On Babus and Babudom Men Fridays or men of purpose ?


Why is the Government of Manipur continuously coming out with knee jerk reactions to the many issues besieging it ? Why has it been continuously portraying the image of a reactionary rather than a dispensation which is ready to think out of the box and tackle situations accordingly ? One reason could be the lack of imaginative inputs for the policy makers of the State to dwell upon and ponder and herein arises the question of what the Government Babus have been doing all this while ? This is not an idle question for the valid point stands that despite the numerous doomsday prophets and agonisingly uncharitable remarks such as bureaucracy, and by extension bureaucrats, standing in the way of change because they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo to being dubbed white elephants and promoting red tapism and the culture of Babudom, bureaucracy has seen it all and survives to this day. The very fact that there have been raging academic and political debates over the merits and demerits of a system known as bureaucracy underlines its importance in public life and the way the state or a Nation is governed and if not for anything else, this should be enough reason why the focus of the people needs to train on the functioning of the bureaucrats in Manipur. Are the civil servants, who have been trained, given official status, move around in Government vehicles at the cost of the tax payers doing their duty or are they happy merely being the Men Fridays of their political bosses ? It is not without reason why there are observations that an inefficient, weak and corrupt bureaucracy is a far more dangerous customer than a weak, inefficient political class for the simple reason that the bureaucrats are stationed in office for life while the political class are answerable to the people at least once in every five years. The question that follows is whether the bureaucrats of Manipur have been doing their mite and advising their political bosses for which they were trained to do so in the first place. Bureaucracy has to move. It cannot be the behemoth of yesteryears. It should shed its adipose brought about by inertia and lack of official will and vision. 

In as much as the joke of a governance that has been played out in full public view is a failure of the political class, it may be said that it also reflects a weak and an inefficient bureaucracy. Just as justice should be seen as having been delivered, it should also be shown that a good decision is for the good of all and not for the benefits of some well placed class of people. It is on these counts that the State Government has failed miserably and the ongoing exercise of clearing Loktak lake is one such example. The question that begs an answer is whether the bureaucrats, the Babus, who are supposed to advise their political bosses and implement the policies have been doing their job or not. A look at the ground reality tells a story where the Babus have been reduced to nothing much less than Yes Men of the political class and this is not a healthy indication at all. It is not for nothing why a career in the civil service is highly coveted and why this profession is known as white collared jobs. There is a reason why career opportunities are seen to be immense in the civil service. There are reasons why no stones are left unturned to attract the best possible brains from amongst the youth to this profession. The tragedy becomes palpable when these points are reduced to footnotes in the careers of the very people occupying the corridors of power in the vast structure known as the bureaucracy and when efficiency is increasingly viewed through the prism of how well one can suck up to the political bosses. Such a culture could not have been injected from outside alone. The anonymity of the Babus is fine, but this should not mean an exemption from public scrutiny for the fact stands that in many ways what they do or more importantly do not do stand to affect the life of each and every single individual in Manipur. It is time for the bureaucrats to take the call on whether they are willing to be remembered as men of purpose or some stooges. They have the capability to effect changes. Question is whether they are willing to do it or not.