Chhattisgarh officer’s book shakes,stirs bureaucracy

A satire on his own fraternity and its intricacies and manipulations by a senior serving bureaucrat has become the subject of heated discussion.

Written by Joseph John | Raipur | Published: March 2, 2009 12:15 pm

A satire on his own fraternity and its intricacies and manipulations by a senior serving bureaucrat in Chhattisgarh has become the subject of heated discussions and animated whispers in the corridors of power.

“Searching for a Bureaucrat”,one of the tales from the book titled The Platform Man – A collection of short stories,by B K S Ray,who is currently posted as Director General of the Chhattisgarh Academy of Administration and Chairman of the State Board of Secondary Education and Professional Examinations Board,was released recently.

As per Ray himself,his work is “a satire on bureaucrats surviving in a competitive atmosphere. The story describes how manipulation has become the order of the day in the bureaucracy.” Ray has earlier written three volumes of English poetry,and two novels in English and Hindi.

Ray’s tenure in the state hasn’t been without its share of controversy. An IAS officer of 1972 batch,he was a front-runner for the post of Chief Secretary but was superseded twice — once by someone from the 1973 batch and later by another of the 1977 batch — amid wild charges against him.

Last July,when the new Chief Secretary was being chosen,the Governor’s office had received a complaint levelling allegations against Ray. It was routinely forwarded to the General Administration Department,but just two days before the new Chief Secretary was to be named,the contents of the complaint had appeared in the local media.

Ray had gone to the police,who concluded that the complainant had filed the case under a pseudonym. However,they were unable to trace him/her.

In Ray’s book,the central character is one Raja Bahadur,who becomes advisor to the Chief Minister after his retirement as a bureaucrat and tries to manipulate the selection of a top bureaucrat to match the development and political skills of the ruling head of the state.

Speculation is rife in bureaucratic circles about the book’s contents and whether they bear any resemblance to any real-life characters.

The satire begins with the advisor’s perception about the qualities of a bureaucrat suitable for the top post,or “the doctrine of suitability”,which he writes about in a note to the Chief Minister. “He should not be either simple or complex but a fusion of the two. He should be analytical enough to compound confusion to disarm his critics. A romantic trait is welcome but not uncalled-for smiles and raising eyebrows. He should fight corruption tooth and nail but the bigwigs facing corruption charges can be extended a helping hand from undisclosed sources. His understanding of politics should be such that he should breakfast with the ruling party politicians and lunch with the Opposition. His obsession for development should be genuine but he should also avoid development constipation,” says the story.

“It’s very simple. Someone will stay with us as long as he suits our purpose. The moment he is found unsuitable we will throw him out without mercy!”

The book ends with a “smart” chief minister feeling uncomfortable with the “doctrine of suitability”,seeing through his advisor’s game and finally dictating a note as follows: “In the context of your suitability doctrine,I hereby sack you suitably to suit my purpose.”

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