Sunday, December 16, 2012

Promotions quotaised....

Political parties can go to any lengths for the sake of votebank politics and for playing up to the gallery.

The latest is the bill that's being pushed in Parliament for reservation of seats for promotions in government jobs for the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes. It might sail through with deft floor management in both the houses but doesn't augur well for the country in the long run. Firstly, it gives undue advantage for a section of the society while putting the remaining majority into a perennial disadvantage. And secondly, one wonders as to whether it's really helpful to the section that it's supposed to bring in succour.

I recall years ago, Sri Girdhari lal, who was transferred to my office as a staff officer in his final years in service. He'd reached that position, jumping over many of his contemporaries, because he belonged to one of the scheduled castes. A well meaning man and a thorough gentleman, Girdhari had six children(two boys and four girls) and hailed from Gorakhpur in western UP. What I remember of him was the way he smoked cigarette after cigarette during the course of a day. I used to chide him on this habit of his, because of his deep and at times, prolonged coughs, but he used to take it lightly - giving me his hallmark, toothy grin in the process - firstly, because I puffed on my pipe and secondly, because he was convinced that he couldn't kick the butt in this life of his.

He used to tell me about his personal matters and was constantly worried about his sons who'd done badly in their studies and did manual jobs and a bit of farming in their plot of land. They're clamouring for their share of the property and he was averse to the idea, as he wanted to get his daughters - incidentally, all of them were good at studies - married away in a decent manner. He was particularly sad that his wife was batting for the sons! In his disarmingly honest way, he'd told me that he wouldn't be much of a help in written work and as a quid pro quo, he was willing to run errands for me. While refusing his suggestion, I used to keep him under my wings and explain my decisions that I took and about what I wrote, so much so that the others, in the office, used to refer to him as my alter ego!

I vividly remember his final day at the office, prior to retirement. At the official send off party, he said a lot of flattering things about your's truly and I felt humbled. Here was a gentleman, as old as my dad, heaping praise on me for having taught him the nuances of his work. And then he made a candid confession, "I was under tremendous pressure because I was aware that all of you, except 'sahib' looked at me as having got an unfair advantage in the profession. I'm sorry but it's not my fault and I'd never asked for it too".

That one statement showed as to how much evolved he was, compared to all of us present there that day! And it endeared him to me further and he used to visit me often subsequently, while I was at Delhi.


(a) All four of his girls have got government jobs and are married, leading their own lives . His sons and their wives, alongwith their children, live with him and his wife. He says that he has dumped cigarettes but puffs on a hookah instead. Girdahari Lalji can be incorrigible on that score!

(b) I've given this narrative, just to show that many of the so called beneficiaries of the bill, actually do not even hanker for it!!

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