Executive fiat

In yet another demonstration of the transparent and deeply entrenched democratic traditions of the country, the Chief Minister of the country’s most populous state has forgiven the transgressions of a freshly minted IAS (Indian Administrative Services) Officer and revoked the suspension orders issued only a few weeks back against her.

In keeping with established decision-making principles of politicians in power, he has not let facts come in the way of decision-making. In much the same way that he could not be dissuaded by facts at the time the said officer was suspended, showing a consistency of approach rare for senior political leaders. The government has not given any reason for the revocation. Just like no reason was given for the suspension earlier.

IAS, for the uninitiated, is the elite administrative service of the country, whose cadres serve throughout the length and breadth of the country, in hot and cold weather, with rich and poor, amongst friendly and hostile people, braving, among other things, politicians of different hues. The best and brightest compete fiercely for a place in this elite corps, which is said to be both a rewarding and satisfying experience, a rare combination, unlike normal jobs, like the ones that involve selling coloured sugar-water with empty calories or the ones that require pushing people to buy arcane financial products, among others.

The transgression in question was the Officer’s action of ordering the demolition of the wall of a mosque being built illegally on government land on the outskirts of the capital – an act that may have led to communal disharmony in the area, the state government claimed. It had nothing to do with the said official scuppering the activities of the powerful sand-mining mafia active in the region. This the government did not claim.

The Chief Minister came to the meeting with his usual retinue of twenty gun-toting bodyguards, to protect him from the common man he serves.

In a controversial claim, the ruling party has said the IAS officer pleaded with the Chief Minister. “She came and apologized that it was her mistake; that she didn’t come to him and instead approached the media. The Chief Minister forgave her. If she had apologized earlier, this issue would not have prolonged,” a senior party leader said, without clarifying why she was not asked to repair the communal harmony that she had threatened through her actions in the first place.

The IAS  Training Academy, not one to sit on its laurels, has lost no time in updating its curriculum. It has introduced a number of new elective programmes:

  1. Techniques of taking legal, justifiable, sound actions and getting away with them – how to ensure that correct and justifiable decisions, backed by law and in the interest of society, do not upset political leaders.
  2. Strategies for saying sorry the effective way – the art of saying sorry when it is not required, without meaning it; accompanied by yoga classes on deep-breathing (for the politician you are saying sorry to) so that he does not burst a vein for which he will blame you. This course will also teach participants mood-enhancing techniques for creating an environment conducive to saying sorry without meaning it, like Tracy Chapman’s “I am sorry” playing in the background with dim lights.
  3. Proven strategies for getting you fired, and how to avoid them – This course will include a tour of seven countries in Europe for practical training on avoidance techniques popular in other cultures.
  4. Meaningless initiatives for rapid career advancement – the strategies politicians love, i.e. the ones that have no connection to the problem at hand, with case studies of successful implementations, like starting a Call Centre to solve the problem of rapidly reducing green cover in a major city. The Chief Minister of one of the most impoverished states in the country has consented to be the guest faculty for this programme.

Several other programmes are under active consideration.

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