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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Readers Write Index


Bureaucracy, Thy Name is Bihar

by Madani Mohiuddin Ahmad
King Saud University, Riyadh, KSA

Aug. 27, 2007

Readers Write


The long awaited 60 days vacation matters. This is what every NRI thinks of. I am one of them and did the same. Holidaying or busy with some work particularly paper work is disturbing or rather scaring. Big or small, red-tapism alongside 'baboogiri' is a dangerous virus that frightens everyone regardless of place or region. Several nonsensical questions beyond one’s imagination will start hovering, the moment a needy steps in and approaches the concerned government authority. I too couldn’t be spared from a ghost of this character.

Happy and jolly with necessary documents of proof, I enquired the location of the office of the Dy. Secretary, Bihar School Examination Board (B.S.E.B), Patna which is responsible for ‘correction in name’ in the matric certificate of the candidate. Gracefully I placed my papers (attested copy of my misplaced matric certificate, an application bearing remarks from the present headmaster where I did my schooling requesting for correction in the mis-spelt incomplete name of my father along with an affidavit etc.).

“Where is your admit card?”

“Madam, I took my matric exam in the year 1979… It couldn’t be possible for me to keep that till now.”

“My sister still keeps her admit card safe. Its possible!”

“Its an outstanding example. Appreciating!!”

I maintained silence for the later part of the situation. What I found was a heap of files being opened with a lot of hiss sound coming from the paper on turning them. While outside her office a never-ending queue with so much of hiss-hush were waiting for their turn to contact her regarding the same for which I was in. Then a huge number of students and guardians from different parts flocked in the corridor of the building. Most of them were carrying briefcases which meant that they had traveled a long way to reach there. Certainly they were all restless. After sometime, the situation worsened when some of the waiting persons tried to enter the office forcefully. The other personnel of the Board Office took notice of the of the situation and interfered with high pitch of their voice:

‘Keep apart… go there… come here… come tomorrow… what is this… you don’t know how to follow the procedures… don’t crowd this place… consult the clerk of your respective area… Siwan, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Champaran...", and so on.

The chaos remained for another 10-15 minutes which I never experienced over 18 years of teaching career particularly at a high office of educational institutions. That was indeed a show of wanton disrespect for the students and the guardians. I was told that these things happen usually which amounts to insurmountable problems.

I once again drew the attention of the lady officer and asked:

“What shall I do next?”

“I have put up my remarks and forwarded the case to the Secretary (B.S.E.B).”

The day after was the 60th Independence Day. Of course the holiday mood on her face was obvious. On the other hand, I found myself hard pressed as I was scheduled to leave for Delhi by Sampoorna Kranti on 16 August at 6.00 pm. At last I left the office bearing in my mind a number of ifs and buts conjoined with apprehensions.

Thursday morning. The office reopened and I reported to it sharp 10 am. And I was right. The lady officer didn’t turn up till 12 noon. Since I had to approach the Secretary via Deputy Secretary, I consulted the clerk/concerned dealing person. Till then the office had already been crowded and later transformed into a chaos. The office was jam-packed. They were inaccessible.

I made up my mind to see the Secretary directly which I did.

“This is a very old case… It will take time… We have to follow the rules… I will put up this before a committee…

“Sir, besides the affidavit I have submitted the necessary documents of proof, here is my passport, driving license issued at Delhi, voter’s ID, and other government and non-government documents all contain the correct name of my father. A mistake has taken place in the full name and spelling of my father which I want to be corrected.”

“Where is your admit card?”

This question was a poison to me which I took. But how long? How much time does it take to become a Neelkhanth?

Well, on this, I am still meditating.


Nothing new. Why blame the bureaucracy in Bihar? Our embassy in Washington is not doing any better. Make a call, nobody picks up the telephone. Try to leave a message, the message box is full. Write a letter, no response! This is the Indian way. Thank you. - Satya - Aug. 29, 2007

When I finished reading this story (with sad ending), my mind started quarrelling with my soul, asking again and again a simple question - KAB TAK and KYON? This is not just a story of Mr. Ahmad. This is not only HIS personal grievances, but it's OUR problem as well. We all are having similar type of problems almost everywhere. Every department is having similar type of mess. It's very difficult to blame anyone. What is the remedy and till when we have to wait for a hassle-free official environment in this SUSHASAN regime? - Saroj Ray, Village Kkharouna, Bhojpur (Ara), Bihar - Aug. 29, 2007

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