s atmosphere in such a way, that upright officers are identified very soon after joining the service and are sidelined. Key posts are given usually to ‘committed’ officers. Every change in power structure – at the centre or the state- follows mass transfers and placement of pliable officers on crucial posts.

Bureaucracy itself responsible for such a sad situation – Some people feel that it is not fair to blame the political leadership solely. The over-ambition of officers has incited the politicians. They themselves sought political interference to get desired postings and transfers. Now the politicians have learnt the tricks and interfere in administrative work, whenever and where-ever it suits them well. Disregard for merit, bloated size of the service, insecurity and changes in values have added fuel to the gradual decay of the service.

Humiliating situation for bureaucrats – Never before, the powerful bureaucrats faced humiliation and devaluation of its role and significance, as in the recent past. Ex-Minister Kalp Nath Rai, annoyed with his secretary went up to the extent of saying, Bureaucrats are just like servants… Chaprasis, who bring water, when you tell them to. They should not be allowed to act on their own. The Ministers today follow the dictum, Satisfy me, I will satisfy you.

Bureaucracy not supposed to play a secondary role –It is not fair for the elite government services to toe the lines of politicians and play a secondary role in the matter of administration, as they have Constitutional protection. There was a time, when officers could gather courage to resist irrational demands of politicians. During the times of Kairon, the Chief Minister, a chief secretary could tell Sir, you are elected, I am selected. But now in order to avoid confrontation, an officer finds it easier to provide rationale for a decision taken by the political boss.

Distracted the cream of the society to join government services – The suffocating atmosphere in the government services has distracted bright young people to join the government. They either join private sector especially information technology area or go abroad, where they get recognition for their talent, respect in their circle, atmosphere to work and handsome salaries with many perks and facilities as well as command prestige in the modern industrial world because of their calibre.

Usually, when young men join the service, they are full of enthusiasm to meet the challenges and to do something positive and creative. But the realities of life, political and bureaucratic culture evaporate their enthusiasm soon. Circumstances teach them to compromise their neutrality, creativity and professionalism. Those unable to do so, find the atmosphere stifling and unresponsive. The dream of visionary Sardar Patel of apolitical Indian Administrative Service has been throttled by the present day political leaders because of their vested interests.

Winding up

There is decline over the years in the quality, competence and commitment of the officers. In-discipline, violence and lawlessness are increasing every day allover the country. The task of governance has become very difficult. People wonder, why the steel-frame of yesteryears has been corroded to such an extent that it is failing to do its job effectively and judiciously despite having a constitutional status with enough powers to deal with unwanted situations. They are surprised why these officers could not take stand against those dictates of their superiors (political leaders or bureaucratic superiors) which stops them from doing their jobs judiciously.

Way out

The only way to get out of such a depressing situation is to form a slim and trim bureaucracy as suggested by Parthasarthy. A smaller bureaucracy with a smaller role, greater transparency should be set up and there should be a statutory Civil Service Board to control postings, promotions and transfers.

It is not fair for the bureaucrats to toe the lines of politicians and play a secondary role in the matter of administration, as they have Constitutional protection. Besides their task to work without any fear, favor, undue pressures or political interference has been made easy these days in the presence of vigilant mass media.

Many persons from intelligentsia are still hopeful that, despite all the weaknesses, the bureaucracy, which had helped the political leadership in transforming the British colonial Government with a democratic republic, met successfully the challenges of resurgent India and laid the foundation of modern India and recently pulled the nation out of the great economic depression could still perform miracles with the help of a few really brilliant officers. There are still few bureaucrats, who are committed, idealist and hardworking. They, along with some more sitting on the fence, could successfully meet the challenges of 21st Century. They only need once again, the sincere and committed leadership, which could understand their position and allow them to function judiciously.

(Fundamental causes of the deterioration of bureaucracy to be discussed in my next post – “Ailments of Present bureaucracy”)

July 4, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Resume of Dr. Lata Sinha

At present

Permanent member of AIWC since 1978 –  an NGO working for education, enlightenment and empowerment of women since 1927.

Member-in-charge A.I.W.C. from 2013 to March 2017. Edited and published five Newsletters for AIWC, which were circulated all over India – the branches of AIWC and concerned Government Officials.

Managing Trustee of ‘Bhagwati Dayal Scholarship fund Trust (private) from1977 to 2000. It gives financial help to about 40-50 poor Kayastha students, widows, and poor students taking up professional courses irrespective of caste or creed.

Participation in International Conferences

  • 2013 – Attended Conference organized by International Women’s League, held in Lincoln Hall, London.
  • 2014 –UN/CSW 59 – In New York
  • 1992 – Triennial Conference of International University Women’s Association, held at Stanford University, USA. Invited as Workshop Leader on “Role of Home-wives in Nation-building”.
  • 1978-1979 – Annual Extension Lectures Certificate on cotemporary international issues, Organized by JNU School of International Studies

6 Research Experience

  • 1989-98 – Part-time Research Associate (University Grants Commission, India) for post-doctoral work on the theme “Reservations in India administrative Service”. Under the supervision of Dr. R.B Jain, then the head of the Department, Political Science, Delhi University, Delhi.
  • 1978 to 1986 – For Ph.D. in political Science from Allahabad University in on “Education and training of higher civil services”, under the guidance of Dr. H. M. Jain, then the head of the department of Political science Department, Allahabad, University.
  • 1975 – Fellow, Indian Institute of Constitutional and Parliamentary Studies, prepared research paper on ‘Judicial Review and 42nd Amendment act,( written during Emergency period, declared by Indira Gandhi’s Government in 1975) under the supervision of Retired Law Secretary to Government of India (An ICS officer)
  • 1975 – Research paper on “Civil Services in India” for Diploma certificate, awarded by Indian Institute of Constitutional and Parliamentary Studies.

8, Award-winning Essays

  • !972 – “Democratic Values and Indian Society” by Indian Institute of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs,
  • 1992 – “Role and Rationale of All India Service” in1992 by Indian Institute of Public Administration, and
  • 1992 – “Reservation Policy (Affirmative Action Program) in India” by Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Society.
  • 1991 – ‘Role of Housewives in Nation-Building’ selected by Geneva office of ‘Federation of International University Women’.
  1. Academic qualifications
  • 1988 –  (Top-position in 1988 batch of 40 students) Post-graduate Diploma Certificate in translation, New Delhi Evening Institute of Delhi. Organized by Bharti Vidya Bhavan in Translation,
  • 1986 – Ph. D., Allahabad University, India.
  • 1963 – Post-graduation in Political Science from Allahabad University
  • 1961 – Bachelor’s degree (Political Science, Hindi Literature and Vocal Music) from Allahabad University.

May 9, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Weaknesses of Indian bureaucracy


“For the forms of government, let fools contest.

That which is best administered is best.”

   “But what is best must free man still decide.

Lest leaders gull them and officials ride.” Finer

And also

“Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pigmies.” V. Hon0re De Balzac

British Government the institution  bequeathed to India – The institution of civil services in India is the oldest and most wonderful institution the British Government had bequeathed to India. British rule had evolved the institution of civil service as an efficient, professional and to a great degree incorruptible organization. It was popularly known as ‘‘the Steel Frame’ of British administrative structure”, Fortunately India, along with Pakistan, has inherited from the past, a unique administrative system, which knows, what these strategic posts are and who are the persons to hold them.

Thousands of employees in Administrative set-up – Government of India employs up (civil services/bureaucracy) from almost all vocations, occupations and professions. Government makes all feasible administrative, organizational and working atmosphere arrangements for its employees. The administrative system is vertically and horizontally divided in order to meet the differing requirements and emerging developmental tasks.

The higher civil service is one of very important government institutions for solving nation’s problems. The more the problems, better equipped the civil service should be to face the challenges and meet new demands.   Not only that new responsibilities are being continuously, added to the traditional tasks of the civil services, knowledge in this space age, has been growing faster than ability of the services to handle it. Therefore, it is a must to select the best talents in the bureaucracy and equip them properly by imparting new knowledge and new skills and to inculcate new attitudes in the civil services through a well-planned and systematic arrangement of education and training.

Best talents –  Officers of  civil services of government of India are selected by UPSC through a competitive Combined All India/Civil Services examination every year.  It is one of the toughest entrance examinations. In order to employ best talents in the services, every year UPSC conducts a common civil services examination (CSE) for to select personnel for many services under government of India like Indian Administrative Service (IAS), as well as for other non-IAS services like IFS, IPS and other central services for different departments like Revenue, Railways, Audit and accounts Services, civil services and Police Service for Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli , Pondicherry.

For civil services examination 2015, 9.41 lakh students registered, out of which 4.6 took preliminary test. Of it 15,008 (+1415 for Indian Forest Service Exam.) 3,308 were further shortlisted for personality test. Finally 1,236 (3.5% candidates)were appointed to the 24 services that come under Civil Services.

IAS propped up as the Elite service – During British rule, ICS was propped up as an elite service. Its officers in their early twenties would arrive to India after being trained at Cambridge or Oxford to rule single-handedly a district half as big as Wales. They were responsible for maintaining law and order and revenue collection.

Now IAS officers have wide-ranging authority in districts as collectors. and at centre as policy-makers. They have-

  • Have easy accesses to levers of power.
  • Are symbol of power – dealing directly with Ministers at centre and provinces.
  • Have smoothest career-progressions. And
  • Occupy almost all senior-most posts at centre and States.


One wonders why the steel-frame of yesteryears has failed to do its job effectively and judiciously, despite having a constitutional status with enough powers to perform their duties freely and frankly. Inefficient and ineffective performance of Bureaucracy/civil services by and large has affected the lives of millions of people. Now sarcastically, people call bureaucracy as ‘babudom’ and bureaucrats as ‘Glorified Babus’.

Why does not bureaucracy take a stand against the unjust dictates of political leaders or corrupt senior officers, who stops them from doing their jobs judiciously? Why and how civil services in India got derailed is a point to ponder. What were the reasons behind ineffective and inefficient performance needs to be analysed.

ICS, the “Steel-frame of governance” during British rule  – “It always puzzled many bigwigs like Stalin, von Ribbentrop and many other foreign observers, namely how barely a thousand British ICS (Indian Civil Service) personnel managed to rule both British India and the princely states with a combined population of well over 300 million during the first part of the twentieth century. Very few statesmen, from Bismarck to Theodore Roosevelt, doubted the quality of British rule, and, in a fascinating episode, when Subhas Chandra Bose, the leader of the rebel Indian National Army, flew to Berlin during the Second World War to solicit help from Hitler, the Fuehrer dismissed him, taking the view that Indians needed “to be civilized by another hundred years of British rule.” “How was the Indian Empire administered with such apparent zeal, efficiency, high-mindedness and impartiality?

“Gilmour comes to the sensible conclusion that the men of the ICS displayed a mixture of motives, skills and temperaments. A number of individuals were ‘coming to the institution through stiff competition, not the other way round’. Often a District officer in his early twenties would arrive fresh from his ICS training at Oxford to rule single-handedly a district half as big as Wales. The wide ranging responsibilities of the District Officers of the ICS were responsible for almost everything.

Structure of the civil service – The structure of the service started from the District Officers to the Magistrates, Residents, Political Agents, Deputy Collectors, Lieutenant Governors, and so on. (From Rup Narain Das, titled ‘Marx and 1857’, published in TOI, P.22, 16.5.07, excerpts quoted from an article of Gilmour on Marx, June July 15, 1857 in New York Daily Tribune as a leading article)

The ICS – ICS (Indian Civil Service) called ‘steel-frame of administration’  Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister in his historic “Steel-frame” speech, said it very clearly on Aug.2, 1922 in the House of Commons that British civil servants were the very basis of the Empire in India and so he could not imagine any period, when they could dispense with the guidance and assistance of a small nucleus of the British civil servants. He said, “I do not care, what you build on it, if you take that Steel-frame out of the fabric, it will collapse. There is only one institution, we will not cripple, there is one institution, and we will not deprive of its functions or of its privileges and that is that institution, which build up the British Raj – the British Civil Service in India.”

What made ICS so strong and efficient?  – What made ICS was strong enough to rear and sustain British rule in India for such a long time? Some of the reasons were as  was because –

  • Family background – Most of them belonged to British professional middle classes.
  • Educational background – They had made smooth progression from school to Oxford or Cambridge.
  • Sense of responsibility – The ICS, whatever its complexion might have been, had developed traditions of independence, integrity, and hard work. They had deep sense of responsibility. However, these qualities served mainly the British rulers and not so much the Indian masses. They had full freedom and opportunity to do something worthwhile.
  • Work atmosphere – So far as it did not jeopardized the Imperial interests, ICS officers thought it their duty and took it as a challenge to provide, “Care, protection and guidance” ultimately liberty to the people, they ruled (Times of India, August 10, 1997, p2). Mr. Lines, an ex- ICS officer, said, “I suppose, we thought of a simple Indian villager… Here are simple people, who need leadership.” Mr. Arthur, another ex ICS officer, said, “Their attitude, certainly was paternalistic, which was necessary in a colonial administration.”
  • Bright career prospects – Extremely generous salaries and quick promotions.
  • Slim and trim service – just over a thousand at any given time – made for a strong sense of service loyalty.
  • Esprit-de’-corps – Philip Maser said that there was esprit-de’-corps amongst the officers. Lines pointed out, “It is the Esprit de’corps, which served to enforce a strong moral code.” It did not need to be articulated. Every body knew it.
  • Honesty – Clive Dewey said that the historical evidence pointed out to only a minute handful of officers being corrupt. It was partially their salaries, partly their background, partly their sense of duty and partly ivory tower, in which they lived, which made any rumors extremely uncomfortable (Dr. Clive Dewey, Anglo Indian attitudes, 1993).

Balance of Power – Illbert Bill controversy indicates that White bureaucrats were not at all prepared to share administrative powers with Indians, in spite of all the official declarations of 1833, 1858, 1861, 1892 and 1909.  When the demand for the participation of Indian nationals at higher levels of administration increased, the dominance of Brahmins in administration, though mainly at lower level, had cautioned the rulers. They regarded Brahmins as the main force behind the entire national movement, agitations and terrorist activities. Therefore, British rulers tried their best to balance the power in such a way, that no section of Indian society could become strong enough to pose a threat to its rule in India. British rulers managed it by adopting the following measures –

  •  Propped-up other sections of society against Upper-castes – The British thought it necessary to keep a balance of power by propping up other sections of the society in order to stop the preponderance of Brahmins and forward castes in modern callings.
  • Divide and rule – They divided Indian population, through censuses, into different groups, i.e. upper castes, backward castes, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and minorities.
  • Start of quota system – To counter Brahmin’s dominance in administration, the British designed Reservation Policy. They fixed up quotas in government jobs for different sections on the basis of caste, community, occupation, religion etc.
  • Separate representation and preferences to non-Brahmins -Through the Acts of 1909, 1919 and1932 the rulers provided separate representation to different communities in Legislative Councils and Assemblies. The rulers bestowed special benefits and preferences in education and jobs for different upcoming groups.
  • ICS remained untouched from preferential treatment till end – Though the British Government gave preferential treatment to upcoming groups in government jobs, British rulers kept the ICS untouched from the quota system till the last. They firmly and clearly said to the upcoming groups that they wouldn’t weaken their Steel frame at any cost for any body, as on it depended, efficient governance of the country.  It was told the upcoming groups in clear terms, “With its utmost desire to do so, the best for these classes, the Government will be and is powerless to help them, unless they qualify themselves to the same extent as others of their countrymen for duties of administration and public (Times of India Archives, May 3, 1918).

Breakdown of the spirit of the civil services in India – With the intensification of national movement and introduction of Diarchy, the downfall in the quality of work began to fade. Pannikar says, “The Lee Commission (1923) was the first evidence of the breakdown of the spirit of the civil services in India, for after that there was no claim, that the British Civil Service in India, competent though they continued to be to the end, was anything more than a group of officers doing their work for purely material considerations. The idealism of the past had vanished” (Pannikar KM, The Development of Administration in India, Bulletin of Public Administration, Patna, Patna University’s Institution of Public Administration, vols. 2 and 3, p14.)

The Rawland Committee remarked, “The present position, in our judgment, is thoroughly unsatisfactory both from the point of view of the district officer himself, as well as, from the point of view of the efficiency of the governmental machine and welfare of the people in the district…. He is expected to see that nothing goes wrong in his district, but he has little power outside. The Magistrates and Collectors failed to see that things go right. He is supposed to compose differences between other officers, but he has no power to impose his will upon the recalcitrant. He can cajole and persuade, he can not compel… In our view, the situation, if left to itself, can only deteriorate further, because activities of the Government in the mofussil will increase and practically every department is thinking in terms of Provincialized Service and makes little attempt to disguise its determination to go ahead with its own plans, without reference to any other part of the Government” (Report of the Bengal Administrative Enquiry Committee, 1944-45, p18).

Transfer of power – In 1935, with the intensification of the nationalist movement, supported by Indian National Congress Party and growing demand for greater Indian participation in Government and its administration at higher levels, the Colonial rulers delegated some authority to the provinces. They were aware of the consequences of delegation of authority to the provinces. Therefore, they transferred to the Provincial Governments only the authority to manage the services engaged in service-functions and kept ‘control functions’ i.e. maintaining law and order and revenue collection in their own hands. Ultimately in 1947, India got its freedom as an independent country.

After independence

Civil services after the Independence  – With the attainment of Independence and adoption of socialist and egalitarian society as ultimate national goals, the demands on administration had undergone a qualitative change. The basic task of administration changed from one of attending to routine regulatory function to that of promoting a rapid socio-economic changes. Bureaucracy was now expected to play a significant role in administrative and developmental work of the Government.

Dreams of constitution-framers – The forefathers of the Constitution realized the importance of civil services in order to ensure good governance to the country and providing the safety of the nation. Mr. MV Kamath said, “With the independence of our country, the responsibilities of the services have become onerous. It may make or mar the efficiency of the machinery of administration, machinery so vital for the peace and progress of the country. A country without any efficient Government service can not make progress in spite of the earnestness of the people at the helm of affairs of the country. Whatever democratic institutions exist, experience has shown, that it is essential to protect public services as far as possible from political and personal influence and to give it that position of stability and security, which is vital in its successful working, as an impartial and efficient instrument, by which Government of whatever political complexion may give effect to their policies” (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. IX, p585).

Mr. Subharajan said during Constituent Assemble debates, “Without an efficient civil service, it would be impossible for the Government to carry on and continuity to be kept. The importance of the Governmental administration has been in the fact that there is continuity and unless this continuity, there is chaos” (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. IX, p952).

Vallabh Bhai Patel in his letter to the Prime Minister wrote, “I need hardly emphasize, that an efficient, disciplined and contended (civil) service, assured of its prospects as a result of diligent and honest work, is a “Sine-quanan” of sound administration, under a democratic regime, even more than under an authoritarian rule. The (civil) service must be above party and we should ensure that political consideration, either in its recruitment or its discipline and control, are reduced to the minimum, if not eliminated altogether” (Patel Vallabh Bhai in a letter to Mr. Nehru).

After Nehru’s midnight hour speech between 14th and 15th August 1947, Dr. Radhakrishnan warned the nation, “Our opportunities are great, but let me warn you that when power outstrips ability, we will fall on evil days. We should develop competence and ability, which would help us to utilize the opportunities, which are now open to us. A free India will be judged by the way, in which it will serve the interests of the common man in the matter of food, clothing, shelter and social services.”

Need of efficient employees in administration – Civil services in Independent India Independent India required that the civil administration at every level must be equipped with officers having the capacity to meet various challenges of the modern India. The success of government’s welfare and developmental plans would depend largely upon the efficiency of its administrative cadres.

Attraction for the youth – Jobs in the Government have always remained an attraction for the youth. Entry into IAS and central services are the most sought-after jobs for students as it provides the highest entry point in bureaucracy. Government employs officers on various responsible posts after being successful  in a well-planned entry competitive examination and then go for rigorous professional training in different training institutions. making processes and their implementation work.

IAS (Indian Administrative Service), the successor of ICS after Independence After independence, Indian Administrative Service (IAS) was created as the successor of ICS, which was till now a reputed, efficient and powerful service.  IAS is now an elite service meant predominantly to be engaged in control functions of Indian provinces. political circle. up of the nation.

Functions of the civil services – The civil administration, whether in Centre or in State, can be divided into two groups:

• Working in the Secretariats – Policy making body;

• Working in field organisations – for implementation of policies and plans.

Working at Secretariat level – 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.

Following are important functions at the level of Secretariat: –

  • Obtaining decisions on policy matters and enunciating policy decisions in clear language,
  • Overall planning and finance,
  • 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.

Administration at field level – The district administration occupies a key position. ‘District Collector’ continues to play a pivotal role in the District Administration. District is the most convenient geographical unit, where the total apparatus of Civil Administration is concentrated and where officials come into direct contact with the people. Its importance 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. It has regulatory as well as developmental tasks.

The first five or six years of service in the state are crucial for all IAS officers. During this period, they go on field postings at district level 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 people at grass-root level, with their concrete problems and with different human and social conditions prevailing there. They get acquainted with the administrative structure in the district and the relationship between various branches of Government at district headquarters.  The experience of field work enriches officials with a variety of experiences and makes them ripe for senior positions.

Besides for collection of revenue and maintenance of law and order, District collector is responsible. He also coordinates activities of various departments at district level. A collector enjoys immense power and prestige at district level.

Both kinds of work at district and in headquarter equally important – 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. Corrosion of the ‘steel-frame’ after Independence With many of the old visionary leaders and bureaucrats having gone from the national and state scene in the sixties, a rot started setting up rapidly in the administrative set up.

Problems of the day

Fall in the standard of governance – After Independence the bureaucracy  has started shaking under its own pressure.  Undesirable political pressure on it increased continuously. With the result that bureaucracy in India has now appears to be unable to meet the challenges of the day and has become an ineffective and powerless institution. administration.

The political complexion of the nation underwent a revolutionary change after the fall of Rajiv Gandhi’s Government and then disappearance of Nehru-Gandhi family from the political scene. The era of instability started. Mr. VN Narayan commented on the climate of 1990’s, “We have a political problem (scams and scandals), but we have no political solution, we have a religious problem (Ayodhya), but no religious solution. There is an economic problem (poverty), but there is no economic solution (Liberalization). There is a social problem (Sectarian conflicts), but there is no societal remedy (Secularism and Mandalization). There is a socio-medical disease (cancer of corruption), but there is no socio-medical cure (ministerial resignations and reshuffles) There is only one solution to all problems – a human and spiritual solution. We have to consciously move toward humanizing our social institutions and spiritualize (not communalize or secularize) ourselves” (Narayanan VN, Hindustan Times, June 1, 1995, p13).

Bureaucrats known as ‘Babus’ –  Since beginning of 21st century, there is decline over the years in the quality, competence and commitment of the administrative officers. Rarely are factors like competence, aptitude, past experience and public spirit taken into account, while making appointments to responsible posts. Instead of known as Government officials, the bureaucrats are called ‘glorified clerks’ and bureaucracy as ‘babudom’.

Most of the bureaucrats find it more convenient to toe the line of political leaders rather than standing up for principles and paying the price for it.  The situation has led to the nexus that has developed between unscrupulous politicians, corrupt bureaucrats and criminals, as Vohra Committee has vividly described it. The appointment of tainted officers at crucial positions itself makes the intentions of the politicians clear. ism has corroded the steel frame.

Reasons , that made the difference – Reasons for derailing the whole administrative system are very simple, which are as following –

  • Intake of the material

Before Independence – Then, during British rule, the British Government was very particular about the intake of the material into its elite service. The British, according to their aims and objectives, pursued the policy of racial discrimination on the dictum of “White-man’s” superiority for the appointment in ICS. For a long time, the Indians were virtually prohibited to join this service intentionally. The rulers never wanted to give Indian any control over the governance of the country. Lord Lytton, in his confidential document, confirmed that the pledge of the Royal proclamation of 1858 was never intended to be carried out. He said, “We all know that these claims, expectations never can or will be fulfilled. We have had choose between prohibiting them (Indians) and cheating them, we have chosen the least straightforward course.” (Annie Besant, How India wrought for freedom, p420)

Lord Kimberley, the Secretary of State, laid down in 1893; “It is indispensable, that an adequate number of members of the Civil Service shall always be European.” Viceroy Lord Landsdown stressed “Absolute necessity of keeping the Government of this wide-spread empire into European hands, if that empire is to be maintained.” (Bipin Chandra, Modern India, p158) In 1867, Lawrence said very (clearly, “We have conquered India by force of arms, though the policy and good Government have already aided us. In the like manner, we must hold it. The Englishmen must always be in the forefront holding the post of honor and power, as the condition of our retaining of our rule.” (Tara Chand, History of Freedom Movement in India, p497)

In Home Department Resolution of May 1904, Lord Curzon’s Government justified the policy, they were pursuing with regard to “White-man’s superiority” in Civil Service. “The highest ranks of the civil employees in India, those in the Imperial Civil Service, the members of which are entrusted with the responsible task of carrying on the general administration of the country, though open to such Indians, who proceed to England and pass the requisite tests, must nevertheless, as a general rule be held by the Englishmen, for the reason that they possess partly by heredity, partly by upbringing and partly by education that knowledge of the principles of Government, the habits of the mind and vigor of character, which are essential for the task and the rule of India, being a British rule and any other rule being in the circumstances of the case impossible. The tone and the standard should be set by those, who have created it and are responsible for it.” (Supplement to Gazette of India, June 4, 1904, p937

After Independence – Now, after independence the hope of the best-talent syndrome belied. It was hoped that civil services would attract the best talents and most competent and qualified youth from all over India. There was a time, when it attracted the best talents of the nation. A large number of intellectuals, engineers, doctors, MBAs and other professionals joined the services. One of the reasons is that now 50% candidates are taken into the services on quota basis with relaxed standards in order to give make space for upcoming sections of society. Reservation of about 50% posts has further eroded the charm to join government services for the talented youth.

Civil services no more attract the best brains.  The willingness of talented and meritorious youths to join government services is now like a passing tide. For the last few years, constant political interference has diluted the charm to join the civil services. The youth find the work atmosphere suffocating, because there is no freedom to do any creative works. It has created many pen-pushing bureaucrats. Disincentive to hard work, merit and sincerity has demoralized the honest and hard working people.  The cream of the society either wishes to join the private sector or to go abroad. Liberalization and globalization has given a boost to this trend.

  • Bloated Size 

Under British rule – As said earlier, “It always puzzled many bigwigs like Stalin, von Ribbentrop and many other foreign observers, namely how barely a thousand British ICS (Indian Civil Service) personnel managed to rule both British India and the princely states with a combined population of well over 300 million during the first part of the twentieth century. Very few statesmen, from Bismarck to Theodore Roosevelt, doubted the quality of British rule. The cadre strength of ICS ‘the steel-frame’ and the predecessor of IAS, the elite service of Independent India, had always remained less than 1500. With that cadre strength, they were able to cope with the administrative work of the undivided India efficiently and effectively.

After independence, white elephant – There is a continuous increase in number. After Independence, the civil services have gradually grown into a bloated and top heavy service. In one of its elite service IAS, which had cadre strength of only 957 officers in 1950, is now having 4377 (as on 1.1.2012) administrators in position. The first causality of this obesity is its efficiency. In Independent India, the annual intake in IAS went up from about 33 in 1947 to 138 in 1965 and to 160 in 1985. The cadre strength in various years is given below: –

                                                             Strength of IAS after Independence

Year                         Authorized   Cadre strength                 In position

 1951                                     1232                                       957 (Includes 336 ICS)

1961                                    1862                                       1722 (Includes 215 ICS)

1971                                     3203                                       2754 (Includes 88 ICS)

1981                                      4599                                         3883

                            1991                                     5334                                             4881

2012-                                     6154                                   4377

Source: Civil lists Pay Commission Reports, Report of Deptt. of Personnel.

It is not only in IAS, but the number of civil servants has increased in all the services. Bureaucracy has become like a white elephant.

Outcome of this increase – The rot set in on account of continuous increase in the number of government employees resulted in:

    • Adverse effect on the “Espirit-d’corps” in the service
    • Creation of additional high level posts to accommodate timely promotions,
    • Establishment expenditure is eating away most of the resources generated by the Government for development projects.
    • Continuous increase at entry point has led to stagnation at Joint Secretary level, resulting in frustration,
    • Creation of many insignificant unnecessary posts, that has very little work or authority,
    • Generating resentment in Non-IAS Services against IAS officers for encroaching the preserves of other services,
    • Side-lining upright officers, thus discouraging excellence of performance. A large number of officers are always there in the queue, willing to toe the line (dictates) of politicians with vested interests.
    • Leading to poor communication, duplication of work, and delay in action and decision taking.
    • Creating multiple layers in administrative hierarchy, over the country


During British rule – During pre-independence days there were some 9 All India services to provide adequate manpower at the top of various disciplines + other Non ICS services of generalist nature, which were as popular as ICS was. Even within ICS, immediately after the recruitment, the officers were geared to attain knowledge and experience in specific areas for higher assignments, during probationary period and thereafter-early years of service. Broadly there were three main areas ICS (Judicial as there was not much pressure of Imperial Government on their working) or Indian Custom Service (as they always got postings in big towns).  Even after Independence, for some time, there was not much difference in the social status, career progression, standard and behavior pattern of IAS and Non IAS class I services. However since 1960 onwards, slowly but steadily, IAS has become more and more powerful and the only ‘Elite service’ under Government of India. The display by ICS officers for one kind of work rather than the other, their special knack and aptitude for particular type of work was taken into account for deciding their future career. Therefore, in practice and not in theory, the ICS was building a cadre of specialists in administration and also encouraging further specialization in particular field of administration, not through formal training, but through experience by doing job under the supervision of those, having greater experience. (LK Jha, Administrator as Specialist Management in Government, July-September, 1980)

Now, after independence -After Independence, the need of specialization in IAS, one of the most powerful service in Government of India is much more than it was for ICS. But for one reason or other, contrary is the trend. IAS does not have different functional cadres. Its officers move from one functional area to another. With the result that-

Jack of all trades, but master of none – They are “Jack of all trades, but master of none”. The knowledge of any particular area is not considered important for their appointment to senior posts. Consequently, just as politicians depend on secretaries for knowledge, secretaries depend on their subordinates and technical staff for knowledge and information.

Blind leading the other blind – Many times, when politicians are to be advised on policy issues, alternatives cannot be put forward by them properly, because they, themselves, are professionally ignorant about the subject. It is often alleged that in technical areas, the system of collecting information, analyzing data and using modern innovations is so inadequate, that policy advice is neither according to time nor fully matured. Therefore, critics say that such a practice leads to a situation, where ignorant politicians are being advised by comparatively ignorant generalist officers. The position is similar to blind leading the other blind.

Adverse effect of quick changes, from one type of job to another – The quick changes, from one type of job to another, make the knowledge of IAS officers superficial. There are some hard working and sincere IAS officers, who are eager to learn the maximum about the subject matter of their job. But they are also constrained because of the swift changes from one functional area to another. The real knowledge is obtained by sustained hard work for a long period in one type of job, which enables a person to develop innate ability needed for the smooth functioning and development of that area.

• Creation of more posts – In order to solve the problem stagnation, there the government started creating more and more posts at higher grades. As a remedial action, the Government had sub-divided one job so many times that many senior officers have hardly two or three hour of work a day. What is worse, a number of them are doing jobs, which was earlier done by their juniors.

• A battle between IAS and Non IAS – The story does not end here only. In order to avoid stagnation in its elite service, i.e., IAS, the Government is creating many cushy jobs in public sector corporations, which are manned largely by IAS officers. As a consequence, a battle is going on between IAS and non-IAS central services and also between IAS and State Civil Services just to get top posts in the public sector corporations. While this battle has become something of a scandal, no one bothers, whether services are achieving the objectives, for which they are created.

• Multiplicity of these focal points – By creating more and more posts at the top level, the Government has created too many points of control and coordination. Multiplicity of too many focal points has created overlapping of functions and jurisdictions. More men, less wok, duplication of efforts, lack of supervision and control have resulted in confusion and inefficiency.

• Swift changes makes difficult to fix responsibility – Swift changes, from one functional area to another, make it difficult to hold an officer responsible for any wrong policy. By the time, the results of a policy or the implementation of a program is evaluated, the concerned officer gets shifted to another post, department or goes back to his parent state.

• Unlimited Authority without Responsibility – It is said, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. The concept of “Welfare state” and “Development administration” has bestowed immense authority in the hands of Government, which is mainly exercised by the executive, meaning the ministers and the Bureaucrats. But this authority is without responsibility.

• Always someone else held responsible – Whatever may go wrong, either at the field level or at the secretariat level, an IAS officer is never held responsible. If law and order situation deteriorates in a district, IPS officer is held responsible. If a policy decision goes wrong, it is said that the IAS officers were wrongly advised by the specialists or specialized organizations dealing with that particular subject.

Lack of senior’s support

During British period – During British period, young officers were placed under the strict supervision of senior officers, who used to take keen interest in the development of their capacity to run the administration effectively. It was made clear to senior district officers, that it was very important to pay attention to the young officers, who were put under their guidance. Their success in life and reputation, as good officers, depended greatly on the assistance; they received from their seniors at the outset of their career. (GO No.738, published on April 18, 1916, ICS Manual Madras) As a result, the junior officers were groomed well on job and possessed a marked degree of professionalism in their area of activity. Their claim of superiority, over others, was clearly established.

Now after the independence – However, after independence, the scene is not like the past. Senior officers gradually lost interest in their subordinates. Reasons for it are generally the following –

• There is scarcity of experienced officers at the district level. Most of them have drifted to the central and state secretariats or to public corporations etc

• There is lack of personnel planning.

• Premature promotions – Earlier, ICS officers used to work under senior officers for about seven to eight years, before they were given independent charge as collector. Now officers have to take the responsibility of independent jobs prematurely. After foundation training of two years,   hardly a year or 18 months passes, when an IAS officer gets promoted to the responsible post of collector. He is not mature enough either service-wise or age-wise to handle the challenging job of a collector. When officer himself does not have enough experience as a collector (head of district administration), how can he take up the responsibility of training others?

• Senior officers are so occupied with their own work, that they hardly spare enough time and attention to see and guide the work of their juniors.

• Because of changing political culture, senior officers themselves are so insecure, how can they instil sense of security and confidence amongst their juniors?

• Unfortunately, now the main function of the administrative service has become to maintain status quo and defend the wrong practices of its political masters, not to guide well the junior officers or stand by them when in difficulty.

Suggestion of ARC (1968) – ARC had also suggested way back in 1968 that the IAS officers should be confined to areas, which are well known to them and should not be allowed to encroach on those areas, for which, others have acquired special knowledge and experience. (Report of ARC on Personnel Administration in Government of India, 1969, p16) All India Character  Professor Maheshvari has said, “In a never ceasing see-saw game of adjustment and bargaining between the center and the states in federal cum competitive politics, neither its all India outlook, nor its talent, nor even its supposed loyalty to the center comes into active play.” (Maheshwari SR, The All India Service, published in the lecture series of 80th Course on Personnel Policies in practice organized by 11PA, 1980, P305)

IAS is fast loosing its all India character. The Union Home Ministry has, from time to time, advised Chief Secretaries of the states not to recommend transfer of cadre members to their home states, but those with influence are able to manage it. In many states like Bihar, Punjab etc, more than 60% of the officers are from within the state. It is mainly because of the political ties. (Saxena NS, IAS and IPS at war with the state cadre, Times of India, April 6,1984) It has become very difficult for IAS officers to take the side of Union Government, while working in states. It becomes more difficult, when other parties than that of the center rule states. Working with state governments compels them to take care of local influences – political and social. In order to avoid local pressures, many officers avoid field postings. They either prefer to have postings in the state capitals or be on deputation in the central government at Delhi, where there is lesser political pressure on them.

  • Field Experience

An administrator is supposed to maintain links with the people directly through the channels of understanding and persuasion, not through authority or force. Many ICS officers claimed that earlier they had been closer to public than present day administrators.

During British rule – The work experience at district or sub-division level was considered to be a qualification for ICS officers. Personal knowledge of ground realities/village conditions was considered necessary. The rulers insisted on personal knowledge of its executives of what was happening in the farthest village. Administrative officers established and maintained contact with rural masses at the highest level of the administrative hierarchy. Great emphasis was laid on getting young officers thoroughly acquainted with village and the administrative structure dealing with matters, which touched the rural people, such as land, irrigation, Government loans etc. The most important of these, from villagers’ point of view, was his right on land – whether as owner, tenant or worker. It had to be correctly recorded. Rendering effective, just and quick service to the villagers – Also, various exaction of government, such as land revenue, higher irrigation dues, return of loans etc. were to be fairly assessed and collected. The village community had a vested interest in the efficiency and honesty of revenue system. Whatever be the motivation of British administration, it certainly rendered effective, just and quick service to the villagers. The system was so enforced and watched, that there was no escape, whatsoever from acquiring knowledge about village conditions and methods to deal with them. (Mangat Rai, Commitment my style in ICS, 1973)

Exhaustive touring from village to village – The officers used to make exhaustive tours, moving from village to village and lived a camp-life for considerably long period. The symbol and instrument of village contact was horse. This was partly because of the manner, in which these were conducted, were slow, and easy, involving staying out near village and imbibing thoroughly their atmosphere and conditions. Close contact with people, source of strength in a democracy – The close contact with the common men and the people’s faith in their uprightness gave them the strength to become the “Steel frame” of the whole system.  Now many retired ICS officers claim, that the nature of functioning before the independence was such, that they had better understanding and knowledge of the people of their area than the IAS officers of today. In a democratic, people are the source of strength – this basic truth is forgotten by most of the administrators, making them weaker.

Now, After Independence – Unfortunately, after independence and progressively over the years, importance of field experience has lost its validity. Mostly, while ‘sitting in an air-conditioned room’ or ‘living in an ivory tower’, bureaucrats are hardly aware of the problems/realities at ground level of the common-man.

  • Field experience lost its validity – Most of the officers are habitual of leading a comfortable urban life. It is difficult and troublesome for them to spend enough time in rural areas. As a result, they have to depend to a great extent on the advice of their subordinates there. Many times, there is a lack of timely and reliable information. Escape from field postings – Many smart and ambitious officers find their way out and skip sub-divisional or district experience. A study by DPAR, in 1981, has shown that in eight state cadres, 70% or more IAS officers have not done sub-divisional charge even for two years. (Seventy Seventh Report of Estimate Committee of Seventh Lok Sabha, August 17,1984, pp76-77) IAS is fast becoming a secretariat service.
  • Little grass-root contacts – The same is the story of district charge. Many officers manage their postings at the center and/or state capitals throughout their career and do not care to revive or develop what little grass-root contacts, they had earlier. Because of the improved road network in the villages and availability of fast moving vehicles, such as cars, jeeps etc, the district officers lack the intimate knowledge of the rural areas. The tendency of officers is merely to complete the formality of being on tour, as might have stipulated by the state Government. They make touch and go visits to rural areas, especially the one, which are easily accessible by road, spend the prescribed compulsory number of night halts in some wayside Dak bungalow.
  • Lack of grass-roots contacts making ‘Politicians’ stronger and ‘Bureaucrats’ weaker –Today, politicians are closer to people than bureaucrats. It is due to this lack of enough field experience, grass roots knowledge and experience in the absence of direct contact with the rural masses that the local politicians could exert pressure on administrators. It has made them stronger than bureaucrat.
  • Politicization

Before and after independence – ICS enjoyed the authority to take decisions. The ministers and politicians used to find their authority shadowy over them.

After the independence, the table was turned. Over the years bureaucrats have succumbed to the dictats of its political masters. Now, the minister dictates and the officers obey without any resistance. Dominance of political masters over administrative and economic matters has been one of the prominent features of independent India, which is responsible for the deterioration of law and order and slower rate of economic growth.

The political leaders found the authority to reward and punish officers, through transfers and postings, as an effective tool to make officers fall in line with them and be loyal to them. Honest and upright officers face quick transfers, bad entries, judicial inquiries, and loyalist officer’s prestigious postings, foreign trips special allowances etc. It has made Bureaucrats to succumb almost absolutely to political pressures.

  • Growing politicization of services and lack of support from seniors has put a negative effect on the initiative and creativity of young officers. Today the efficiency of the service as a whole is at its lowest ebb. Complete breakdown of discipline everywhere is mainly responsible for the disintegration of administrative system and its future.

Glamorous service

Until 1960s, there was very little difference between the standard and behavior of IAS officers and class I officers belonging to other services of Government of India. Today, IAS officers deal directly with politicians, plan bigger things, moves all over the world frequently. It has added glamour to the service. The result of this development has been that the IAS has attracted the attention of politicians, especially of those pursuing the sectional interest. To them, entry into IAS is the surest and quickest means to get control over others, to improve one’s status in the society, to command instant admiration and respect of the people, thus in reaching quickly to the commanding position in the society. It is supposed to be the manifest symbol of power. It makes an easy access to levers of authority. It enables them to occupy positions having immense power and privileges at the highest level in the Government. Once in service, a person could lead an easy life, is a general conception. The craze for getting into the service is increasing continuously amongst the newly emerging sections of the society. Most of the new recruits are now not bothered about the high ideals, intellectual competence and high standards of administration, commitment to public service, Constitutional values, or concern for justice. They are mainly interested in exercising the State authority over powerless people and making as much money as possible by misusing their authority.

Red tape

Jayant Narlikar, an eminent scientist, describes government functioning as the soulless movement of files. According to him, India has one of the most obdurate, cold, insular and inflexible Civil Service, the free world has ever known. (Narikar Jayant, Two Cheers for Bureaucracy, Times of India, December 13, 1995, p10) Lord Curzon’s remarks are, “Round and round like the diurnal revolution of the earth went the file – stately, solemn and slow”. Similarly, decades later, Malcolm Muggeridge observed, “It was governments pure and un-defied, endlessly minuting and circulating files, which like time itself has neither beginning nor end.” (Times of India, December 25, 1995)

What should be done?

Sufficient knowledge of the area, in which one works

 The role of civil services have become more demanding and challenging due to the complexity of modern times and fast changing social, political, economic and technological developments of the recent past. Specialization with varied experience, in present atmosphere, means that an officer for strategic senior post should have sufficient knowledge of the area he is supposed to work.  In addition to that in their own discipline, there should be varied experience of different aspects and activities concerned with it – such as planning, coordinating work at different levels, advising ministers on policy matters, taking into account the social, legal and economic constraints, particularly in his/her functional area etc. All this could be achieved only after working in any area for a reasonable period.

Basic qualification – It appears rather odd that a simple graduation is required to enter into the most prestigious service i.e. the IAS. While in other services like Indian Economic Service and Indian Statistical Service, the requirement is a post-graduate degree. In Engineering or technical services a degree in Engineering, which takes four years of rigorous graduation course. The time demands to have a cadre of more and more qualified administrators, more than in the past.  Either the administrators should be selected earlier and then trained properly for their jobs as is being done in Defence Services or MBA degree needs to be made compulsory for appearing in competitive entrance examination. Lateral entries could also be made by including bright persons already employed elsewhere, like: –

•Technocrats having sufficient experience in management,

•Professionals from other civil services,

•Entrepreneurs, willing to switch over.

Promotion policy Promotions in the service should be strictly based on good performance. Administrator should be encouraged to upgrade, sharpen, and focus their knowledge towards analysis and problem solving Closer contact with people could save bureaucrats from undue political pressure – Today’s politicians think themselves to be exclusive guardians of the people. The Administrators have, at present, lost the faith of the people.

The people doubt their credibility and efficacy of occupying policy level posts. Alienation from the common man leads the administrator to base their decisions on second hand information. Because of inadequate data, inefficient resource allocation and inward looking project monitoring; plans and policies remain, often, far away from the reality and actual needs and aspirations of the people. Closer contact, coordination with people and their confidence in administrator could save them from undue political pressure.


Many reports reveal that although an increasing number of IAS figures in corruption cases, the wheels of justice are not moving fast enough to punish the guilty. Procedural delays, political patronage and resistance from within the bureaucracy, appear to be helping corrupt officials evade the long arm of the law. People are given all kinds of excuses for the corruption prevalent in the service. Corrupt and self-seeking administrators have become expensive parasites on the system and society.

Independent machinery for transfers and promotions Extensive political controls over transfers and promotions give vast powers to them and unlimited opportunities to make money. Through delays, dilatoriness and excuses they help the greedy and power hungry politicians. In return get their patronage and good postings.

In order to provide bureaucracy functional independence and give a chance to conscientious and competent bureaucrats to contribute for good governance, recently Supreme Court ordered setting minimum tenures for bureaucrats and put curb on arbitrary transfers and postings. But lack of political will is the hurdle on the way to much required administrative reforms.

 Winding up

In short, the reasons of the corrosion of the steel-frame are poor personnel policies, excessive protectionist policies of the Government, bloated size, unbalanced infrastructural development with concentration of authority in a few hands, cumbersome office procedures, increased paper work, delay in action and decision – taking, disincentive to hard work, talent and sincerity, lack of accountability, alienation from the common man and the last but not the least tolerance of people of India, who accept sub-standard administration, giving very little challenge to the officers to upgrade their performance.


Following are the steps to be taken by the government –

  • First of all, the Government of India should merge all its civil services, technical as well as non-technical, into one unified service with an integrated pay structure and career prospects. The Government should ensure complete parity in pay scales, same time- frame for all services for getting promoted into next grade, promotional avenues and career development.
  • For efficient and effective administration, the 21st century administrative machinery needs to be lean, thin and down-sized.• The attainment of high standard of administration depends a great deal on the environment of work, which requires selection of capable officers, proper placement of officers and proper atmosphere of work.
  • On their part, bureaucrats require a change in attitude. They should be accountable for their decisions.
  • There is need to do field duties in districts more seriously, to get the feel of the pulse of the nation and to get people’s cooperation, not by force or use of authority, but by prompting, persuading, suggesting, stimulating and inspiring them.
  • It must be realized by every bureaucrat that he are there because of the people, not the people because of him. People are not an interruption to his work, but the purpose of it. In a country like India, where most of its people are illiterate or semi-literate, mere functional efficiency can not stir warmth. A little glow of welcome in the eyes of civil servant converts disappointment into exhilaration in the public. People, after meeting a civil servant, should return with satisfaction that they were heard patiently and sympathetically and that some one would be taking interest in their problems. 

April 24, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Development Administration


In the post war period in general, development consciousness and development efforts, emerged in the new nations of Asia, Africa, Latin America and parts of Europe, required a civil service of integrity, equipped with administrative ability and practical sagacity for development. Ferrel Heady1 says, “The importance of administration is almost universally recognised among commentators on development. Usually an effective bureaucracy is coupled with a rigorous modernizing elite as a pre-requisite for progress”. 

Development and Development Administration

The term `Development’ is explained in dictionaries as `end oriented’.   It is defined as a growth into a better, fuller, higher and mature condition. In the context of post war efforts at development, the term development also means a state directed and planned effort at change. Mr. Bata K. Dey1 says, “Development is a total plan of action, to bring about a directed or guided change in all aspects of social activity geared to national progress, with a heavy import of achievement of pragmatic goals”. If such is the meaning of development, naturally, the government and administration are jointly and deeply involved.

The administration concerned with developmental activities is called “development administration”. Development Administration is actually an action and goal-oriented administrative system geared to realize definite pragmatic values. These values are usually referred to as `nation-building’ and socio-economic progress’. Weldner2 defines Development Administration as “the process of guiding an organization towards the achievement of progressive political, economic and social objectives that are authoritatively determined in one manner or another”.

Fainsod3 , considers development administration as “a carrier of innovating values”, which also “ordinarily involves the establishment of machinery for planning economic growth and mobilization and allocating resources to expand national income”. Panandikar4 defined it as an “administration of planned change”. William J. Siffin5 says, “the essence of development administration is holistic change undertaken through integrated, organized and properly directed governmental action”.


J.N. Khosla4 points out “Development Administration not only envisages achievements of goals in a particular area of development by making a system more efficient, it must also reinforce the system imparting an element of stability as well as resilience to meet the requirements of future developmental challenges. Apart from putting emphasis on `pragmatic goals’, `innovating values’ or `holistic change’, also required is the `development design strategy’.

William Siffin and Milton Esman says there should be a focus on ‘Institution Building’. Siffin emphasizes that the essence of development is not to maintain, but to create effective institutions as and when required. For it, Development Administration needs efficient institutions having “ability to design, problem solving and making arrangements (involving technology)”.

Maximum utilization of all the resources

In the words of Donald Stone3 Development Administration is the blending of all the elements and resources (men, money and material) into a concerted effort to achieve agreed upon goals. It is the continuous cycle of formulating, evaluating and implementing inter-related plans, policies, programs, projects, activities and other measures to reach established development objectives in a scheduled time sequence. 

Role of Bureaucracy in development Administration 

According to Charles T.Goodsell2, Bureaucracy/civil services are essentially a mechanism for processor to provide planning and an institutional infrastructure to convert inputs of objectives, capital and know-how into developmental outputs. Valson1 says that owing to the other pre-occupation of political leadership and its lack of technical know-how, the role of civil service in policy making, which in theory is advisory, has become actually a determining one.

Main responsibilities of Bureaucracy for making Development successful

Converting policies into directive plans, programs and projects is an inevitable function of action oriented development bureaucracy. At higher levels, the development administration has to see policy formulation, goals and strategy; appropriations and allocations of funds; fixing priorities; execution of policy; direction and training. The middle level is usually responsible for learning and interpreting; energizing and supervising; coordination and collection of information. The lower level undertakes the role of mass contacts, demonstration of innovations, introduction of new institutions and collection of taxes.

Requirements of Development Bureaucracy

The following are the requirements needed for the personnel/civil servants engaged in development administration should have –

  • Mental framework – A scientific outlook. They should be progressive, innovative, reformist and even revolutionary in mental attitudes and approaches. They should never be rigid.
  • Knowledge – They should have enough knowledge in their respective areas of the work – be it in the field science, technology or general administration.
  • Skills – They require conceptual skills – ability for innovative thinking, problem – analysis, planning skills, technical skills, managerial skills and human skills.
  • Vision – A bureaucrat working for development administration requires the vision of a statesman and not that of either narrow-minded politicians or a rule-minded bureaucrat. Along with vision is required dynamism, integrity, drive and passion to convert dreams into reality.
  • Structures – Development Administration requires less hierarchical and more team-like structures such as Commissions, Boards, Corporations etc.

Behavior – The behavioral pattern should consist of (a) action and achievement orientation (b) responsiveness (c) responsibility (d) all round smooth relations inside with juniors and seniors and outside with clientele and the public (e) commitment to development ideologies and goals.

Besides, there should be –

  • A working partnership between the civil servants and the people.
  • Transparency in their working
  • A sense of service, a spirit of dedication, a feeling of involvement and a will to sacrifice for the public welfare.
  • A pragmatic application of the basic democratic principles. Higher civil servants should provide the required leadership to the lower levels of administration.
  • Constant field inspection by senior officials.
  • to provide the government with the ability to be in constant contact with the people; and
  • to make the people conscious that the government is alive to their problem;
  • Smooth relation between generalist administrators and experts specialists.
  • Training from time to time to understand the success already achieved in the field of development administration and the efforts to be initiated in future.

Weaknesses of Development Administration

According to Valson1, the higher-level development bureaucracy suffers from four constraints:

  • disagreements with political bosses;
  • the relatively better economic and social status of civil servants;
  • Supremacy of seniority and patronage than qualifications in promotions; and
  • Unwillingness of bureaucrats to accept new ideas and technology for fear of loss of power and positions.

Middle level is constrained by: –

  • conflict between young and old minds in civil service;
  • a high level of corruption;
  • low commitment to development; and conflict with higher level development bureaucracy and local politicians.

The lower level is facing:

  • insufficient qualifications;
  • poor salary;
  • loss of morale and loss of faith in development ideology due to frustrating field experience; and
  • loss of initiative, crippling subservience to seniors and sacrifice to developmental objectives.   

According to Ferrel Heady1, the main hindrances on the way of effective development are:

  • The growing gap between the rich and the poor nations or between different social strata within a nation. By seventies, the decaying trends had become noticeable in all the nations of developing world.   Events like fast developments in the developed countries and a crisis with liberal democracy in the developing or under-developed nations in seventies and the early eighties have dampened most traces of early optimism.
  • By the late sixties, a spirit of frustration and despair with `development administration’ and with `development’ in general had set in. For one thing, it became evident that externally induced modernization had failed to eradicate the basic problems of under-developed sections of society, it purported to solve. Whilst some significant increase in GNP had indeed taken place, poverty, disease and hunger had either worsened or remained unaltered.

Decaying trends

All developing nations have inherited many things from their past. Their colonial heritage has meant

  • a carry-over of the colonial bureaucratic traditions like elitism, authoritarianism, aloofness, red-tapism and paternalistic tendencies;
  • There is a lack of incentive for talented and skilled for manpower necessary for development program. It is caused by inadequacies and deficiencies in the educational system, recruitments, training schemes and brain drain.
  • There is lack of achievement orientation. The emphasis of civil servants is usually not on program goals, but on personal expediency, status-consciousness, and pleasing the political bosses. Reason for this is the persistence of traditional value system. Results of this tendency are `institutionalized’ and `socially sanctioned’ large-scale corruption and `over-staffing’ in lower bureaucracy.
  • Discrepancy between form and reality. There is wide gulf between the administrative form and reality due to a superficial change to modernizing values and substantial continuation of the traditional ideas. As a result, we find superfluous and excessive legislation or rules (which are normally violated), false delegations and decentralizations, eye-washing/superficial reports and continuing backwardness.

Due to all these factors like colonial tradition; monopoly of some elite civil services over technical and professional services; excessive control of general administrators services involved in the sustainable development of infra-structure sector of the nation; coercive power gained by some self-serving politicians; the tiredness, near absence of strong political leadership; committed bureaucracy etc. have all made it more self-serving rather than working for development oriented administration.



An appropriate designing and sincere shaping of the civil service for making the administrative system an effective instrument for achieving developmental goals can be done –

  • Development Administration mainly requires increasing the effectiveness of the human resource of administration termed as personnel or civil service.
  • For increasing effectiveness in administration, the entire personnel system should be efficient.
  • The role of the higher civil servants or the managerial cadre of service is always more important. As in development administration, they have to gear up their capacity to deal with continuous changes with vision, values, ideas, and monitor effective implementation of plans and programs of the government and its evaluation.


Making bureaucracy/civil service capable for development administration and achieve its goals within expected time is not an impossible thing. It requires a development of administration itself. Development of Administration means “a pattern of increasing effectiveness in the utilization of available means to achieve prescribed goals”. It can be done –

  • through patterning the Administrative structure; and
  • through patterning the behavior of civil servants.

Behavioural changes in bureaucratic patterns are obviously more important. These dimensions can be achieved either through reforms (structural) or through proper education and training of higher civil servants.

March 16, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happiness in life

“Life is there to live and live happily”

Laughing faces do not mean there is absence of sorrow. But it means that they have the ability to deal with it. Shakespeare

“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. Most of  the unhappiness of people are self-created.

Issue – The problem is how can people realize what real happiness is, how can they be happy and what they should do or what are the ways and means to achieve it.

What is happiness? – Many people desire to have ‘name’, ‘fame’ or ‘wealth’. They feel happy and empowered when they get control over muscle, money or occupy an influential place in the corridors of power/authority – be it social, political or economic. For them, controlling the destiny of others  is enjoyment and desire to 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 –

  • Sat (सत्)

  • Cit (चित्), and

  • Ānanda (आनन्द).

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 –

  • Knowledge, and

  • Contentment

  • 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.

November 15, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Senior Citizens and their Problems

  “A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘universe; a part of limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.) Albert Einstein

“The death of an elderly man is like burning a library.”   A proverb

Introduction – “Age is nothing but a number.” Not very long ago, retirement meant end of active life and wait for death, whenever it comes. So during the interim period, one should lead a sedentary life, most of the time be spent on reflection and meditation.

Not anymore – The mindset of old people is tuned to what Abraham Lincoln had said, … In the end, it is not the years in your life that count. It is the life in your years.” Or what Mark twain commented, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you do not mind, it does not matter.” Now there are no restrictions how a senior citizen should behave, act or think. The gap between generations has almost disappeared. Internet and social media have played a big role in making the free flow of ideas between people of all ages.

At present, as far as possible, Many old people refuse to retire in earlier traditional way, as it led to boredom, total dependence on sons, depleting funds, loneliness. Today with increased awareness, longevity and better health-care, most of the senior citizens after spending their prime time in job requirements and familial responsibilities, now look forward to pursue their hobbies holidaying, travelling or work which really interests them. They are careful to keep themselves emotionally, financially and health-wise fit enough to enjoy their retired life. There are so many opportunities for them to keep themselves occupied meaningfully, only they have to keep pace with the changing times.

Psychologist Gitanjali Sharma says very correctly, “The mind does not age like the body. In mind everybody is as old as one feels.” Failing energies with aging compels one to dependence – whether one likes it or not. That day comes in every body’s life, when he/she is compelled to depend on younger ones, even for fulfilling their daily needs. There is a saying – Old age is very bitter -“Tulsi wa fal kaun hai, pakat hi karuwaen”. Living with no hope of better health or better future itself, is very sad and painful. Indian scriptures have permitted voluntary death in old age, especially when one’s body is incapable of carrying out basic human activities for survival.

Issue – In modern societies such elderly people are usually neglected or treated well because of lack of time, patience and resources. Instances of parental abuse are increasing. Together with child abuse and spousal violence, neglect of elderly has been a hidden social problem an unholy trinity of domestic violence since long. The issue of neglecting elders encompasses physical as well as financial exploitation of the 60+ people. Dr. Buston wrote an article, “Granny-battering in the August Medical Journal 1975, “It is about time that all of us realized that elderly people too are at times deliberately battered”.

Gaps in present understanding of elder issues – There are many gaps in the present understanding of elder issues all-over the world. It is a complex problem. Youth are also too busy in their present world and have little apprehension of old people’s problems. Lack of sensitivity aggravates the problems more.

Old age becomes a source of many physical and mental worries for themselves as well as their near and dear ones. People do not know how extensive it is, what are the endangering factors, or what are the policies and interventions that would be effective to prevent or reduce these problems. Until and unless we understand the issue of elders abuse better. Any one of us could end up being a victim or a perpetrator.

Proper elderly care requires various measures ranging from better support of caregivers; more training and incentives to for those paid or unpaid – who take up the responsibility of helping elderly people; to legislation and provide the legal instruments for better protection to them. There should be better public awareness and education about Geriatric Psychiatry to know the common causes and signs of elder abuse or to be aware of the existence of Elder Protection Team and how to make a report.

Difficulties in old age – The reasons behind the difficulties old persons have to face are indifferent family response, slow interventions and intra-familial pressures. Even in many well-off families, youth misbehave with elderly. There are many cases reported in newspapers when the old parents are often considered a burden by married children. They are abandoned, compelled into destitution and isolation or even eliminated. In order to preserve or save family honour and reputation, many senior citizens bear it silently, deny or cover-up the ill-treatment they get from their own children. There is a large number of elderly persons, whose sons/daughters are settled abroad. It is not always possible for young sons/daughters to reach to their parents immediately. So much and so disgusted are some senior citizens, that they pre-book for their funeral services.

Usually, the main trouble of elderly arises because of dementia which means a loss of memory. With them it is “a progressive loss of comprehension, judgment, insight, speech and physical function. Psychological and behavioural changes in elders make them dependent and vulnerable. Increasing burden and stress of modern life makes the service giver (family members, paid caregivers, friends and professional health-care workers) agitated and aggressive, which starts from verbal abuse and neglect. The vulnerability and weakness with growing age tends to shake old persons’ self-confidence forever.

Euthanasia, both active and passive (Ichcha mrityu or freedom to die) – Many older people think that it seems to be cruel to keep a person alive even in vegetative stage, when medical opinion is as certain as can be, that there is no chance of recovery, for both – the patient and his family. Such people, who choose to die peacefully should be allowed to do so. In the past Supreme Court has acknowledged that the right to dignity in life extends to the right to a dignified death. Active euthanasia means assist in patients immediate death through painless injection. Passive means withdrawing life-support. There must be strict safeguards to ensure that the provision is not misused by people who may benefit from the death of the patient.

Senior citizens in India – Elderly population is in increase in India. India will soon become one of the countries in the world having largest number of older people. Medical science has improved public health and quality of life, reduced old-age suffering and improved average life span. Still there are many physical and mental problems. A Sample Registration System Report says (TOI, p.13, 2.4.2012). Nearly 7.5% of India’s population is currently above 60 years. A majority of them are in rural areas. In urban areas too, better education, health facilities and awareness has increased the life expectancy. (A Sample Registration System Report quoted from TOI, p.13, 2.4.2012).

Importance of Family for well-being of elders – One of the salient feature of Indian culture is to revere and take care of the elders in their old age. Family has been the mainstay of social support. Traditional and conservative society view is that it is the duty of parents to take care of their children till they mature enough to meet the challenges and get settled in life. Similarly sons/daughters are obliged to take care of their old parents when their energies fail. Offering Prayers or performing rituals for dead have no meaning, if one does not look after well one’s own parents/grand-parents while they are alive. The National Policy on Older Persons also recognizes the importance of family for the well-being of older persons.

Elder’s Abuse – Elder abuse is a complex, poorly understood problem. It, along with child abuse, sexual abuse forms a trinity of domestic violence. The issue of elder abuse encompasses physical, psychological, sexual abuse, neglect as well as financial exploitation of senior citizens. They are discriminated and marginalized by the mainstream of society. In 1975, G.R. Busrston attracted the attention of people towards the problems of elders in his article ‘Granny battering, published in the British Medical Journal (August issue) –“It is about time that all of us realized that elderly people too are, at times, deliberately battered.”

 A study on abuse of India’s elderly, conducted across 20 cities and over 5,500 people has found that ill-treatment of elders is on rise.

  1. “Even in this age and time, 58% of older persons in India are living with the family. The findings of this report also confirm confidence in the ability of the family to care for its elder members.” (Quoted from TOI, p11, 29 Sept, 2012)
  2. Almost 1 in 3 (32%) have faced abuse. (TOI, 29 Sept. 2012, p.1) The study revealed that Indian sons (56%) and their wives (23%) were found to be the primary abuser. They are not treating their aged parents well. Then comes the neighbors, living in nearby places, especially in multi-storied flats, shrewd friends and members of extended families. There are more than 50% cases which remain unreported in order to uphold family honor.
  3. Out of total older men who faced difficulty 47% cases were reported and 53% did not report.

States with high abuse rates are Madhya Pradesh (77.12%), Assam 60%, UP 52%, Gujrat 43% and AP 42.86%., West Bengal 40.93%. People in Rajasthan are most well-behaved with the elderly in their family. States with low abuse rates are Rajasthan 2%, HP 3%, Kerala 11%, Maharashtra 39%, and Delhi 30% and TN 27.56%. In Delhi, out of 84% cases of those who felt abused by their sons or their wives, 69% felt disrespected. 76%of those abused did not report it.

What can be done to give relief to elderly people – Measures needed to be taken to control elder abuse –

  • To promote family values,
  • Sensitize the young on the necessities of older people and promote in them desirability of meeting familial obligations.
  • The most effective measure is through sensitizing children and strengthening inter-generation bonding.
  • Increased economic independence.
  • Initiate state policies to encourage young generation to co-reside with their parents by providing tax relief, allowing rebates for medical expenditures and giving preference in allotment of houses.
  • Short term staying facilities for older persons, so that family can get some relief when oldies go out.
  • There should be nation-wide programs in schools and colleges for sensitizing children and young adults towards the aging and the aged,
  • Sensitization of healthcare workers to recognize and develop a protocol for treating,
  • Develop a robust social security system that not only ensures income security to the older persons, but also gives them opportunities for income generation.
  • It is one of the primary ethical duty of any welfare government and its institutions to provide comfortable environment for elderly and terminally ill persons or to ease their anxiety, stress, or pain and other problems, physical, psychological and spiritual by opening healthcare centers in each and every local area, to take care, genuinely and compassionately, of their day today physical, medical and mental necessities.
  • Government should build flats for senior citizens specially designed keeping in view the special needs of old-age – from grab rails in bathrooms and corridors to anti-skid flooring, arthritis friendly taps, wheelchair friendly lifts and flooring etc. It will give them secure atmosphere and live independently with dignity.

As a welfare state, UK is one of the foremost nation in the world for providing best possible care to its elderly people as well. It has developed many effective and efficient support systems for elderly and terminally ill patients – thanks to Mac Millon’s institution, being the major force behind it. palliative care is not an essential part of the treatment regimen. In India, most patients cannot afford institutionalized care (such as in hospice).

Geriatric and palliative care in India – At least 1.2 million disabled people in India are living in households consisting only of persons with disability. Life is a challenge for them. There are 24.9 cr total households in 2011 out of which households with one or more disabled person is 2.1 crore and disabled persons living on their own are 11.8 lakh. (TOI Report, Aug 29, 2014, P. 9)

Cases of old parents being abandoned or abused is on increase across the country, a survey (across 12 cities, 1200 senior citizens surveyed across 12 cities) was conducted. It pointed out that 60% of senior citizen’s experienced (mostly verbal, rather than physical) abuse. Generally women are more vulnerable than men, report suggests. Most of them do not know how to deal with the abuse.

Common forms of abuse, which are on rise, are verbal abuse, disrespect, and neglect. Common reasons are emotional dependence on children, economic dependence of elders and changing ethos. Now elders lack confidence in any person be it their own off-springs, close relatives, friends/neighbors or any governmental (be it police, helpline etc.) or non-governmental organizations. Fear of retaliation and their vulnerability are the reasons behind this kind of distrust. Also elderly persons believe in maintaining family honour and confidentiality of a family matter and become silent sufferers as many of them live with their abusers i.e. their own children.

Unfortunately palliative care is not in the priority list of health schemes of the government. Doctors are too busy battling disease rather than caring about offering pain relief or emotional balm. Of the 9 million estimated deaths every year, almost 6 million are said to need palliative care. This includes almost all cases of cancer (80% of the 1 million new cases in India come for treatment at advanced stage.) Then there are conditions – AIDS, muscular dystrophy, dementia, multi-organ failure, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases, end-stage renal disease, heart diseases, those who are permanently bedridden and people with neurological problems.

The demand for palliative care is expected to explode with increasing life span and shift from acute to chronic illness. With it increases the need to improve the quality of life of patients and their families facing problems associated with life-threatening-illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychological and spiritual.

How to deal – There is a strong need to give elderly persons proper protection It requires –

  • Economic independence for elderly people,
  • Sensitizing youth,
  • Strengthening intergenerational bonding
  • Developing groups of elderly for assistance, intervention

Sensitize the Youth of the day – Instead of running after blindly for name, fame or money, they should feel that it is the time for them to pay-back for whatever they love and care they got from their parents till now. Youth of the day have more education facility, more exposure and more talented and capable to do wonderful work in technological field than previous generations. But most of them neither have time nor tolerance for older people. There is a need to sensitize people about elders.

The focus should be on propagating and inculcating family values so that the needs of the elderly are met by family members to the maximum extent possible. Future of humanity lies in resurrection of family values like sharing vision, caring, loyalty and discipline.

Developing an effective legal reporting and redressal-system – Realizing the need Government of India has enacted Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior citizens Act 2007 has been. It aims “to provide for more effective provisions for maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens guaranteed and recognized under the Constitution and for matters connected there with or incidental thereto.”

The Act outlines the legal options available to elders.

  • Parents and grandparents who cannot maintain themselves can demand maintenance under the Act.
  • Maintenance include food, clothing, residence, medical attendance and treatment.
  • Maximum maintenance cannot exceed Rs. 10,000/- per month.
  • The state government can designate a social welfare officer to ensure the senior citizen gets maintenance.
  • If children/relatives fail to pay maintenance within three months, the tribunal can impose a fine and even imprison them, the tribunal can impose a fine and even imprison them till the fine and even imprison them till the fine is paid.
  • If senior citizen is abandoned, children/relatives can be imprisoned for up-to three months or fined up-to Rs.5,000, or both.

Proper training to care-takers – The vice chairman, medical board, research, at the institute of Mental Health has advised that there should be better support of care-givers, more training and incentives for those who take care of their elderly, legislate to provide legal instruments to better protect the elderly. There should be better public awareness and education. (,)

  • Need of trained care-taker/institutional help – It has been observed that within a family presence of domestic help lessens the burden of family members and reduces the burden and stress of care-giver and minimizes the chances of elder abuse as the presence of “non-family member” within household places a restraining hand.

 Winding up – As is evident, in India elderly population is in increase. It will soon become one of the countries in the world having largest number of older people. Medical science has improved public health and quality of life, reduced old-age suffering and improved average life span. Age longevity Old age still becomes a source of many physical and mental worries.

Growing awareness about the agonies of old people – Recently, welfare of senior citizens has assumed significance. Age longevity has given rise to new set of problems. Failing energies as one gets older every year, needs support of youth at every step, no matter what is ones bank-balance. The responsibility of looking after old parents falls on already aged and weakened shoulders. As age of the sons and daughters advances, even their own shoulders are not strong enough to bear the burden and solve all the problems of elders.

Collapse of family as a social institution, while aping the west is causing severe problems. Innovations in medical science have solved many problems, but simultaneously it has forced a person to live unnaturally, just for the fact that they are still alive. It is very difficult for them to lead a quality of life. Sometimes family has to sell homes, beg and borrow to look-after terminally ill patient.

New support systems – Many new kind of support systems have come up like – Night shelters, old-age homes or other senior living projects etc. but they are only transitory measures. Living away from a loving family is really harsh. However while coping demands of a fast-paced life, when it becomes difficult the youth to shoulder the burden of oldies, old age homes are an alternative for elderly people. The continuously growing number of old persons has given rise to the number of old age homes as well. Some offers short stay facilities where the elderly can be kept while family members are out of town. Some provide pay and stay facilities to live securely. The concept of retirement homes in particular areas have been gaining ground. There are some specialized apartments which give elders a sense of community as they live away from their families in a multistoried flats.

Senior citizens not only require protection from the younger generation, but also love and care. They hardly have anybody to talk freely or share their emotions with. The younger generation does not have time or patience to listen the same story again and again.

Distances, a problem for younger generation – Some educated and aware old people realize the difficulties their children face in coming immediately every time, they face  an emergency. There young sons/daughters also have their own liabilities – familial as well at their workplace.  But many old ones take it to their heart. They keep on brooding and many of them become the victim of depression. It is more practical for senior citizens to be in close touch with the relatives, friends and colleagues of their own age living in their local area, so that they get required assistance immediately when-ever needed.


October 29, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 21 Comments

Modernity of 21st century


Lata Sinha

“Life is to be lived, not controlled” (Barrack Obama)

“Every art and every inquiry and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim.’  (Aristotle)

And to lead a happy life, –

“Keep your thought positive because your thought becomes your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”

Paradox of modernity

George Carlin (‘O Tempora, O Mores’) has described beautifully the modernity of twenty first century and the life style of modern times –

“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.

We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.

We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.


Issac Newton has said, “Truth is ever to be found in simplicity and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” Modern world is full of confusions as per the saying of George Carlin (‘O Tempora, O Mores’) mentioned above. And the adverse effect of Modernity is visible all-over the world. Erosion of traditional values and decay of morality in ‘community life’ has been a matter of concern everyone. Leaders and intelligentsia now desire to restore the moral values back.

Mostly the children of twenty-first century are brought up and educated in such a way that they there learn to stand on their feet firmly, quite early in life. The youth living in western countries or brought up in western life-style become politically and economically independent better much earlier than their previous generation and counterparts living in eastern societies. However, quite often they end up “Bowling Alone” (in sociologist Robert Putnam’s memorable phrase) and unhappy.

Complexity of modern life

In-spite of having so much exposure to knowledge and technological developments, complexities in modern life-style are increasing every day. Cut-throat competition for being one-up kills the human values of ‘caring, sharing and accepting others heartily’. Instead it teaches an individual to care only for oneself. For achieving success in life, self-interest sometimes incites people to ‘Go and kill’ others in self-interest or.

Aversion to traditional values and systems

Amongst twenty-first century youth, there is gradual disappearance of the sense of morality. There is a trend of aversion to traditional values and systems. There is ruthless competition amongst them for material gains. Most of the time, their life-style is based on in-discipline. Chase for materialism in present consumerist world has lead them towards favoritism, violence, corruption has weakened the social fabric of a modern society beyond repair.

Scientific knowledge a source to preserve and destroy of power

Over and above all this, scientific and technological developments have endowed man with tremendous power both to ‘preserve and destroy’ anything. At slightest provocation, people do not hesitate to unleash destructive powers accessible to him. It has, once again, made the human life of modern society “nasty, brutish and short”.

Creation of civil society

Today there is an urgent need to make each and every society a civilized one. It requires a society/nation to reach to an advanced stage of mannerism and inculcate in its people eternal humanitarian values in all the spheres – intellectual, technological, cultural values. A civilized society/nation needs to create well-meaning systems for the benefit of the whole society.

Social norms/values/code of conduct

Based on experiences, traditions and customs, every society sets a code of conduct for all the members of a society, defines rights and duties of all all the sections society. It not only regulates behavior of individuals within the community, but also provides practical and useful vision/guidelines to be followed by its members everywhere, be it their personal, family, community, social, professional, national or universal life.

Basis for setting code of conduct

Social values are formed on the basis of specific needs, time-frame, mind-set of the people of that society and total atmosphere/circumstances of that place. Experiences of many generations form the basis to set code of conduct. In due course of time, it takes the shape of customs, traditions and rituals, which are observed by the common men living in that respective society. Efforts put by different social groups of a society at different point of time develop the attitude, aptitude and innate psycho-biological traits of its people. Over a period of time, all together set up the social norms/values of a society. Value system of a society does not remain static. It keeps on changing from place to place and time to time.

Difference between Morality vs. Moral-policing

There is difference between social values/code of conduct and moral policing. Morality preaches individuals to exercise self- restraint in all respect, be it in the matter of daily routine, occupation or social relationship.

  • While social values/morality is concerned with self-discipline, moral policing is to discipline others.
  • Unadulterated social values, morality, mannerism and norms based on reason and experiences help people to improve one’s own behavior by making conscious efforts for self-control, self-direction and self-discipline rather than forcing others to behave.
  • Morality leads to peaceful co-existence, while moral policing generates agitation in people’s mind.
  • Morality/social values cannot be taught like texts, nor tested in written examinations. They are learnt by living and practicing it in day to day life.
  • Morality is not something which could be decided or opined at one point of time or propagated by self-styled Messiahs of a society or can be forced upon people.
  • Morality believes in decentralized self-regulated system – be it in social, political religious or economic life of an individual.

Self-styled Messiahs

Politicians, religious gurus or powerful lobby of elders or self-styled reformists cannot become the guardians of social values/culture. Their role in a civilized society is that of facilitators. They are supposed to inculcate positive attitude, good values and thinking by creating friendly atmosphere and arranging a sound system of education.

‘Born free but everywhere in Chains’

A human being is born free and desires to lead a free life. Now-a-days, in modern societies, there is too much emphasis on freedom and liberty of individuals. It is quite often said that an individual is born free and therefore, is entitled to lead an absolutely free life, – ‘I will do, what I want’ and ‘I do not care for anybody’ etc. etc. Everyone desires to have full liberty and freedom from all the liabilities/bondages.

Absolute freedom not possible

Total freedom or establishment of an absolutely free society is not possible, if one wants to live with other human beings. Where everybody lives/acts according to one’s own wishes without caring for other members of the society, a situation of lawlessness is created. In turn, lawlessness creates an atmosphere of a jungle, where ‘Survival of the fittest’ is the norm. ‘Survival of the fittest’ and ‘law of jungle’ instinct can be accepted in a civilized society.

For survival, ‘law of jungle’ develops killer-instinct within a person’s mind It makes him very selfish and forget about others’ conveniences. Such a mindset makes the whole atmosphere tense/uncertain and makes human life, ‘nasty brutish and short’ (Hobbes).

How to create a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere?

In order to have a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere, creation of a civil society becomes necessary. In a civil society, no one is totally free to think or act according to his wishes. There people find themselves all the time in chains. Everybody has to live within frames, follow the ‘rule of law’ and observe in general the values, norms and systems created by the society. Nature has given enough wisdom to all the individuals. Only one has to listen to his/her conscience. It gives a human being enough power to escape from unruly/unwanted behavior.

Individual as a social being

As famous Greek philosopher Aristotle says, “A human being is a social animal. If he does not live with men or amongst men, then surely either he is god or a beast.” Living together peacefully is not an easy task. Dealing with some people is easy and natural, while with others complicated and difficult. People’s desire/need to live together peacefully in a harmonious atmosphere, a code of conduct is set for the people and is enforced by the authorities of that society or nation. Set norms and rules keep a control on laws of jungle and make the living of the people of society peaceful and harmonious and ultimately lead towards civilization.

Right balance between rights and duties

A civilized society needs to have a balanced outlook towards rights and duties. Keeping the right balance between the two is very difficult. To ensure that all people could enjoy their rights, liberty and freedom properly and equally, society sets some norms. It ensures that while enjoying one’s own rights, one should give due regards to others’ liberty and freedom as well, which in turn becomes his duties. One’s own rights binds others and becomes others duties, and other’s freedom binds him in return.

Due regards to others liberty, while exercising one’s own

Code of conduct teaches people to give due regards to others liberty and freedom while exercising one’s own liberty and freedom. An individual’s freedom binds others and other’s freedom binds him in return. Observance of norms and rules puts everybody ‘everywhere in chains’. It draws a line on human freedom and his behavior and keeps a control on the unruly behavior. It makes a person more humane. The whole atmosphere becomes peaceful and pleasant and ultimately leads a society to become more and more matured, cultured or civilized.

Foundation of human relationships, rights or duties?

In general, ‘Rights’ forms the natural foundation of human relationships in the societies of Western countries. Eastern societies have been evolved around the concept of ‘duties’. Too much importance to rights, though gives more opportunities to enjoy life, but it tends to make individuals selfish, arrogant and unmindful of others conveniences. More stress on duties tends to make people too humble, tolerant and submissive even to raise their voice against excesses and trains people in obedience without questioning.

Both the systems leaves something more to be desired. Advanced nations have succeeded in creating systems to keep an effective check on arbitrary behavior of people and developing respect for ‘rule of law’. Developing and underdeveloped nations, especially in eastern part of the word are still struggling to improve law and order position in their countries.

Culture of India

In principle – According to the tradition and culture of India, doctrines of Dharma and Karma define rights and duties of different sections of society. It gives to people an abiding sense of purpose to life, an aim to be actively striven for, cutting across class distinctions and regional boundaries, bridging the distance between rural and urban folk and between the illiterate and educated. Common men in India still regard doctrines of Dharma and Karma as norms and values of good conduct. These principles are applicable to everyone, show people follow the path of righteousness and develop harmonious relationship between different sections of society.

Observance of these principles in the past

In ancient India, sacrifice was regarded far more important than success and renunciation as the crowning achievement. On most of the occasions, stress on duties combined with the principle of inter-dependence ensured social harmony and prevented rivalries and jealousies between different sections of society. In the past, it helped the people to adjust themselves and adapt themselves slowly but steadily to changing times without much difficulty.

On the whole, the system worked so well that when the world was passing through the Dark Age, India was full of light. It had prevented people to exercise coercion against its working class, whereas in ancient Greece, Rome or other European countries, people were made to work under the threat of a whip, ancient India remained peaceful and ensured social harmony. Also, while other nations passed through many bloody revolutions in the past, India kept on adapting itself to changing times.

Undesirable developments in Indian society

At the dawn of twenty first century, India has become a land of paradoxes. Some unpleasant changes have taken place in the recent past, which are multiplying every day in the character, role and inter-relationship of these main constituent of the national elites – political executive, legislators, bureaucrats businessmen, media-persons, organized workers and surplus farmers. As the result, on one hand, common-men feel very insecure and confused. They have lost faith not only in governing authorities, but also in their fellow-beings and in them-selves as well. On the other hand, scientific progress has endowed man with tremendous power both to preserve and destroy. At slightest provocation, one does not hesitate to unleash destructive powers accessible to him.

Alarming disparities of power, wealth and culture

There exist alarming disparities of power, wealth and culture amongst different parts and sections of the nation. In the recent past, the black money has subverted the whole socio political structure of the nation. Glaring disparities between different sections have been a cause of great social, political and economic tension. Whereas, the cumulative wealth of India’s 10 richest people is 6% ($ 114.50 billion) of India’s GDP, the cumulative wealth of America’s 10 richest people is mere 2% (311.30 billion). On the other hand 60% of the Indian population lives below poverty line.

Sectional and regional imbalances

Sectional conflicts are increasing day by day. There are sectional and regional imbalances, which have led to ever-increasing conflicts in the society and generated different kinds of social and psychological tensions. Attempts for social changes superficially have made a virtue of narrow loyalties of class, caste, creed or religion, generating sub-cultures like favoritism, lure for easy money, nepotism and, in-discipline in the society.

Lure for easy money

Lure for easy money has degenerated work culture. Rule of law has got adversely affected due to under-currents of sectarian politics, which makes the task of governance difficult and ineffective.

Centralization of control systems

These developments have led to complete centralization of control systems in the hands of a few individuals/groups or nations having political, money or muscle power behind them, who rule and control destiny of millions of people. They try to reform people, the way they want.


A nation or money can be created overnight, but it takes several generations for a society or a nation to become cultured or civilized in its true sense. The downfall in the observance of human values/norms/mannerism has led India to its present position. It has become a land of paradoxes. Once again, India has to get rid of the undesirable elements of modernity like narrower viewpoints, decay of traditional values, prejudiced mindset, trouble in accepting others. shallow relationships, broken homes etc. The nation needs to reach up to advanced stage of mannerism in true sense and make developments all the spheres – intellectual, technological, cultural values and to create well-meaning systems, so that  the whole society could taste the fruits of all-round development.

It can be concluded quoting Katha Upnishad 1.3.3-6,”Know that Self is the rider and body the chariot; intellect is the charioteer, and mind the reins. The senses are the horses; the roads they travel are the mazes of desire…” Keep the horses under control.

October 16, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments



The Kayasthas trace their genealogy from Adi Purush Shri Chitragupta Maharaj, the son of Lord Brahama, the son of Lord Brahamawho had 12 sons with two wives, Irawati/Shobhwati and Sudakhina/Nandani. These 12 sons were married to Nagakanyas of Nagraj Vasuki and were the origin of the 12 castes of the Kayasthas. The same legend, with slight variation, is found in most of the Puranas. There are

Like Brahmins, who are being natural learners and pursuers of knowledge, Kayasthas were also quick to  go for modern education and move ahead of other communities. Their long tradition and undisputed role in the field of knowledge and learning, their intelligence, sincerity and hard work helped them to take a lead in all newer areas of advancement and secure an important place in the society.

Kayasthas are one of the most secular community. Of all the castes and communities in India, they are the easiest to mingle with others. Their cosmopolitan and secular outlook and focus on education and revenue work  distinguished them from others. These two factors have been the main factors, which to a large extent are responsible for their success in changing times.

After Hinduism re-emerged around 2nd century, many liberal-minded people from the four Varnas, who had joined Budhism earlier, wished to come back to their original ‘Varna’ were not allowed to do so. It is said that at that time Brahmins refused to take them back into Hinduism saying that Hinduism does not believe in conversion or re-conversion. Time had given opportunity to such people to get a new identity. The people, who were learned who were proficient in revenue work and whose traditional occupation was reading,  writing came to be known as ‘Kayasthas’.

Kayasthas mingled with other communities without any fuss again and again. Such as during medieval period with Muslim and or during under British rule in modern times. In recent past Kayasthas in global world have mingled with other nationals more than they mingle among themselves in India. This cosmopolitan outlook distinguished members of this caste. Along with the great emphasis on education, is to a large extent responsible for their success in changing times.

  • Kayasthas are the only sect who are referred to as direct “blood” descendants of a Vedic god (Chitragupta) in the religious texts and the only ancestor-worshiping sect of Hinduism.
  • Kāyastha are said in the Vedas and Puranas to have a dual-caste status, i.e. Brahmin and Kshatriya.
  • Kayasthas are more secular in attitude than other sections of society. People from all the four Varnas have formed different sub-castes.
  • The Anthropological Survey of India conducted a survey during the British Raj which concluded that the Kayastha community were also influential during the Mauryan period as administrators. Also, many proof have been found that the Hindu Kings used to grant lands to the Kayasthas, a practise enjoyed only by a particular caste.
  • The Kayastha were one of the most influential Caste in Kashmiri politics around 7th century (ref. Rajatarangini) .
  • During Mughal rule, Kayastha developed expertise in Persian (the state language in Islamic India), learnt Turkish, Arabic and later Urdu, economics, administration and taxation.
  • In the colonial era, learnt English, whilst the more affluent ones sent their children to England. Many Kayastha became civil servants, tax officers, junior administrators, teachers, legal helpers and barristers. They rose to the highest positions accessible to natives in British India .
  • Kayasthas are mainly spread across Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, North India.
  • Kayasthas worship Shree Chitraguptaji and on Bhai-Dooj, they celebrate Kalam-Dawaat Pooja (pen, ink-pot and sword worship), a ritual in which pens, papers and books are worshipped
  • Kayasthas eat onions, garlic, meats like mutton and chicken, fish and eggs, though a large number are also vegetarians. Meat eating kayasthas do avoid beef as the cow is considered sacred for Hindus.
  • It is believed, though not yet proved, that Kayasthas of holy towns like Prayag, Mathura, Varanasi, etc. are purely vegetarians, while in other areas they may be mixed. It is said that Kayasthas started eating meat during the Muslim period when they socially mixed with the Muslims. It is also said that Kayasthas have the best eating sense, because amongst Hindus, Kayasthas add the largest varieties of food to their diet.
  • They are experts in revenue and legal professions.
  • They have given a tough competition to the Brahmins in the sphere of education (Grammer=School) and modern callings.

Post independence Kayasthas rose to the highest positions in administration in judiciary, There are many top civil servants and high ranking officers in the Indian armed forces. Some prominent kayasthas are the first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, third Prime Minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri are Swami Vivekananda, Sri Arbindo, Subhash Chandra Bose, Amitabh Bachchan, Raju Srivastava, Sri Arbindo, Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan,   Munsh iPremchand, Mahadevi Varma, Dr. Vrindavan Lal Verma, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Bhagwati Charan Verma, Ramkumar Verma, Dharmavir Bharati, Sri Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, Firaq Gorakhpuri etc.

Many Kayasthas have emigrated to the West since 1970s and especially after 1990’s. Their numbers are increasing every year.

October 5, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment