About a couple of weeks ago, I had been to meet an IAS officer on a short meeting. I was waiting in the visitors room and was hoping to get a meeting soon. You all know how it is in a govt office with the wait, I am not going to complain about that today, but I promise you that I am going to complain about something else :D.
An observation about an IAS officer’s chamber
Something I have always admired about an IAS officer’s chamber is the beautiful buildings they are housed in, sometimes I also like the protocol and about the rest, I completely hate them. You would be surprised to know that I was not allowed to walk in the corridor same as the officer’s chamber. Trust me the chamber is a huge one and not even the shadows would be visible to the person sitting inside. Apart from this when I entered, I was made to remove my shoes which is perhaps reasonable considering that they want to keep the offices keen. To my surprise what I saw was the everyone who entered the office had their head bowed, not one of them showed their face to the officer. And it was just the peons and office boys, even the professors, the immediate juniors who would bow their head before entering.
Are we still in the pre independence era?
I was quite taken aback at the whole presentation and stood there in awe while I had my 1 minute meeting of which I got yelled at for 40 seconds cos the officer was busy with something else :D. I wouldn’t complain about that either cos poor guys have a lot to handle on their shoulders. But I am still amazed with the aura of it, people move away to make way for their vehicles, no one overtakes them and when someone does the others try to pull them back. I am really wondering if it is the same country which was in the British Raj around 1930’s!
Why the association with a job?
There seems to be so much of a stigma associated with an officer, so much fear about them and they are always kept on a pedestal! My question is – WHY? Why give so much of importance to someone? – Just cos they cleared an exam and landed a public service job? What makes them so special? Isn’t it just another job? While someone like me would choose entrepreneurship as a choice, a person like the officer who has social service or any other reason in mind would choose a job and appear to work in these places. That doesn’t mean that someone doing some other job is in any way smaller than them!
What leaves me perplexed about this
I still fail to understand the thoughts associated with the people in power here, politicians are saluted wherever they go, administrators are pampered while an activist is shunned and sometimes even arrested cos he was very active! Talk about equality of work, dignity of labour and all other high sounding words which don’t seem to make any sense at all here. It looks like I am cribbing a lot here – Maybe I am.
Isn’t a job just a job?
I am still of the thought that a job is just a job we do, some jobs may have impact on people’s lives while some others don’t, that doesn’t make any job smaller or bigger. We do some things cos we either like it or we are bound to do it for a lot of other reasons, reasons which we are convinced about. That doesn’t say anything about us. Our professional life is a marker for our professional capacity alone and it has got nothing to do with our character or who we are as a person. Maybe it tells that some people don’t aspire but that doesn’t give anyone the right to judge someone else ( How to stop judging people! ).
Shouldn’t we respect a person just for the person and not what he/she does?
Wouldn’t we be better off in a place where we are all the same and we respect a person for the innate person he or she is and leave the tag of what they do for a living away? I would like to talk to someone cos the personalities match and there is something to talk about and nothing else. I don’t know if I am sounding too idealistic here, I don’t even know if I would do the same with someone else. I am not trying to blame an officer here, I am trying to blame ourselves cos we give so much of importance to some silly things which don’t make any sense at all! I am sure the officers too are simple people and are tired of these fake respect and behaviours, why not simplify the entire approach? Why give undue importance to someone just cos they cleared an exam or wrote some nice answers?