Open Debate: IAS Officer Issued Warning For Receiving Modi With Sunglasses

ias officer meets modi with sunglasses, sunglasses to meet modi, disrespecting modi IAS officer, ias officer warned for wearing sunglassesNow this is an interesting turn of events. The event is pretty simple, an IAS officer in Chattisgarh – Amit Kataria met our PM Modi when he was on a visit. And he made a terrible ‘Mistake’ or it is being showcased as one – He wore sunglasses. Now I am not exactly sure why he did that, but I am curios to know why it is sparring such a huge debate on the media front!

The state government has moved a step ahead and given an official warning and a notice has been issued asking him to explain why he breached protocol and disrespected the PM. Here are a few thoughts for the debate:

  • ย It is a matter of disrespect to wear sunglasses while meeting the PM.

Now that’s an interesting rule I had not heard of. I am wondering if it would be this big an issue if someone meeting Obama wore sunglasses

  • ย An official meeting another will not behave informally on a public forum

This makes a bit of sense considering that there is an official behavior expected for these meetings. Perhaps if Modi goes out to meet the Chinese President and wears Tee Shirt or sunglasses, it would obviously convey an information stating that he was disrespectful. Maybe it shows a bit of carelessness on the part of the official..

  • Why did Amit Kataria do that?

Now, before passing a verdict on this situation, I would really like to know his explanation as to why he did that? Was he in a hurry and forgot to remove his glasses? I agree that it looks as a bit of an insult, but really how big an issue is this? Are we still in the era where we decide the quality of work done by someone based on the way they appear? A few weeks ago, we had written about appearances and how much they matter.

The appearance sure has created a bit of a hiccup in the usually followed protocol where respect is expected in the form of dress or the car they drive and to make sure that the visitor or the VIP is given a grand welcome.

  • Why so many restrictions?

Now, I would not like to support any actions here, but I would certainly like to ask – why so many restrictions in the government sector? Now I am a simple man who would like to think that the government has a lot of isues to worry about and so does the media. But I would really like to think that if you want to attract the best of the talent in the country for posts like administrative services, don’t we have to convey that the job is really more than the protocols and is more about the actual work that goes on rather than how it appears in front?

Are we still a society or have we moved on to a newer phase where we embrace the ideals of open organizations where freedom of speech, expression and even dressing is a matter?

Like I said, I am a simple man writing here with my limited perspectives. Would love to know your thoughts on the debate below.

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24 Responses to "Open Debate: IAS Officer Issued Warning For Receiving Modi With Sunglasses"

  1. How can the authorities relate this with something that is “unbecoming of a member of the civil service” ??
    On a lighter note, what if the DM was wearing Gradient lens with numbers?? ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Well for one, I have NO IDEA whatsoever ๐Ÿ˜€ . I don’t really understand why there are so many rules associated with a job. I recently came to know that it is not very easy for a govt official to get his/her passport done and I was wondering as to what could be the rationale behind that.. And what actually is “Becoming of civil service?” Is it in what they wear or what they do? :o..

      As for the lighter note, he he, well I don;t think they would mind even if he was blind or suffering from a contagious disease as long as he was not wearing the glasses.. What you show matters more you see ๐Ÿ˜‰

        1. Well Pallavi, to be precise, I was talking about a few government officials in general. I am not too sure about the central service cadres but I have seen quite a few officials here – Group A and Group B who haven’t got their passports yet and is actually an issue to travel outside the country. In fact it is so difficult that they have to get an NOC from their superior and to add to that the passport issue. So, government service seemed a little less rosy when I heard this!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    1. I feel the same Maniparna. I was trying to understand why it was so important for Amit Kataria to remove his sunglasses. Agreed that it would have been more respectful to do that and it is considered a bit rude as well. But a man of Modi’s stature wouldn’t probably even think about it.. Maybe the protocols mean something? But my logic keeps saying NO ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Gowthama Rajavelu · Edit

    I heard receiving a delegate with a cap on your head is also a sign of disrespect. First of all, how come a person (that too an IAS) be judged based on his attires. This is something to be discussed. Good that you shed light on this topic Vinay.

    1. That’s interesting Gowthama. I think even I remember reading something like that. Interestingly enough, in the kingdoms down south, it was considered disrespectful to show your head to the king and hence the turban system was introduced. It was later during the British rule when these became obsolete.. Funny how the dressing norms change isnt it? ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Honestly I feel like laughing Vinay! How much time do we have to waste on such trivial issues and make it a public spectacle. Whatever the reason for the officer to wear sunglasses was, could it not be restricted information – just between him and the officials?
    And when the PM can go on a selfie clicking spree with international premiers, is wearing sunglasses such a big deal?? Ufff! But ek baat ka fayda to hua hai… it inspired such an awesome post at inspire99 ๐Ÿ˜‰
    cheers buddy! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Exactly Archana. I am of the same opinion here. Maybe it is the media which is making a huge deal out of it or the political parties to gain closeness to the ministers. There are so many aspects that can take priority here than just the case alone. I do not particularly support wearing of sunglasses while meeting a dignitary. But it still doesn;t need to be made a huge deal. Govt sector need not be so alienated from the rest of the world just cos it has so many rules.
      And when the PM himself is showing how cool he is in embracing the new world order and of course the selfies, the matter is hardly of any issue at all..
      He he, thank you. I love debates, esp the ones which can get healthier with time and I enjoyed and am enjoying the discussions here..

  4. I don’t get this at all. What’s wrong with wearing sunglasses while receiving the PM in the open? For that matter many people wear photo-chromatic glasses which anyways turn dark in sunlight. If they are so particular about what dress a person should wear while receiving the PM then they should define a dress-code and make it public.

    1. To be honest Somali, even I don’t seem to get this. But something tells me that it is beyond sunglasses or beyond the warning given to the official. With politics, the waters run deep and so do the issues I presume. It simply cannot be just about the protocol to have made such a huge issue and a certain defamation of Amit Kataria..

  5. Umm, the comments are getting quite ignorant honestly. There IS a protocol in place and officers KNOW about it. Just because commentators here don’t doesn’t mean there are no rules. Sorry if this seems a bit aggressive. My dad is an IAS and having seen the life and rules up, close and personal, it s appalling to me how little people are aware of the rules in place. You cannot be wearing dark sunglasses or hat or overcoat (unless weather permits so) while receiving a senior. Much less, your Prime Minister. As to your question, I am pretty sure US has same rules.

    1. Well I do agree to a certain aspect of it Pallavi. I do appreciate the rules and I also agree that sporting the sunglasses might not have been the best move. But I still don’t understand the hype about it and why it is being made such a public issue while it was a simple matter which could have handled at discretion. Well I am not too sure about the US cos I have seen the navy seals meet the PM and handshakes with the sunglasses. UK is quite like us that way, the protocols are very much in place and are given much importance to..
      Its nice to know that you have seen an IAS officer in close quarters and I do agree that most people cannot fathom the rules or the protocols and the reason behind it. Having said that, I also wonder as to when and how things are going to be easy – both for the officers and the public to create a smooth working environment with less rules and more productivity. I guess for a vast nation, it might take some time.

      1. That is so weird! My dad is in state cadre, not central at all. Guess it
        ‘s a state by state thing. Well, about rules, a certain level of discipline is required. Usually, it is instilled from the very beginning. Since Kataria was given a warning (and not suspended), I really don’t see why this whole issue is being created calling PM Modi names. He probably didn’t even know about the warning issued! I blame our glorious “presstitutes” for this whole circus. Lord only knows how many warnings on various issues are issued on a daily basis. They dig for and pick on those that have high drama value. Rest thousands of daily warnings are just buried. Press is the reason we’re here discussing IAS protocols today

        1. That’s interesting indeed Pallavi and perhaps they have cadre wise limitations too. Not sure how these by laws and protocols work. But there sure are lot of them. Sometimes I feel that they encroach on the personal freedom as well.
          He he, media works on their own agenda of sensationalism, no one really seems to care what the area for progress is, there is only noise about whose mistake it is and why it was such a big deal to wear glasses. I am pretty sure Modi has no time to even give a thought to this issue. It is weird how a simple act of freedom becomes public action and everyone happily takes responsibility of pointing fingers and framing opinions. The real problem and solution are way distant from what is being made out of it..

  6. I think this issue is being drag for nothing, the officer was just informed that this is not the correct way to meet the dignitaries and should take care in future. I think removing sunglasses or wearing right type of dress code is a way of giving respect to the seniors..As the officer is bound by some protocols as he is on official meet Not removing the sunglasses shows sort of arrogance or disrespect… Yes If he would have meet PM accidentally or non-officially nobody would have objected.

    1. Precisely Mayuresh. I feel that a hill is being made out of a mole. I am not too sure why the issue was made public in the first place. It was so easy to have dealt it in private chambers. I mean poor IAS guy – Amit Kataria, he has to undergo all of this probably cos he forgot to remove his glasses or was in a hurry, Not that I support the styling, but as a society or the public, maybe we could afford to be a bit leneint towards these guys ..

  7. In morning , when I went through this piece of article same thought appeared in my mind which has been described here , you have raised good points here are that at end of the day what does matter most for a civil servant is his / her dedicated work for the better ment of the country.
    But here I want to put one point is that , this was an act of undisciplined behaviour, whether we are in school or imparting our duty as an ias , we need to show some sort of etiquette

    1. Thank you Sushma. Nice to hear your thoughts about the issue. I completely agree with you – waht matters more is the work than just a presentation. We have seen a lot of people who just simply stay by the rule book just cos it is the easy way out and they dont get into trouble. In the end, what happens is something simple called trained incapacity – people are so afraid to try out the new stuff that being incapable seems the easier way out.. So.. No wonder that the dedicated work and focussed effort go for a toss!

  8. We had a discussion in our family yesterday on the same topic. My brother was advocating this as a matter of respect to seniors. However my point is something different. Yes, there can be rules & regulations about dress code for official meet, but still I don’t think this act can be considered kind of offense (or to show disrespect) considering he was meeting his senior outside office vicinity. Also, I wonder how come Media groups got to know such information. They make hell out of half hour breaking news and we then discuss pros and cons of it. Sometime I also wonder we should rather be more choosy about what we need to view and what we shouldn’t.

    1. This is an interesting conversation Vishal. I think “Respect” to seniors is grossly overrated. Shouldn’t we respect someone cos they deserve that respect? Or should respect be for someone only cos they are old?! :o. It is weird as to how the society reacts and how people expect everyone else to follow their rules. I mean it is an act which can easily be ignored. The best that could be done was to send in a short note to the officer that it is not an expected behavior cos ______________ and be done with it. There was no point in dragging the media or officially sending a remark as a punitive measure. It is insane how rules are more important than people and the actual work that has to be done out there..

  9. You see Vinay, this issue somewhat reflects upon the post on judging someone. None of us exactly knows the immediate reason as to why the officer did not remove his sunglasses but in comes the judging part where the media and all of us have made a fuss out of. Its no big deal if the officer received our PM with his glasses on. Accepted that there are protocols to be followed but where is the harm and disrespect in it. Clearly Vinay as you said , a mointain is being made out of a mole.

    1. Nice link between the two Aftab. Now that I think about it, you’re right, it relates the two very closely. You are right, the media has always been known for its talent to create sensationalism out of nothing. I somwehow do not understand as to where the media is headed sometimes. I mean are they looking at trying to solve something or are they just looking at instigating people?! I guess it takes some time for us to know ๐Ÿ™‚


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