TODAY -

Hassled advantage 'Babudom' holds

Lunminthang Haokip *



Origin of Babu : In British India, Babu was a term used to address an Indian Clerk in the way the word 'Mister' was used. The honorific suffix to one's name became popular in the 20th Century; more so in Bengal where the diversified equivalents, 'Babushona,' or 'Babuji' denoted deeper show of respect to a bureaucrat.

The words of common address come handy even today when someone whose name one doesn't know is required to be given a call in social and official transactions. Switching focus to the bigger picture, throughout the length and breath of our vast country, Babu, by and large, is the accepted usage to refer officers of the IAS, other Government functionaries, and even respect-worthy elders in one's orbit of activity.

Take on Manipur's Hill Area Babu-dom : Christianity, along with the Gospel Light, brought the thirst for education in the hill villages of Manipur. The hitherto complacent and 'contented' hill-settlers who were satisfied as long as they had sufficient stock of paddy, livestock and rice-beer to make merry with, with the arrival of Missionaries and Evangelists, felt the need to learn English to be on par.

The Holy Bible and the Hymn books handed out to them needed to be translated in their own dialects. So, proposals to open schools, Governmental or Private, were welcomed with open arms and Psalms.

The Drive to Equal One's Betters : The spirited lettered local elite grabbed the organizational leadership positions. A zeal triggered partly by spiritualism, and partly by materialism, which was further fuelled by the drive to "equal one's betters and better one's equals," catapulted many rural aspirants to placements of prominence.

Many of the ST Babus who serve in offices in the NE Regional and State Capitals and the Hill Districts are second or third generation offspring of 'Gospel-sufferers' who held on fast to the Word despite stiff opposition from their own kindred, in the past.

Positions of Hassled Advantage: Being assured a regular monthly salary, except in times of financial crunch, puts the white-collared Babus at a pedestal in the eyes of the less-privileged lot. The recurring morale boosting reassurance, that basic requirements will be taken care of, is notches more comforting than pastoral and agricultural abundance one's forefathers banked heavily on.

Yet, the euphoria of holding on to a job is taxing at times. The economics of rural hardships hassle the Babus' peace of mind off and on. Excepting a few families of high-ranking bureaucrats, most well-placed one-in-a-sub-clan officers of hill-origin have the varied 'hopes' of their 'poorer' extended family-members and relatives pinned calculatingly on them.

Burden on Local Babus: Add to that the collective aspirations of religious and social organization from the Babu's native area who have the 'local big-shots' in mind whenever they plan an event without a proper budget.

The officer, having gone through our social set-up, plays ball to an extent; but when 'cornered' to render things untenable for the 'family man' to please all favour-seekers, the 'boss' is at a loss' as to whether it will be wiser to go teflon-coated and play 'hide and seek' by saying one thing and doing another.

The 'Lurks' and Perks of Officialdom: No pain no gain, the old adage went. In this cut-throat competitive era, a struggle to make it in exams and interviews that feature equally keen and competent competitors, is no cake-walk. Burning the midnight oil isn't enough.

A wannabe top-ranker must have an innovative approach to studies, be IT savvy, cultivate the right aptitude and attitude and acquire an emotional intelligence to create an impact on the interviewers. Initial failures in repeated earlier attempts add flavor to ultimate success.

Rewards of Hard Labour: Along with consummate performance in Public Service Commission-conducted Tests come placements commensurate to the merit achieved. Facilities attached to one's hard-earned status, sooner or later, are taken for granted.

Appreciations and plaudits showered generously on the 'rising son' is elating for a while, but one grows owlishly indifferent to 'all that jazz,' if the same are felt to have been overdone with some 'overacting'.

But the most durable perk, that lurks and lingers for long in the mind of the 'new incumbent' in vantage-position, is the 'honour of being looked up to' and 'taken seriously' by the same people who did not give 'him' much 'bhav' and 'credit' in his salad days.

Thrills and Shrills of District Posting: If much power and authority are bestowed upon the District Administrator, and to a lesser extent, to the subordinate DLOs, much more is expected from them in terms of delivery of service. Human rivalry and one-upmanship remain the same everywhere. Needs and desires are unlimited, but the means to quell them are limited.

Besides, there are 'pressures' and priorities one can ignore at one's own peril. In critical situations when contentious issues confront one to either heed to the 'voice of conscience' or to the more pragmatic 'prompting of the heart.'

Great Expectations from An 'Overrated' Babu : The latter, unfortunately, has to prevail over the former, much to the silent 'chagrin' of the man on the hot-seat. Merciless comparisons of 'predecessors' and 'successors' are made with one's balance of 'loyalty' tilting heavily on 'closer proximity.' But systems cannot change overnight with the posting of a new incumbent-in-authority.

He is no superman to wipe out 'every tear from every eye' or exhibit Don Quixotic chivalry in taking 'immediate decisions' regardless of the consequences. The bull cannot be shot with the butt facing it. Men in authority had been trained to be tactful, careful and mindful of local and community sensitivities so as to save one's tenure from hurt and ridicule.

Disadvantage Bureaucrats : Bureaucrats are bound to act on orders from above at the risk of ignoring equally urgent 'orders' from 'those who matter' in the home-front. If the Babu gets more and more appreciation in the discharge of his duty, the reverse will be true in the family circles.

Home 'mini-stirs' have their own agenda and the 'power' to emotionally 'impose' them on their own incumbent-hubbies who, at times, are put on a quandary by contradicting sundry calls. A domestic fuss is inevitable if the hectic schedules make the 'man of the house' forget a wedding anniversary or a child's birthday.

If growing children lag behind others in school or college, the 'bechara' father is squarely blamed for "not giving 'pura' attention like 'so and so's hubby." Mid-level Babus with lesser responsibility score better in guiding children's education.

Heavy-duty officers also have the best of ambitions for their sons and daughters. But time is at a premium. When the calls of official duty and family duty are at odds with one another, 'imagined' feathers desired to be capped on children's academic performance, are often dispensed with for holistic 'paapi pet ka sawaal.'

Let Us Support Our Babus : All said and done, having left only a few aspects of Babu-dom undone, let us have a heart for this class of non-elective administrative policy-makers who work overtime for the masses to oversee that necessary daily demands get done in the best manner.

Civil Government is an institution of the Creator, apart from the family and the Church. It was in existence right from the time of Moses. Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, advised the ordained Servant of God, "Thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, ... and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens (Exodus 18:21)."

God also commands us to obey those in authority: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God (Romans 13:1)."


* Lunminthang Haokip wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is an IAS (Retd)
This article was webcasted on April 24 2022 .



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • ILP Check point at Jiri : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 27 June : Govt of Manipur
  • The untold story, lest it be forgotten
  • Assistance to victims of Assam Flood
  • A glimpse of 'Yangna Paikhredako Punshi'
  • Market innovations in developing country
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Anti-drug day expose state pathetic situation
  • The wedge amongst the Nagas
  • Coming of Manipur University in 1980
  • COVID-19 Status 26 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Laitonjam Lanchenba: Best Swimmer
  • Our capital Imphal - the city of sanity
  • Workshop : ND & PS Act, 1985
  • Mara Prabhu - Lord of the trees
  • Essence of international anti-drug day
  • July 1 : Taking the fight to plastic
  • Miss Shirui Lily 2022 #3 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 25 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Flesh Trade : Connection between Goa & NE
  • Importance of Soil Testing & Management
  • ST status Vs Classical language for Meetei
  • Life, faith and belief
  • MANISFA General Secretary appointed
  • Flood Watch : 23rd June #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 24 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Community led in ensuring HIV treatment
  • Approach to ideology & development
  • Solar Energy solution for healthcare facility
  • Yoga for health, beauty and immunity
  • Innovation Prize Launched for Designers
  • Knotty higher education sector
  • Classical language status and ST demand
  • Flood Watch : 23rd June #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 23 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Birds and Bees Talk launched 3rd phase
  • Luck matters, Rio's first entry into cabinet...
  • Need to deal with dumping of waste materials
  • Training on mushroom at Nagamapal
  • 1961 as base year: Take it or leave it
  • 10 years too late : JCILPS
  • Phamnaiba Jagoi @ Thangjing : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 22 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Women's cleanliness enjoys equal rights...
  • Life in some hill villages
  • The MCI Restoration II
  • 'BRO Cafes' on 75 border roads
  • Protest over boundary row headache for Govt
  • Issues on the indigenous question
  • Drug Menace In Manipur : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 21 June : Govt of Manipur
  • ST tag for Meiteis - A perspective!
  • Manipur State Welfare : Politics 1-0 Citizens
  • International Yoga Day at Assam Rifles
  • International Yoga Day at IBSD Imphal
  • International Yoga Day at NSU Imphal
  • Manipur Lokyukta: Fighting against corruption
  • Vision to distribute local rice under NFSA...
  • Taking the fight to the drug menace
  • Landslides - Imphal-Jiri [Jun 17] : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 20 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Thangjing in folklore of Koireng tribe
  • Health Workshop on Diabetes at Pune
  • Everyone is a thief :: Poem
  • E- barton for CM & Governor
  • Intensive cultivation of vegetables
  • High time to encourage e-vehicle operators
  • Scripting success story with Rs 500
  • Leima Jagoi by Transgender #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 19 June : Govt of Manipur
  • June 19 2022 : Father's Day message
  • Nine Hills One Valley : Ottawa Film Fest
  • Shirui Lily Festival or mud festival ?
  • Yoga for Women organised
  • Flight link to Mandalay dream come true
  • Action of Govt needs to be backed
  • 21st Great June Uprising #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 June : Govt of Manipur
  • The Great June 18 Uprising :: News Timeline
  • Revive environmentalism in Meetei ethos
  • COVID-19 Status 17 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Elephant army of Lord Guruvayurappan
  • Who will be next at Rashtrapati Bhawan
  • Hiyang Tannaba @ Loktak #1 : Gallery
  • Freedom movement against British #2
  • Inequity and health security
  • Donating blood is an act of solidarity
  • Unregulated deposit schemes & BUDS Act
  • Extension of entry age : Agnipath
  • Citizens feeding on adulterated food items
  • Of food safety and street vendors
  • Pooja Elangbam, IAS, 81st ranker in AICS
  • COVID-19 Status 16 June : Govt of Manipur
  • NE Model @Delhi Kids Fest : Gallery
  • Manipur Rajkunja
  • Effective Legal Aid to Women Prisoner
  • How to avoid cracked heel during hot summer
  • Aid to artisan must to promote local product
  • Education for whom ?
  • Kabui Dance @Nongshaba Haraoba : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 15 June : Govt of Manipur
  • 'Let's Talk About It' : music album
  • Significance of World Environment Day
  • The MCI Restoration
  • North East CSR Award 2022
  • Prolonged sitting or standing spoils your leg
  • State fast-tracking towards drug making hub
  • 'Progression' from smuggling to manufacturing
  • Bonny Elangbam : Longest distance covered
  • COVID-19 Status 14 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Interaction with Makakmayum Hosni Mubarak
  • India to become $5 trillion economy
  • Exploring traditional medicines of NE
  • Freefall of the kids after COVID-19
  • Honour the tax payers, expose defaulters
  • NE needs more than 'unprecedented'
  • Miss Shirui Lily 2022 #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 13 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Water management in paddy cultivation
  • PM Modi hails Nagaland Gaon Burahs
  • Blight of Nature :: Poem
  • Moreh as Las Vegas
  • NHIDCL's reputation at stake
  • Drugs, poppy & 'alternatives'
  • Thaopai Shithaine of Poumai #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 12 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Jadonang Park, Tamenglong :: Gallery
  • Freedom movement against British #1
  • Multi-Tasking Staff at Leima Traders
  • Toning down rhetoric that hurts religion
  • Shirui Lily fest brings to fore plastic menace
  • Conservation of pony & grazing fields
  • Kakwa Lairembi Haraoba #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 11 June : Govt of Manipur
  • The unheeded cry of children in labour
  • Why present distribution of urea fails?
  • World Day Against Child Labour 2022
  • Sunrise on the Civil Aviation Horizon
  • Arambam Samarendra Ningshingba :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 10 June : Govt of Manipur
  • NE Ex-Super Model at Delhi Kids Fest
  • What Diphu has, Dimapur & Kohima don't
  • Towards Manipur Budget 2022-23 ...
  • NE Social & Behaviour Change inaugurated
  • Fighting corruption remains an uphill task
  • Environment needs more than tree plantation
  • SN Chand: The father of Manipuri cinema #3
  • COVID-19 Status 09 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Degree Certificate for Survival #2
  • Value chain management of Umorok
  • Pulses for Nutrition Security in Manipur
  • Keeping your skin oil free during summer
  • Demand for impartial probe into IMC scam
  • Politics of isolating the NSCN (IM)
  • Raas @Manipur Rajbari, W Bengal :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 08 June : Govt of Manipur
  • A rare book on Birds of Manipur
  • Condemns bomb blast in Manipur
  • Market Innovations made America great #2
  • Jal Jeevan Mission : PHED Manipur
  • Disturbing data on lifestyle diseases in state
  • Tough talk against drug menace
  • Trekking to Shirui Peak, Ukhrul #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 07 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Take a leaf from sunderban if you're serious
  • Testimony of brother Ninghor Mahongnao
  • Local leaders unitedly push for One Health
  • Letters from the Republic of Dust #2
  • Soil testing for better crop production
  • Despicable threat to school
  • Outrage at Little Flower School
  • Ibudhou Thangjing Lam Thokpa #3 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 06 June : Govt of Manipur
  • India-Taiwan Global Bamboo Tech Forum
  • Condemns bomb attack at LFS
  • RSS chief sounds logical
  • Career options in Environmental Science
  • We reap what we sow
  • NRC in focus as keyboard warriors spar...
  • Coming together of COCOMI, UNC
  • HSE Result 2022 : Statistiscal Abstract
  • HSE Result 2022 : Subject Pass Percentage
  • HSE Result 2022 : District-Wise Pass %
  • HSE Result 2022 :Science Topper
  • HSE Result 2022 : Arts Topper
  • HSE Result 2022 : Commerce Topper
  • HSE Result 2022 : Science Stream Result
  • HSE Result 2022 : Arts Stream Result
  • HSE Result 2022 : Commerce Stream Result
  • COVID-19 Status 05 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Nagaland: Is it fair to blame Indrajit Gupta ?
  • 4th Plenary Session of WMC at Sugnu
  • World Environment Day at Tamenglong
  • World Environment Day at Lilong
  • World Environment Day at Haraorou
  • Musing :: Poem
  • Yet another World Environment Day observed
  • Mounting pressure for solution
  • Padmashree Award Moirangthem Muktamani
  • COVID-19 Status 04 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Congested road at Shirui Village :: Gallery
  • Degree Certificate for Survival #1
  • Admission for National Sports University
  • World Environment Day at Imphal
  • Include Meeteis in the ST list
  • Inhumane act of De-addiction centres
  • UK band Monuments @ShiRock #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 03 June : Govt of Manipur
  • 'Provocation' charges arrests on social media
  • Gerinda Loitongbam: Natl Women Award
  • Timeless Memories :: Poem
  • Ket Meth releases music video Trauma'
  • 8 years of Modi Govt: More hits than misses
  • Bad example commanders
  • Posers parents may raise within
  • Miss Shirui Lily 2022 #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 02 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Letters from the Republic of Dust #1
  • Workshop on Food Processing at Lilong
  • 1st June is the Global Day of Parents
  • 'Developing human resource in Manipur'
  • Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen)
  • 'Yoga for personality development' orgd
  • Row over boundary fencing project
  • Brain storming session of the Congress
  • Lunghar (Imp-Kohima / Jessami) #3 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 01 June : Govt of Manipur
  • Delphi Oinam : Topper at Nagaland HSLC
  • Teaching at Churachandpur Govt College
  • Jadonang Park at Tamenglong renovated
  • Quality seed production of rice (HYV)
  • Audiobook for NEET aspirants launched
  • Naga issue: From bush war to shadow boxing
  • Tenants in Nagaland tag on the NSCN (IM)
  • Wakhom Leikai Lairembi Haraoba #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 31 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Pageant winners showcase Robert's collection
  • MIFF to pay homage to Irom Maipak
  • Awareness on Legal rights of women prisoner
  • Election petitions galore in Manipur
  • Training program on mushroom at Nagamapal
  • Must expedite process for border projects
  • Wanted : A far sighted leader
  • Naga Indigenous Wrestling :: Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2022 : Tools
  • UK band Monuments @ShiRock #1 :: Gallery
  • Ibudhou Thangjing Lam Thokpa #2 :: Gallery
  • SN Chand: The father of Manipuri cinema #2
  • Licypriya speech at East Timor :: Gallery
  • On 200th Anniversary of MK Binodini Devi
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2022 #2: Gallery
  • Harvesting Fest of Tarao #4 :: Gallery
  • Id-ul-Fitr @Hatta Golapati :: Gallery
  • Rules of English Pronunciation : Download
  • Sub-Syllables in English : Book Download