Monday, January 17, 2011

The arrogance of being IAS…

The arrogance of being IAS…

Yesterday, I was waiting with family in line to board the aircraft in Bangalore. Suddenly, one gentleman got up and proceeded to the top of the line. I told him firmly “Please follow the line”. That is it, not a word more was spoken. Upon checking boarding cards, when we were walking to the aircraft. He came and tried to get an apology out of me, wonder why Read on.

Him: You need to be polite.
Me: Why ?
Him: You were rude in asking me to go back.
Me: I just told you “Please follow the line”, what is the rude part in that ?
Him: Your tone was rude.
Me: I don’t think so.
Him: What are you ? My superior officer, to talk to me like that ?
Me: Listen man, you need to behave with respect and dignity to get respect. You tried to cut in line and I had to tell you to follow the line, that is it…
Him: You were arrogant, talking to me like that.
Me: Listen moron, if you don’t follow the rules this is what will happen from me. Idiot !
Him: (surprised!)(shuts up)

Upon landing at the airport I see government chamchas rushing to pick-up the tiny briefcase he was carrying. That confirmed my suspicion that he was an IAS servant.

For those of you who assumed that IAS == Indian Administrative Service it is not, it is invariably Indian Arrogant Service, where in officers live in a cocoon and treat ordinary public like shit. They invariably feel that they are entitled to privileged existence. It is time, to remember the debate in Lok Sabha, shortly after independence when the matter whether to abolish ICS (the mother of all government cadres) was being debated. One memorable quote in that debate was “It is time we abolished the ICS, it is neither Indian nor is it civil and certainly what they do is not Service”. But sadly, the anglophiles in the Lok Sabha overruled and this monstrosity of a bureaucracy continues.

Yes, we are living to regret it every moment of our lives….


  1. I am laughing happily, reading this post! He deserves this! He might never dream of doing this mistake again!

  2. Standing in a MMTS queue one day, a un-educated woman cut into the line similarly, I told her "Amma Line", she gave me a paan parag laced smile and said "only Flatform Ficket, only Flatform Ficket", I told her even for a platform ticket you should be in the line, only to be responded back to with the same pan paragian smile :). I simply accepted defeat :).

    You called him a moron and a Idiot and he accepted it and went away quietly, I accept that his earlier conversation was wrong, but he accepted your adjectives!! why do you still think he is arrogant? I agree he got what he deserved, but he did absorb it quietly without causing a ruck-us. If you had on the other hand tried the same on a uneducated politician would he have accepted with the same quietness? It would just have caused a unnecessary flight delay or a flight cancellation :D.

  3. The arrogance comes from the fact that he felt that only superior officers can talk to him to do anything. A member of Joe Public can't even ask him to get in line even with a "Please". I will ignore such an incident from the paan parag specimen, but not certainly someone who makes a living of Indian "Civil" Service. Get the Point ?

  4. Baskar this is when I start to get scared to talk to you :D.

    Here are my data points

    a) You do not have conclusive proof that he was an IAS officer. Even a CEO of a software company can have people who carry their suitcases

    b) Let us assume a) is a proven fact, he went and stood at the end of the line when he told you. The only mistake he did was tell you that you were rude. Think about it Baskar, there is such a huge queue and the fellow's ego must have been quite hurt. He tried to make a get back and he got bashed up for that also. Again he accepted it when he got bashed up (he accepted it when you called him an idiot and a moron).

    c) He did not oppose what you said. All he argued against was the so called rudeness of yours. He got it nicely for that and he took it.

    d) Baskar, I would say you have a very strong opinion about the IAS folks and the opinion biased you a lot here.

    No generalisation is true. Every Saint has a past and every thief a future.

  5. e) How did you conclude this? "he felt that only superior officers can talk to him to do anything."

    e.1) He went back to the line when he asked you to
    e.2) He kept quiet when you called him a idiot and a moron

    e.1) and e.2) invalidate the assumption in e)

  6. 1. Read my original post again. He himself asked "what are you my superior officer"
    2. It is very hard for non-govt folks to come into the airport to receive anybody in these days.
    3. When he realized that he can't borwbeat this particular member of Joe Public only then he became "ordinary".
    4. More than me, you seem to have made up your mind -- "no matter what I am going to defend this guy" and despite reason are continuing with it...

  7. OK, This proves you are right, mea culpa, my judgment, on retrospection, did seem clouded. Sorry.

    "Him: What are you ? My superior officer, to talk to me like that ?
    Him: You were arrogant, talking to me like that."

    But you have generalized this incident to all civil servants here

    "For those of you who assumed that IAS == Indian Administrative Service it is not, it is invariably Indian Arrogant Service, where in officers live in a cocoon and treat ordinary public like shit. They invariably feel that they are entitled to privileged existence."

    There are great civil servants too,


    Kiran Bedi - Her improvements in Tihar Jail would be an example to how she respects humanity.

    Abhayanand jha - A civil servant again who contributed to super 30.

    TN Seshan - He introduced great electoral reforms.

    I am sure there will be several such examples. These people had a great respect for the public and contributed to the nation in big ways.

    It must be a difficult profession right, managing uneducated politicians on one hand, and trying to fulfill the needs of their role honestly on the other?

  8. Every time I see the confusion that ensues during election time, the ruckus during parliament sessions, I feel very insecure thinking of who is deciding the nation's future and whom I am paying my taxes to. But then I console myself thinking that behind all this confusion is a fleet of well read, mature and educated folks who have things in control.

    And it has been so right? Things have been going good. We are doing fine. Inspite of the apparent confusion and the ruckus, the system is chugging along. We have come a long way since Independence. We can look back and say we have achieved something. This nation is still so beautiful.

    Don't you think the civil services is responsible for keeping the machinery running?

  9. Even the time of independence, the uncivil nature of the civil services and their elitist existence was derided by elected representatives. Now amongst, the army of hundereds of thousands of these you can only quote exceptions. Have you tried meeting with any of them to get things done (even those you rightly deserve) ? Trust me, you will immediately feel the arrogance, where in one IAS officer rejected my daughter's visa extension request as he was upset that I didn't write "I Kindly request you to do xxx". When I raised my tone as to why do I have to request you to do your job, then immediately I was offered respect by him. Imagine, what an uneducated man goes through with these arrogant morons.... Hopefully then you will get the point. You need a reality check in terms of having to deal with them in person. Even the great TN Seshan, was severely admonished by the supremet court for the high handedness with which he treated his fellow IAS commissioners. I challenge that even if all of them are gotten rid of the system will run just fine, with those that are getting promoted to secretary rank from section officers etc. They are just as capable of being rude to the public and are equally adept at bribery and corruption. Trust me, we will not miss a beat :-)

  10. Thank you for the patient replies

  11. Baskar, I read all your blog posts,

    you have very very strong views,

    How do you ensure that these views do not bias you, not cloud your judgment in a generic issue?

    For example I was used to giving Rs 10 to a beggar everytime I saw him, simply because I have seen him standing outside my school several times. I saw him drinking alcohol once and after that stopped giving money to all beggars.

    Yours strong opinions would bias you in these situations right?

    Say you were the judge between a common man and a IAS officer, even if the IAS officer were right wouldn't you support the common man?

    You are extending specific observations to generic judgments against a category is what I am trying to say.

    Baskar you yourself once told me that every thief has a future and every saint a past. Why can't a saint be wrong and a thief be right ever?

  12. There is a thing called collective responsibility in society, e.g. in a company detects abuse in employee expense reports, puts in a procedure asking all to submit boarding cards etc. as additional proof before reimbursement. How do you characterize it bias or due diligence. Now, go back look at your situation with beggar what is it ? Just as the company will do away with non=common sense policies, you should also do the same. It is actually "Every saint (of today) has a past and every sinner (of today) has a future". So that should put any end to presumption that somehow that state is permanent. Your argument is taking a path I have often seen as defense tactic -- "when logic and reason are not on your side, try bias and prejudice".

  13. Any rambling related to professional matters whether it is people discussion at my employer etc. are not allowed. Anand, I have no idea who you are, but it is best that you keep such ramblings to yourself, I have deleted your comments. I still want to keep the comments for my personal blog delinked from official side and give freedom to people to comment unmoderated. Let us keep it that way... If you want to continue on professional happenings I suggest that you refer to or some other company forum. Goodbye...