ByÂ Mani Agarwal:
An aspiring youth of India giving up the “simple life of a common man”, private job, settled married life away from the abstruse system of our country, prepares for one of the world’s most competitive exams (UPSC); only because he thinks he is different from the crowd of which he is a part ,because he thinks he can change the way things are done, because he thinks he has the gut to take on the stride fearlessly and efficiently.
The recent suspension of SDM Durga Shakti Nagpal of Gautam Budhh Nagar in UP, quite literally establishes that fact that what we think doesn’t always happen. She must have also prepared with the same rigour, hoping to be a part of the changed system and doing her duty honestly. Although the ironic suspension of officers for doing what should actually be done is no breaking news; she was lucky that hers caught media attention, and today, the whole country is with her.
Every officer doesn’t have the same destiny. There are many in our country who are slashed for doing what they are supposed to do and Â not what they are not expected to. Ashok Khemka is another such gentleman who was made to receive what each honest officer is awarded in our country: transfer. There can be no debate on the fact that what they have done for the country is really commendable and new officers should learn a great deal from them. Every aspirant should search for a Durga or Khemka in him/her. However there is also no denying the fact that such actions of the Government does affect the psyche of both an officer and an aspirant.
The reality is that, not everyone has a Durga and Khemka in him/her. Experiencing and experimenting are never on same page. After all they all are human beings and fear the mighty. Even if someone tries to get out of this notorious nexus he is pulled back. Majority of them have developed a view as to why take risk and search for safer havens even if that is at the cost of the nation. This is the reason why we have only a handful of Durgas and Khemkas in our country.
A ‘general’ aspirant is the most pliable in such a situation. With a ‘clean slate’ of mind, getting to know the system by reading about it, agreeing with it at some places and disagreeing at other suffers a backlash every time he reads how some of the most bright and intelligent public servants are like puppets in the hands of not much educated politicians. At times a string of questions pops up in his/her mind; For what am I toiling so much? Is it worth it? Will I be able to actually defend my stand? What if I will be suspended /transferred?
The problem is not that such questions hinder the enthusiasm of joining the service (in most cases I must say), but it is the attitude which they endow prior to joining one. The ever existing clichÃ© of “yahan aise hi chalta hai” accompanies them on the way to their posts. By the time they actually get to know the system, what they are supposed to do (or rather not supposed to do) is crystal clear.
However among the group there are some who dare and will continue to dare and challenge the wrong; telling those with the clout that not all Durgas and Khemkas have kowtowed to this hypocrisy. We pray that they never do (because somehow we do accept that system is not going to change in the near future). We hope their strength multiplies (because we know their strength will come down with subsequent suspensions) .We pledge to support them (because the system will not).