The jungle laws of bureaucracy

The shunted officer is an outcast, contemptible and sympathized with as someone who has been wronged.
The jungle laws of bureaucracy

In any other country, can you imagine hordes of youngsters passing out of IITs and IIMs and then forsaking million rupees salary packages to become a bureaucrat with a starting salary of just about Rs 35,000-40000 a month? If someone says he or she's doing all this to 'serve' society/country, remember, the statement is as hollow as the one made by a crooked politician who claims to serve his people. Bureaucrats are the real 'power' behind the throne. And unlike politicians who do have to face the electorate every now and then, bureaucrats are completely and totally unaccountable. They know it. That they'd stand upright and do a decent job, the young idealists soon come to the realization how difficult is it to survive in the civil service. Within a few months, they turn into skeptics. In about two years they learn to become obedient government servants cloned by the hundreds in various service academics even though exceptions are always there.

Politicians cannot make a killing unless an obedient government servant is around there to aid and abet them. The lure of money increases the loyalty to powerful authorities and strengthens the command hierarchy. People love a guy who does extra-work, is extra-courteous, always loyal and extra-subservient to power centers. He'll be known for throwing lavish parties and giving expensive gifts.  A khaaane/khilaane–aur-peene/pillane wallah bureaucrat is most certainly capable than an honest one who may or may not be capable. The former has a friend circle and knowhow to keep powerful authorities in good humor. He basks under the sunshine of his masters, for remember, nobody bows to another person for nothing. 

People are busy defending their positions, fending for themselves, protecting their interests and furthering their objectives. They're busy passing the buck, passing the buck back again, or firing from someone else's shoulder. As everyone is guided by the 'what-is-in-it-for-me' factor none may support an individual when he's vulnerable. In times of need, he's always alone. One isn't conscripted into bureaucracy but does voluntarily join it for livelihood to earn better pay and enjoy better service benefit. He isn't expected to join to further his personal beliefs –or even to serve the people. Once he feels it's to his benefit to violate the norm he may violate the norm. He may side with the forces he's supposed to fight against. The easier way of refurbishing one's image may not be by doing good works, but by tarnishing other's image by spreading rumors, planting canards, and creating suspicions. In the 'Atlas syndrome' the mythical Atlas supports the weight of the earth on his shoulders. A civil servant pontifies as if he were holding the bureaucracy on his shoulders and if he ever stumbles the whole setup will collapse.  He makes incessant remarks about himself and incessantly disparaging remarks about everyone else. A successful person blows trumpet the loudest, drowning all murmurs against him.

The curious crab-like attitude calls for dawdling over the simplest of decisions, vacillating when it comes to taking the big initiative and displaying a keen sense of self-preservation. At the first sense of danger, the bureaucrat would dive into his shell and shirk all responsibility. His dithering is born out of fear that he'll face suspension or transfer or receive bad APRs for taking some action that annoys the people who wield influence. As a result of the heightened sense of insecurity/frustration, he's unable to go out of his way to clear someone's files that are stuck in the bureaucratic labyrinth. If he goes strictly by the rules he's accused of harassing the public and is labeled a heartless bureaucrat.  As you take a decision that affects the lives of many people for every friend the bureaucrat makes with a favorite decision he may end up making many enemies baying for his blood.  Remember, for every strict bureaucrat who will not violate rules at some one's bidding, the system encourages another bureaucrat who is willing to risk violating the rules. Life is about pragmatism and realism, not utopianism.

If one doesn't belong to any group none will be one's friend. One will be everyone's enemy. One should be careful of one's current friend. They're ones potential enemies in future. They may be only fair-weather friends. Two bureaucrats aren't friends indeed. As such they may not be friends in need. If a bureaucrat is successfully convicted on corruption charges, the credit goes more to the efficiency of his enemies rather than to the vigilance organization or the disciplinary authority. But for his enemies, none would have smelt even a whiff of his corrupt practices. Bureaucracy is about the power struggle, not the truth, and therefore looks for ammunition to use in the power struggle.  He who has fewer weaknesses is difficult to control. A rule-abiding honest bureaucrat has no reason to pitch an extra work than he's required of him. He's no reason to be extra subservient to anybody. He's no motivation to go out of the way and beyond the brief, to ingratiate himself with the boss by being his yes-man. He's dry and difficult to be handled.  He's a thorn in the flesh, relatively unreliable, disobedient and a hard nut to crack. His demeanor brings him a tag of misfit, finicky, stubborn, negative, inflexible, pusillanimous etcetera. Most hated person, he's sort of innocent child who often lands parents in big trouble with his childlike sincerity, fruitfulness, and innocence. If his good action harms vested interests he'll be chastised for it, let alone rewarded.

Life grows hell for him. The shunted officer is an outcast, contemptible and sympathized with as someone who has been wronged.

People don't get posted unless they lobby for it. He's seldom lucky to get off own because someone was lobbying for the superior post once the fellow is shunted to the inferior post it means something is amiss. The poor fellow will only vegetate, lose sheen to the detriment of his career.  In the absence of perks the honest bureaucrat may not hanker after any post of responsibility and may be perpetually on compulsory waiting for posting (i.e. not being given any post of responsibility at all). Others see only an opportunity in it for own advancement. The latter hanker after postings, curry favor and try to be in good books of higher-ups and not to the person as propounded by Webber.  Sincerity and speaking the truth land people in serious trouble. The peaceful existence calls for refraining from meddling or whistleblowing.

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