By the early 1970's, I had spent 15 years as a civil servant, and I had discovered that although in Government offices and public-sector organizations there was a tradition of lethargy and lack of initiative governing the voluminous flow of routine work, there was also enormous scope for introducing superior techniques of work and achieving excellence. Usually the main obstacles faced by the exceptional and creative worker were the jealous attitude of the peers as well as the hostility and resistance of the bosses.
Rather a dangerous topic for a buronaut to write about in a newspaper or magazine! But the prestigious Shankar's Weekly, published in New Delhi and circulated all over India, was like a circus arena where I could perform a trapeze act now and then -- with the blessings of my own exceptionally benevolent bosses, to be sure!
Glossary(in same order as in text
20-11-72 -- In India, dates are usually written as day-month-year.
Shri -- In Hindi, Shri is 'Mr.', Shrimati is 'Mrs.', and Kumari is 'Miss'. There's no separate concept of 'Ms.' in any Indian language, and it's also translated as Shrimati. By the way, what precisely is the English expression which is shortened as 'Ms.', and when did it creep intoi the English language? I have no idea! -- though I think it's also pronounced Miss.
Varkey -- A common name in Kerala State, on the West coast of India. Please see PostScript below.
UDC -- Upper Division Clerk
PUC -- Paper Under Consideration
Shankar's Weekly19 August 1973
A black sheep
Memo from the Manager (Arrears)
No. AR-III/Wrk/499 -- 20-11-72
It has been brought to the notice of the undersigned that Shri R.S. Varkey of Arrears-III Unit was engaged in the act of working on the afternoon of Friday, 17-11-72.
He is directed to show cause within three days of the receipt of this letter why disciplinary action should not be taken against him. He should submit his explanation through the Assistant Manager and Deputy Manager in charge of the Unit.
Reply of Shri R.S. Varkey
To the Manager (Arrears)
With reference to your memo No. AR-III/Wrk/499 dated 20-11-72, I have to submit that it was not my intention to indulge in any work on the afternoon of Friday, 17-11-72. I had no fresh arrears to accumulate that day, so I merely sorted out some of the papers already in arrears.
This act was misconstrued by AM(A), and was erroneously reported to DM(A) and your good self as an act of work.
I may, however, be kindly excused if my action is not approved. I shall refrain from handling any pending papers in future.
Signed, 22-11-72R. S. Varkey
UDC, A-III Unit
Notes in Arrears Group file
The PUC may kindly be seen.
The facts of the case as stated by Shri Varkey are not true. The correct position is as follows:
At about 4 p.m. on 17-11-72, when all the other persons in the Unit were busy piling up arrears, I actually received an attempted disposal from Shri Varkey, who had been observed to be engrossed in work from 2 p.m. onwards. . . . He analysed in an elaborate note the full extent of the existing arrears in his seat, and atttached a tabular chart showing the pending cases source-wise and age-wise. He also suggested methods and target dates for their disposal. . . .
It will be seen from the above that Shri Varkey is not prepard to take a responsible attitude. It is for M(A)'s kind consideration whether it is not desirable to get him transferred to some other group.
Signed, 23-11-72Assistant Manager
AM(A)'s note above may kindly be seen. I fully endorse it.
Of late Shri R.S. Varkey has been tending to be argumentative, and attempting to indulge in work. He is having a bad influence on the other workers in the Unit.
It is requested that he may kindly be got transferred to some other group.
Deputy Manager (Arrears)
Deputy Manager (Arrears)
I am inclined to agree. I shall talk to Manager (Personnel) about his transfer.
Meanwhile, Shri Varkey may be informed in writing that his explanation is not accepted, and warned that he should be more careful in future.
Signed, 27-11-72Manager (Arrears)