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Get inspired: Why did Sardar Patel say that civil servants must not take part in politics?

Sardar Patel's vision for civil services remains valid even today. Know what it means to be a civil servant in free India, what India expects from civil servants, what are the values and duty of a civil servant. Enrich your answers in Essay, GS, Ethics and shape your personality with Patel's words of wisdom.

Written by Manas Srivastava | New Delhi |
Updated: July 3, 2022 3:36:37 pm
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Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, the first home minister of independent India, addressed the probationers of administrative services in 1947. In his address at Delhi’s Metcalf House, Patel gave a very important message for the civil servants, the “steel frame of India”. What was Sardar Patel’s message to the civil servants in 1947 which remains valid even today? Let’s know.

Relevance: Use it for value addition in your essay, GS II-Role of civil services in a democracy, GS IV ethics, personality test. Understand what it means to be a civil servant of free India and what should be the code of conduct. Moreover, it can also be taken up as a motivational source in your own journey of preparation for the civil services exam and beyond it as an ethical civil servant.

How was the change in the nature of civil service, according to Sardar Patel, significant with the independence of India in 1947?

According to Sardar Patel, the days of the Indian Civil Service of the old style is replaced by the All India Administrative Service. The change is both significant and epoch-making in many ways-

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1. It was an unmistakable symptom of the transfer of power which took place from foreign to Indian hands.

2. It marked the inauguration of the All India Service officered entirely by Indians and subjected completely to Indian control.

3. The service was free to adopt its true role of national service without being trammeled by traditions and habits of the past.

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Sardar Patel dwelt on the significance of this change mainly to give a strong message to the civil servants and to the outside world that “the days when the foreigners could be masters were over and the officers must be guided by the real spirit of service in their day to day administration, for in no other manner can they be fit in the scheme of things.”

What was the popular saying about civil service in the British era that Sardar Patel reminded his listeners and readers of?

Patel reminded his listeners and readers of a saying regarding the British era civil services, which is known as the Indian Civil Services, that it is neither Indian nor civil, nor imbued with any spirit of service. Patel argued that it was right to believe that civil services of the colonial time was not Indian because the Indian civil servants were mostly anglicized. The training of civil servants then happened in foreign lands and they had to serve foreign masters.

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“Therefore, in effect the whole service was known not to be Indian, nor to be civil, nor imbued with any spirit of service, and yet it was known as Indian Civil Service.” The condition was going to change with independence.

Why according to Patel, the civil servants of free India more fortunate than those of the colonial era?

According to Patel, predecessors of free India’s civil servants had to serve as agents of an foreign rule. Sometimes they had to work even against their better judgment and “execute the biddings” of their foreign employers. He congratulated the civil servants of free India by saying that they will have the satisfaction that whatever they do, they will be doing under the orders of their own fellow Indians.

The civil servants of the British era “were brought up in the tradition in which they felt out of touch and kept themselves aloof from the common run of the people. It will be your bounden duty to treat the common man in India as your own or to put it correctly, to feel yourself to be one of them and amongst them and you will have to learn not to despise or to disregard them,” said Patel.

What according to Patel should be the important characteristics of a civil servant of free India?

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1. Civil servants’ duty should be to treat the common man in India as their own.

2. Civil servants of free India will have to adapt themselves to the democratic ways of administration.

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3. Civil servants should be disciplined.

Why did Sardar Patel mention esprit de corps?

A civil servant must cultivate an esprit de corps. It means to have a shared feeling of pride among team or group members. Without it, a Service as such has little meaning. A civil servant should regard it as a proud privilege to belong to the Service, covenants of which you will sign, and to uphold throughout your service its dignity, integrity and incorruptibility.

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When India faces difficult circumstances, according to Sardar Patel, what is expected from the civil servants?

Patel cautioned the civil servants that in adverse and difficult circumstances, India must expect- and India has a right to expect- the best out of every civil servant in India, ” in whatever position of responsibility he or she may be”. He stressed the fact that it is not for a civil servant to approach their job and task in hand purely from a mercenary angle or entirely from self-interest, howsoever enlightened it may be. The most important consideration, for a civil servant, should be “how best to contribute to the well-being of India as a whole”.

What did Patel had to say for the civil servant and the government relation?

According to Patel, a civil servant can trust the government to keep her or him contented and happy so that she or he may give her or his best, “but it would be unworthy of you if you make that a condition of service”. The government of the day will fully appreciate and realise the importance of an officer’s work.

“They may sometime appear to you lacking in sympathy, but I do not think there is anyone in the highest responsible position in India who does not feel that he must take the Service with him if he is to make the maximum possible contribution to the well being of India.”

Why according to Sardar Patel, integrity is a must for civil services?

Patel advised civil servants to maintain to the utmost the impartiality and incorruptibility of administration.

A civil servant cannot afford to, and must not, take part in politics. Nor must he involve himself in communal wrangles. To depart from the path of rectitude in either of these respects is to debase public service and lower its dignity. Similarly, no service worth the name can claim to exist if it does not have in view the achievement of the highest standard of integrity.”

What was the larger message of Sardar Patel for Civil servants of free India?

The larger message Patel was regarding the code of conduct of a civil servant.

Patel unhappily accepted that India cannot boast of an incorruptible service, but he hoped a new generation of civil servants, will not be misled by black sheep in the fold. They would render the service without fear. Such service would mean without any expectation of extraneous rewards.

The future of the civil service will depend much upon the foundation and traditions laid down by civil servants, their character and abilities, and their spirit of service.

They should look forward to their future with trust and confidence. If they serve in the true spirit of service, they will have the best reward.

“I shall ask you, therefore, to devote yourself to your studies, fully conscious of the responsibilities and opportunities that await you and seek from what you hear instructions with a humble mind.”

Key takeaways

—A civil servant must cultivate an esprit de corps.

—Patel unhappily accepted that India cannot boast of an incorruptible service, but he hoped a new generation of civil servants, will not be misled by black sheep in the fold.

—A civil servant cannot afford to, and must not, take part in politics. Nor must he involve himself in communal wrangles.

—The government must keep the civil servant contended and happy- shouldn’t be the condition of the service.

—The most important consideration, for a civil servant, should be “how best to contribute to the well-being of India as a whole”.

( source: Collected Works of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Volume XII)

Point to ponder: A civil servant cannot afford to take part in politics. Discuss throwing light on the important values in civil services.

 

 

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First published on: 03-07-2022 at 02:44:04 pm

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