Saluting Durga’s Shakti by Indus Calling.

published on August 3, 2013

Saluting Durga’s Shakti by Indus Calling : Tarun Vijay’s blog – TOI.

The name, a bit uncommon, is enough to feel the real substance behind it. She did what an IAS officer is supposed to do and what many others like her do not dare to do.
The way the institution of a politician has seen a rapid fall in the eyes of the masses, the administrative officialdom too has gone down in public esteem. To get a simple work done smoothly in any government office is simply not possible, thanks to the nexus between the corrupt politician and the doubly smart and conniving babu. It’s only officers like Durga Shakti, very rarely seen to be receiving media sympathies, who make a difference and help restore people’s confidence in the system.
I had a couple of friends, classfellows and roommates in the early struggling Delhi days who made it to the IAS. Bright, dreamy eyed, full of vigour to change the system and become genuinely ‘people’s servants’.  They faced hurdles at every step. Initially they were called, ‘immature, adventurist, ‘naya naya hai, kuch din mein seekh jayega (he is a new recruit, will learn soon) etc. After a couple of years, they found not much could be changed. Netas and parties may change but the colour of corruption and file-raj remains the same. Then finally what changes them is the needs to have a better place for children’s education, a comfortable life for family and a land for post-retirment time in Gurgaon, NOIDA or  Dehradun. And the saheb becomes ‘mature and seasoned’.
It happens that those who are ‘liked by the neta’ are given plum postings like districts of their choice and the high earning departments. The ‘others’ are sent to so called hard postings like border areas. In some states, even the district-postings are said to be given to the ”highest bidders’, like the one we saw in a recent movie-Jolly LL.B..
The corrupt politician and his cronies will never let an honest officer work in peace.  And to become ‘seasoned, mature and reliable’ also sometimes means a pliable officer who cooperates with the corrupt politicians.
People hate politicians more than the corrupt officers because they feel these netas are the real cause of the fall in administration’s standards. In Uttarakhand I have seen how officers behave rudely and are ruthlessly arrogant. Such insensitive and arrogant officers were the other face of the disaster during Kedarnath tragedy.
The colour of the party hardly matters. The colour of nexus overwhelms everything else. Even the letters of Members of Parliament remain unanswered by secretary and joint secretary level officers. One letter I had sent got a reply exactly after 13 months. The others are still awaiting a two-line acknowledgement. One officer, whom I expected to reply immediately, told me after one and a half months, ‘we couldn’t accept your request to help a Vivekananda yatra for government school students hence the reply was not sent’.
What gives such officers to wear an unhealthy attitude and still get away with it? How can they afford to live like a king and ignore people and their representatives? The key to have a shield is to have a political protector that might be a CM, a minister or a senior office bearer of the ruling party. Be on his right side and live happily without caring a hoot for the public responsibilities.
Whom can we report about them? The Chairman of Rajya Sabha? The Union minister for Personnel? The chief minister? The chief secretary? No sir, none among us believes anything will be done on any genuine complaints. The politicization of the bureaucracy has become so rampant and widespread that barring an honest and upright officer absolutely nothing can be done against an erring and corrupt babu.
They are the first to know which way the political wind is blowing and much before anything has happened on the 2014 electoral prospects, these officers have already started cozying up to the leaders of the parties they think would have a winning chance.
So no surprise that it was too easy for a politician to take action against Durga Shakti of NOIDA. She is comparatively junior, hasn’t become a ‘seasoned’ and ‘mature’ officer who would ‘understand’ the demands of a political crony, wont be able to make much noise as she would know her career is in the hands of these netas.  Might yield early after a few murmurs of ‘ protests’.
Normally those who control the fate of these IAS/IPS officers in New Delhi advice such enthusiastic officers to avoid confrontation, lie low even if they are unfairly and unjustifiably treated, accept a quiet transfer and follow the system.
Suppose Durga Shakti is able to get a reprieve from Central Administrative Tribunal, it will be a slap on the face of the Akhilesh government. In that eventuality will he accept this gracefully or wait for another opportune time to teach her a befitting lesson? These are the long-term fears that finally make the initial enthusiasm of an officer die down soon and become a ‘seasoned’ yes man.
Whether it is Ashok Khemka of Haryana cadre who was transferred after he ordered a probe into Vadra land deals or a Durga Shakti, these are the salt of our earth, less in numbers but having great value in sustaining hope and trust of common people in Satyamev Jayate.

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