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The UnCivil Service…..a legacy of the people who loved tea "with a spot of milk"


The Indian Uncivil Service…is a career option seen by many law students as the ultimate goal and clearing this exam is considered to be nothing but the pinnacle of success…..the acme of achievement…by many

I just wish to tender my own humble opinion and voice my personal views…

IAS is NOT the only service..there’s IPS IFS IRS IAAS IRTS IRPS IRAS IDCS ISS etc..among the Group A uncivil services…

You crack the exam and you re herded off to Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie (excpet IPS who re trained at Sardar Vallabbhai Patel National Police Academy) wherein it is drilled into your head that you are the crème de la crème and you are the “Steel Frame” of the Indian administration….You are also told that you are A class…top drawer etc…

You come out with a bloated ego and are posted as a probationery officer as SDM/SDO ,designation varying from state to state…

Your office is a government building typically of which the paramount difficulty lies in identifying the colour of it ..is it pink? Or was it yellow? But then wat about the patches of green??

You get “a sprawling bungalow” with snakes and frogs abound in the bathrooms…the Old Victorian ones are scary though architecturally excellent except for the fact that your servant thinks its proper etiquette to dig his nose looking for a goldmine in front of the “sahib” and your gardener farts loudly as you pass by…shielded by the Welfare State’s white ambassador and a red beacon glaring out at the undeserving menions who crouch down low and salute you as you pass by…..

Slowly over the years you rise in rank and the bungalow is reduced to a flat in a government appartment block in the city ,ie, the state headquarters…servants are non existent now and there’s but only one official car which of course “as per tradition” should be waiting outside your home (whilst you are in office) to take your wife for her daily shopping and kitty parties…and ferry your kids to the club to play tennis

Your office:

A nice chamber ..wherein you ll be invisible behind the piles of files….(era of e governance) as you ring the bell for your orderlie a man in khadi( once brown) will enter your office giving you the look of deepest disdain for interrupting his midday siesta and ask his sahib for instructions…..

AS the feeling of utter frustration and despondency envelopes you..you curse yourself for having a mind of your own…and for having entered this service….

Your phone rings and your PA says “Sir…CMO Secy on line 1”…you pick up and “Sir”him…

CMO Secy-“ you sent the proposal?”

You    -“sir”

CMO Secy “ Have you taken into account the MLA’s wishes?”

You   -“Yes sir”

CMO Secy-“ Accha btw listen the new irrigation minister’s wife runs an NGO…your department shall sponsor the AGM”

You “Right Sir”

CMO Secy Slams the phone down


The rigid seniority demands your absolute psycophancy and one toe out of line and you will fall out of grace and be shunted as the next Commisioner Bicyle Licensing and Officer on Special Duty to evaluate the Milk tax to be levied on the more productive of Indian cows where your job shall be to submit a report that must argue which department should be incharge of the mating between Indian and Australian cows….and then the Ministry of External Affairs shall sit on your proposal thinking about the recent spate of racial attacks in the said country and Finance shall obviously turn it down(that's why they are there) siting "paucity of funds in the budgetary allocation for current year...ministry may seek transallocation of funds by resubmitting the case in question to the undersigned hereafter henceforth whereunder"....... and the rest of those similar sounding words....


You shall speak in Uncivil Service tongue which has different meanings from the ordinary language as people know it:

You: “We are looking into the matter”

Meaning: “my clumsy clerks have lost the file and I don’t give a damn about it”


You:”The matter is under consideration”

Meaning:”ok fine…I ll send the clerks to look for the file”


You:”the matter is under active consideration”

Meaning:”I m in the line of fire from the CMO…I myself m searching for the file”


You shall not be a part of the bureaucracy but the “ambassadocracy” and mind you only "white" in colour….

The colour of all official paper shall be however off white and your official stamp an illegible mess of blue/black….

You ll assiduosly write IAS after your name…even if it goes to a level of ridicule….even after retirement you shall write IAS(retd.) after your name…pardon me but how about IAS(departed) after you death???


You shall be paid a meagre salary by which the welfare state expects you to honestly raise your kids and have two decent meals….


You shall revel in the glory of your lal batti and render “public unservice”…being the” public servant” that you are…..

You ll look at your friends’ Mercs and property and tell others about the pride honour glory of your service…the chance it offers to serve the nation and attain self actualisation but in your heart you shall be green with jealousy and curse yourself for choosing this proffesion…


Your colleagues…especially some who hail from the cow belt shall quote the present rate of IAS grooms…(the last I heard was 1.2 crores and a decent sedan)…and you shall be appalled at the level of corruption all around you (presuming you have scruples yourself and thats not the reason why you youself are there first)…

Life will drudge on and you shall only crib and wait for the next pay commission and the pay rise you receive and the once in a blue moon foreign trip shall give you ecstatic pleasure….and your Performance Appraisal Report shall be the sword hanging above you…..


This might seem to be a very cynical perspective but since I had the opportunity to observe some civil servants ...........
 I shall give you the other side of the story too…in my next blog…comments are welcome and I would love to give some more “inside” stories…..and cynical takes…on the Uncivil service...if people seem interested...


To end with a uncivil service joke  :


An young IAS is posted as Collector of a district…….he gets an order from the Secy Agriculture to count the total number of cattle in his district and send a report…he is flabbergasted and cannot comprehend the sheer riduculousness and futility of the work  and the immensity and complexity of the entire procedure…….he calls a subordinate and asks him what to do…..who says “not to worry sir…..this is regular work…comes evry year….we have the figures…we do an annual increment of 7.5%  and send the new figures”…so the collector says how did u arrive at the exact 7.5pc …how do you know the growth rate of  cattle population?.....he says oh sir its simple….i got it from the data published by the agriculture department who compile all the data sent by the different districts like ours and arrive at a final”….collector says ohk….”just add two to this year’s figures….1 .ie you for doing this intellectually "stimulating" work over the years and I m the other one..the 2nd…for ever having joined the UNCIVIL SERVICE”………..


More to come….    Satyameva Jayate...!!!!!!!!!!



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