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Citizens as Customers

The Indian Babu or Bureaucrat is one of the worst creations of British Rule in India. It was sad,  that at the time of independence, the founding fathers did not defang this class, that had mastered extraction rather than generation.

Gandhi was a severe critic of Indian Babugiri. His words of advice for this ruthless class of people is plastered on many a wall of Indian Government offices but seldomnly practiced.

Who is a customer ? The customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business, he is part of it. We are not doing a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.

The above is very relevant to business also.

1 thought on “Citizens as Customers”

  1. I am no great supporter of babus nor do I have any vested interest but it is not as if they are entirely to blame. It is true that bureaucrats have been notorious for being inefficient, but partly it is the political class and common public that has rendered them ineffective. When they have been given opportunities without political interference, they have delivered. Think Seshan who was a typical babu earlier but re-invented himself in the election commission. Also Vittal of DOE or Sreedharan, the man behind Konkan Railway and Delhi Metro. The work of several collectors and other officials during the tsunami was also commended by several international organizations. There are numerous instances of city commissioners, district collectors who have done their job earnestly but are routinely shunted out. Also, the public which clamors for better services, also complains if rules are implemented strictly.
    I am sure you want to make a distinction between the average babu that you encounter when you want to get some paperwork processed and some of the ones whose work has received mention. Even so, it is important to remember that empowerment comes from the top.

    I would like to point you to this link http://www.geocities.com/indiancivilservices/civil.html.
    Interestingly as you suggested, the demand among the political class soon after independence was to do away with civil servants but this was resisted and in some ways we have to be thankful to them that the country still is in one piece. I did not want this to seem like a rant but just wanted to offer an alternative opinion.

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