Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Executive and Bureaucracy---Excerpts from memoirs of LK Advani

For someone who hails from a state like UP, keeping himself aloof from politics is not so easy………. so when former Deputy PM and PM in waiting came up with his memoirs, I simply could not resist myself from getting a copy for me….I am only halfway of this book “My Country, My Life” and my first reactions would be:
There is a great flow in the book. As you go through the sequence of events in the book, you seem to be reliving the Post Independence India in front of your eyes .How the political landscape has changed in the past 61 years is one thing which most people of my generation are unaware of, and this is what you’ll get from this book whether you subscribe to Advani’s views or not. The first few pages also talk of Sindh before partition which is unarguably the best part of whatever I have read till now in these memoirs. The city of Karachi, through Advani’s eyes will make you spellbound. I’m sure Sindhis will be able to appreciate this description more.
Midway, I stumbled upon a very interesting anecdote……….which I could not stop myself from sharing with you all. This was the time when Mr.Advani was Presiding Officer of Delhi Metropolitan Council.
He writes:
“Interacting with Adityanath Jha, who was Lt.Governor of Delhi during those days, was always a pleasure. Once I and Jha were discussing the question of minister-bureaucrat relations, Jha recounted me an interesting fable. This was about a centipede which became afflicted with arthiritis.Naturally, for the centipede, the ailment was extremely agonising. Her family, unable to see her mother suffer from such excruciating pain, advised her to consult the wise owl living on the nearby tree. The centipede went to wise owl who, after listening to her woes, gravely pronounced:’ your problem is that you have too many feet. The remedy is simple. Convert yourself into a crow, and the pain will be considerably mitigated.’ Mother centipede returned home very happy, and shared the wise owl’s prescription with her children. One of the little ones asked: ‘Mother, but how will you convert yourself into a crow?’ The centipede felt stumped.’ I forgot to ask him that,’ she said, and forthwith proceeded to the wise owl to get his guidance. Jha completed his narrative thus:’ The wise owl’s response was that of a typical minister: My function is to lay down policy; how to execute it is your job!’ “
This says so much for the shoddy state of affairs, red-tapism and inefficient implementation in Government Departments.

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