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GOOD NEWS

For the Babu Community, that is


Every time one puts on the TV there is some Babu type action being highlighted. Breaking down 10,000 shops in Kashmir or rendering poor people, homeless in the coldest of winters in Dehradun. Our Babus our doing quite well and acting very decisively in matters which show what a 'stickler for the rules' the honest ones are. That is their ideal.

That precisely is also what the Babu mentality is all about. The inability to see the larger picture. They are unable to understand that laws are meant for the good of the people and the country, not for sustaining the health and well being of the ( sometimes 175 year old ) laws. Anti-people laws themselves are illegal and should be carefully weeded out.

Under NO circumstances should houses which have been standing for years be broken down. The fault is entirely of the authorities who did not prevent their construction, and hence they must bear the consequences. Very often many people actually possess permissions, these permissions are ignored on the grounds that they were fraudulently obtained. In that case the systems wherein this is possible should be improved else it makes a mockery of all the paper the Government puts its stamp on.

This kind of thing(mindless destruction) used to regularly happen in the winter in Meerut and I am sure just about every other small town not covered by the National Press or TV.

It has been a pastime of mine to casualy inquire of people ( in busses and trains ) regarding whether they can point out even one instance which they can say that they have received any assistance of any kind from the Government. I still have to come across even a single person who has something complimentary to say. Maybe I should have talked to some Babus since they are the only ones who have something good to say about themselves. They are still very proud of their erstwhile 'Steelframe' , they don't see inflexibility and lack of evolution as a problem at all .

Undoubtedly our bureaucrats are very competent people, yet the moribund system which they operate in, and which requires constant finetuning to make it capable of delivering the goods, does not provide speedy avenues for modification. No doubt some very often revel in implementing obtuse laws . These even the British refrained from taking too seriously and the worst they could do to a person was to 'throw the book at him'.

What hon'ble Government servants should realise is that that the Governement appears as a single body to the people. The same Government which collects taxes on everything from match boxes to Luxury cars , the same Government which cannot prevent the Electricity from deteriorating day to day, the same Government which cannot improve drainage systems, which cannot provide decent roads, also one which cannot provide sufficient employment or shelter, surprisingly operates with full vigour when it comes to breaking down houses and shops.

When it comes to 'permissions' who gives them the permission to do things which are devastating in their consequence and casually labelled as just a minor offshoot of 'administrative' problems. I refer to criminal acts like disruping electricity without warning at all hours, like leaving drains in a state that they breed rats mosquitoes and God know what other diseases. One has heard of more than one case of mothers falling with babies in their arms when Electricity has been switched off erratically.

Yet somehow this is of less importance than 'unauthorised' construction.

More about the Babu Mentality

In the 50's almost every Hindi Text Book in the higher classes included a short story by Munshi Premchand. One on the most popular was called "Namak ka Daroga". It seems it is not included these days in text books. This story was about a young man who gets a job in the Salt department and he and his family are very happy with it. His job was to assess tax on the salt which crossed his barrier in carts or trucks. Very quickly he is put to the test. Somebody wants to bribe him and get his salt across without paying tax. The Daroga stands firm and refuses to budge.
Eventually it seems the concerned parties get him thrown out of his job.
Needless to say the whole class was very impressed with the Daroga's idealism and honesty and we all thought that his firmness was the right thing to do.
However things looked quite different when our Hindi teacher pointed out that around the time the story was written Gandhi Ji was fighting against the British for levying tax on Indian salt.
To my way of thinking there was still nothing wrong with the Daroga but he was not worthy of being an idol.