Tuesday, July 11, 2017

पहले नेताजी का रिटायरमेंट हो

दिलीप अवस्थी



चलिए इस बहस को एक नए तरीके से समझा, देखा जाये I  आखिर हम क्यों रिटायर हों? गए वक्त की बात है जब अपने समय के विख्यात बल्लेबाज़ विजय मर्चेंट में अपने जीवन का सर्वेश्रेष्ठ शतक लगाने के तुरंत बाद १९५१ में क्रिकेट से सन्यास लेने की  घोषणा कर दी I पूरा देश स्तब्ध था और जानना चाहता था की मर्चेंट ने ऐसा किन परिस्थितियों में किया I जब पत्रकारों ने उनके निर्णय की वजह पूछी तो मर्चेंट बाले, "सन्यास तो तभी लेना चाहिए जब लोग पूछें  अभी क्यों नाकि तब जब लोग कहने लगें अब कब?"

लेकिन मर्चेंट तो व्यावसायिक खिलाड़ी थे I उनके जैसे न जाने कितने और प्रोफेशनल व्यक्तियों ने ऐसी ही नजीरें रखी हैं I काफी किस्से हम सब जानते हैं और ऐसे लोगों  को याद भी करते हैं  पर बात बस यहीं पर ख़त्म हो जाती है I हम तो सिर्फ अपने नेताओं का अनुकरण करना चाहते हैं जब बात हमारे अपने रिटायरमेंट की आती है I सदियों से हमारे नेता को हमने अजर और अमर बने हुए देखा है जब तक वे पांच तत्व में विलीन नहीं हो जाते हैं I अरसे से हम ऐसे नेताओं को देखते चले आ रहे हैं जो बच्चों की तरह डगमगाते हुए मंच तक पहुँचते हैं और कई बार वहां बैठकर सो भी जाते हैं I लेकिन वे पद छोड़ने को तब तैयार होतें हैं जब घरवाले ठठरी का सामान जुटाने लगते हैं I कुछ बिरले ही नेता ऐसे हुए हैं जिन्हें देख कर देश का हौसला बढ़ा हो I

अब एक सवाल और उठाकर देखा जाये I ये नेता आखिर देश के लिए करते क्या हैं? अगर एक आम हिंदुस्तानी नेता का मानसिक चित्र खींचें तो हम एक धूर्त, शातिर और मोटी चमड़ी वाले व्यक्ति की चित्र ही सजीव करेंगे I एक ऐसा व्यक्ति जिसके पास न कोई डिग्री हैं न डिप्लोमा फिर भी अपने समर्थकों से लेकर पूरे देश को बेवकूफ बनाता रहता है I उसके पास न कोई हुनर है न ट्रेनिंग फिर भी वह चुनाव की राजनीति का मर्मज्ञ है I आमतौर पर उसे कोई वेतन नहीं मिलता है लेकिन उसकी तिजोरी हमेशा बड़े सेठों से भी ज्यादा लबालब रहती I उसे आप घपले करते रंगेहाथ  पकड़ भी लीजिये लेकिन वह अपने गुनाह दूसरों पर थोप कर  कानूनी पंजे से फिसल  जाता है I हम सब उसकी कलाकारी जानते हैं लेकिन मज़ा देखिये वह देश की राजनीति का अहम् किरदार बना ही रहता है जब तक भगवान के घर से न्योता न आ जाये I

शायद हम अपने नेताओं को अंदर से बहुत चाहते हैं और उनसे शिक्षा भी लेते हैं I तभी तो यह रिटायरमेंट जैसे मुद्दे हमेशा उन लोगों के बीच से उठते हैं जिन्हे बिना कुछ ज्यादा किये मालपानी की आदत हो जाती है I ऐसे लोग चाहे वे नौकरी देने वाले हों या करने वाले, अपनी बनाई आरामतलबी की दुनिया में ही लीन रहना चाहते हैं I अपने खोल से बहार निकल कर अपने काम , हुनर पर यक़ीन करने या किसी नए आसमान की ऊंचाईयों को परखने की उनमे हिम्मत ही नहीं होती 

आज देश भर की सरकारें रिटायरमेंट की उम्र बढ़ाने या कर्मचारियों की संख्या बल कम  करने के फैसले के बीच  झूलती नज़र आ रही हैं I जैसे ही वित्त विभाग चेतावनी देता है की उसके पास  बढ़ते वेतन, भत्ते या पेंशन देने के लिए रोकड़ा नहीं है, कर्मचारियों को जबरन रिटायर करने का फैसला ले लिया जाता है I जब कर्मचारी संगठनों की चलती है तो रिटायरमेंट की उम्र बढ़ने की बात होने लगती है I लेकिन अभी भी सरकारेंअधिकारियों -कर्मचारियों की उपियोगिता या उनकी उत्पादकता पर प्रश्नचिन्ह लगाने से कतरा रही हैं I

हमारी सरकारों के कर्णधार यह क्यों नहीं देख पा रहे हैं की हमारे सरकारी तंत्र में काम करने वाले काम और उनकी मैनेजरी करने वाले लोगों की भरमार है I चाहे काम कितना भी संजीदा हो, सरकारी फाइल का रचयिता आज भी एक क्लर्क या हेड क्लर्क होता है I इसी तरह कितना ही जघन्य अपराध हो, उसकी विवेचना आज भी एक इंस्पेक्टर यासब -इंस्पेक्टर ही करता है I मोटी तनख्वाहों वाले अधिकारी चाहे वे आईएएस हों या आईपीएस सिर्फ सुपरवाइजरी ही करते हैं I अपने अड़तीस  वर्ष के पत्रकारिता जीवन में मैंने किसी वरिष्ठ अधिकारी को न तो फाइल बनाते देखा न विवेचना करते I ये लोग सिर्फ दस्तखत पर दस्तखत बनाना जानते हैं 

मोटी  बुद्धि कहती है कि जितने वरिष्ठ आप होते जाते हैं आपको उतने ही संजीदा मामलों से  खुद निपटना चाहिए और कनिष्ठ अधिकारीयों का प्रेरणास्रोत बनानाचाहिए I क्रिकेट टीम  में अगर धोनी, विराट कोहली और युवराज सिंह आराम से बैठें और दारोमदार नए खिलाड़ियों पर छोड़ दे तो कैसे रहे ? वर्षों बाद भी आप आमिर खान की फिल्म उसकी शानदार एक्टिंग देखने के लिए ही जाते हैं I किसी भी धंधे का मूलमंत्र उसमे कार्यरत व्यक्तियों की उपियोगिता, उत्पादकता और जवाबदेही ही है I सरकारें रिटायरमेंट आयु पर चर्चा करें अच्छा है लेकिन देश को नेताओं की रिटायरमेंट उम्र पर भी गहन चिंतन करना चाहिए I वरना ये ख़ादीधारी  अगर आजीवन देश का दोहन कर सकते हैं तो फिर हम सब क्यों नहीं?

Politicians should retire first

By Dilip Awasthi

Let's start the argument all over again from the other side -  why should you RETIRE? Cricket fans were stunned when Vijay Merchant, one of the greatest Indian openers announced his retirement after scoring his highest Test score In 1951. When journalists asked him the reason, he simply said,"You should hang your boots at a stage when people ask WHY rather than WHEN."

But then Merchant was a professional sportsman. So many professionals in different fields have set such examples. We admire them but it ends there. We religiously keep following our leaders when it comes to our own retirement. For ages, our politicians have had this 'never-say-die' spirit when it has come to bowing out. We have been represented by ageing, tottering politicians of all caste and creed. Even in international forums, we have seen our 'netas' managing to reach the podium with infant-like wobbly demeanour or speaking as if it is going to be their last speech. We have seen ministers sleeping in meetings and on the stage. There have been only a paltry few whose public presence has made us proud.

What do the khadi-clad tribe of this country do? If you make a mental sketch of an Indian 'neta', you would only come across a crafty living being. He does not have a worthwhile degree but he thrives on conning his followers and people at large by making false promises. He does not have any skills but he has mastered the art of manipulating elections for himself and his party. He does not get a salary in most cases but is an expert in filling his coffers through mostly unfair means. Catch him red-handed but he can wriggle out by blaming everything on his rivals. In most cases, it will impossible to add any positive attributes especially linked to productivity in that sketch. Still, he has the last laugh as he keeps coming in and out of power till he lives. 

We believe and follow our leaders. The haggling for retirement age often comes from quarters of average performers, who want to fill their bucket till the last drop trickles. In most such cases such an attitude stems from our zest to stick to our comfort zones whether you are an employee or an employer. The will to take new challenges and explore new horizons safely rests in the cocoon we build around our respective lives in the name of security.  

Today governments everywhere in the country stay torn in choosing between increasing retirement age and retrenchment. When the Finance department raises alarm over the staggering salary bills and also the ever-increasing perks and pension, the idea of chopping off the deadwood through compulsory retirement starts looking good. But it is high time that we first figure out the usefulness of the so-called administrative system we have made. 

We just have supervisors in the bureaucratic services and no executors. Howsoever important the issue may be, the government file is created by clerks and section head clerks. Bureaucrats only sign and counter-sign these files. Similarly, an FIR is even now investigated by an inspector or sub-inspector of police. The rest of the paraphernalia including SPs, IGs and DGs just supervise. In my 38 years of journalism, I have yet not come across a senior official who has himself constructed a file or a senior IPS official has solved a case of crime.

Common sense would suggest the senior you become more is expected out of you. Can you expect a Virat Koli or Yuvraj Singh to sit back and leave the onus of performance on the younger players? You see an Amir Khan film even after so many years squarely for his performance. Linking jobs with performance and productivity can only keep you in business. While governments discuss retirement age of its employees, the country needs to decide the retirement age of its politicians. If they can work till they die, so can everybody else.



Friday, July 7, 2017

When should on RETIRE?

By Dilip Awasthi

When should one retire? Answering this question is almost like projecting an appropriate age to die. In fact, one line of thought is that a salaried person dies twice - once when he retires and the last time when he actually does. 


In this country of not only multi-cultures, races, languages, cuisines, we also have a fair sprinkling of a multiplicity of rules and regulations. In fact in many cases, we do have two sets of rules as well - one for the mighty and powerful and the other for the lesser children of God. Even after 70 years of Independence, we have not been able to thrash out weeds and worms ailing our systems.


But forget philosophy and emotions, let's stick to the brass tacks. New U.P.chief secretary Rajiv Kumar on July 6 ordered all departments to screen out officers and employees who have attained an age of 50 tears or more and who are "not fit" to perform their duties. Such screening should be complete by July 31 after which these employees will be "compulsorily" retired by giving them a three-month notice.


On the same day, the Vice-chancellors of the state university held a meeting to recommend raising the retirement age for teachers from 62 to 65 years. The retirement age for doctors has already been raised to65 years. In certain institutes of excellence like the Sanjay Gandhi PGI, the age for retirement of Professor of Eminence has been made 75 years.  Now the wait begins for some more ambitious government officials to grant themselves jobs till they die. The clause would read: "posted as ...... until death."


A confused government is unable to decide whether to back experience or new talent. And how do you decide whether a person - a professional or a clerk, is unfit to work unless he has been declared so by the doctors on health grounds? This would lead to pick and choose and personal likes and dislikes will come into play. 


Instead, why can't we have firm rule fixing the retirement age so that the productivity of the employee remains the main criteria. This has been quite successfully practised in the private sector by the companies and also by professionals who know when to hang their boots. Who told Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Narayan Moorthy (Infosys) or Rusi Modi and Cyrus Mistry (Tata) to resign.


But then either the system or the individual has to be goal-driven. Unfortunately, in government frequent political changes keep uprooting and shifting the goal-post every now and then. Productivity is possibly the last of the priorities in a government official's serving tenure. Who has ever fixed the productivity of an IAS, IPS official or for that matter that of a clerk or a peon?


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Are we headed for Press Censorship?

By Dilip Awasthi

 

Are we headed for yet another regime?of undeclared censorship? The question could be discomforting and frustrating too for the believers in freedom of expression. We have seen Indira Gandhi's dictatorial  Emergency and Mayawati's autocratic rule or even Mulayam Singh's  "halla bol" campaign wherein the media was humbled or even made redundant.

Both PM Modi and CM Yogi Adityanath in a big way owe their current towering status to the outright media support they received in their early days. Now that both feel comfortably placed as far as their respective public images are concerned, they have either started taking the media for granted or have become highly sensitive to any criticism coming their way. Both have started showing their fangs now. Either official might is being used against the media or iron curtains are being drawn to keep governmental working away from the journalists' prying eyes.

My sources in the bureaucracy reveal that senior officials have been clearly instructed to interact with media only sparingly. A "Black Hole" situation is being envisaged in the official corridors so that nothing escapes unless the government decides to share it. Officials have been told to hold their lips tight. Any of the policy decisions or instructions from the CM's office are strictly confidential and should not be shared even in bits and pieces with the media. Says a senior secretary" Nothing should leak to the media is what has been communicated." Efforts are being made by departmental heads to ensure that there is no 'adverse' publicity in the media whether it is the law and order front, power crises, farmer woes or civic issues.

To keep the media at bay, other subtle steps are also being taken. Even after six months of 2017, security passes of journalists, which allow them access to governmental corridors, have not been renewed. New accreditations are not being considered. There is a squeeze on government advertisements to make newspaper owners fall in line. Most media owners will willingly do that as they intend to use maximum space for earning revenue through advertisements or even paid news.

As it is a huge credibility question faces the media. The accountable factors include the lack of the will to deeply research issues, have the courage to bring them to the fore, remain objective and call a spade a spade, increasing commercialisation and also a moral commitment to the cause of journalism. If supposedly democratic majority governments decide to bell the institution of journalism, we could be headed for darker days. There is virtually no opposition
in the parliament or the Vidhan Sabha or even outside. If you try to choke the media,  you will have Medi Aarti and Yogi Chalisa playing all over 24 by seven.

But being the optimist that I am, I still hope that better senses will prevail.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Goodbye Tappu !

I pay my homage to Akhilesh Das, known as one of the shrewdest  politicians of recent times. Apartment from being the owner of BBD group and a real estate developer besides so many other things, Tappu as he was lovongly called by friends, was also my two years junior in Colvin Taluqedars College. I remember that we enacted in a play together for Sanchi house and won the first prize. There were occassions in my professional life that I had to write against him as a journalist but he never mixed it up with our personal relationship. He always treated me as his senior till the last. He never asked me for a favour which politicians expect with every fall of the hat. We spoke to each other during UP election campaign and decided to meet soon but that was not to be."Dilip bhai anything I can do?", was always his parting shot.  Only few would know that Tappu was an accomplished badminton player. Later he became plump like me and added a bouquet of ailments again like me because of the extra kilos. He died of a heart failure in Lucknow this morning. I have lost a sincere friend and I am feeling the void. May God rest his soul in peace. i feel like asking - Tappu can I do something for you? But I know I will get no response...
--

 

Dilip Awasthi

Ex.Editor, Uttar Pradesh

Dainik Jagran

Lucknow, INDIA

Mobile: +91 9839904455

               +91-9415022244

             

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Haunted house gets its new occupant

By Dilip Awasthi

Lucknow: Next doors to UP chief minister's official residence - 5 Kalidas Marg, referred to as 5 KD in official parlance is another sprawling ministerial bungalow. This house is cursed. At least that is widely believed and as a result, most ministers refuse to occupy this bungalow.  Thoe who do, pay the price.


On Ram Navami on April 5, a special puja was organised in 6 Kalidas Marg bungalow after which Yogi cabinet's animal husbandry minister SP Singh Baghel entered this haunted house to live here. If employees of this house are to be believed, Baghel is the eighth occupant of this house. According to the Estate Department officials, Baghel himself offered to occupy this house, knowing fully well about its notorious reputation.


A gardener who works here maintaining the impressive lawns of this house says that it is widely believed that whosoever occupies this house faces either political oblivion, career downslide or critical illness resulting in death. This house was occupied amongst others by Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, who is in the wilderness these days. Mayawati's right-hand minister at one time, Babu Singh Kushwaha lived in this house. He was later jailed in the NRHM scam and was also thrown out from BSP.


Akhilesh Yadav's minister Rajendra Chowdhry refused to move into this house but Javed Abdi did and fell from grace of the Samajwadi Party leaders. Another minister Waqar Ahmed Shah lived here but soon developed NS Qa moved to the hospital; in a state of comma. Some staff members claim that something about this house is not good. Ït is eerie if you stay here in the night", says one of them.


Situated in the posh VIP area and with the neighbourhood as influential as the state's CM, this house has remained vacant in most regimes. One of the ageing peons posted in this house feels it is haunted. "It could be a former minister who does not want to leave this house even after leaving this world", he says with a chuckle. But Yogi's minister Baghel wants to prove all this wrong.



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Ruling UP will be like Riding a Tiger


by Dilip Awasthi
Lucknow: A photo recently became viral in social media. Its an old photo which shows Yogi Adityanath feeding a tiger cub. The cub, by now would have become a full grown tiger like Yogi has grown in stature to become UP's chief minister.  But a fortnight has passed since he took over, Yogi and also BJP would be realising that ruling Uttar Pradesh after a gap of 14 years will be no less than riding a wild tiger.

The initial hysteria following BJP's historic success is calming down now as saffron clad Yogi settles on the driving seat. Detractors keep questioning BJP's choice of Yogi as the CM mainly because of his aggressive hardline approach.  Like all verbose politicians, Yogi in the past has shown least concern over the communal hatred his statements have caused. But apart from this nobody can question the integrity or character of this five-time MP from Gorakhpur. His lifestyle and conduct as the Mahant of the legendary Gorakshnath peeth has been exemplary. As a result, the fears and also the expectations are high.

Yogi has been given two deputy CMs - state BJP president Keshav Prasad Maurya and Lucknow Mayor Dinesh Sharma. Both these leaders are of spotless background and are known to be dedicated soldiers of the BJP. The team of ministers includes the old guard, senior leaders who joined the BJP from other parties and also youngsters. Having said that  Yogi and both his deputies lack the experience of even remotely administering a state as large and complex as Uttar Pradesh.

From Day 1 Yogi has taken a strong stand against the corrupt, inefficient and complacent. He has promised to inquire into the shady deals, job scandals and favouritism adopted by the Akhilesh regime. But apart from the CM's statements, nothing has been done on the ground so far. Ironically the CM went into his first cabinet meeting on April 4 without any change in the bureaucratic setup of Akhilesh Yadav's Raj. The result is that most of the senior officials including the chief secretary, home secretary, DG police are wiling time as they await marching orders. The administration has been virtually on a standstill.

Yogi's first two starters - licenses to butcheries and taming of street Romeos have had strong counter-reactions. The first led to a state-wide strike by raw meat sellers that led to end of business for restaurants and eateries dealing in non-vegetarian food. The decision was considered as the first pin-prick for Muslims as the meat business is mostly controlled by their community. Though Yogi's intention to put a noose around unauthorised meat business carried out in appalling unhygienic conditions was justified but like demonetisation it could have been implemented much more smoothly. 

Similarly, the anti-Romeo campaign was misdirected by the police to harass love-birds who were found sitting in parks, restaurants, cinema halls and malls. The operation was supposed to target street Romeos who were hounding girls in public places or schools and colleges. Instead, it turned into public lashing of youngsters by police all across the state. Policemen fleeced these love-birds of whatever they could pay off. Finally, Yogi had to clarify the purpose of this drive and issue warnings to erring policemen.

But these two decisions only show a glimpse of how things could go out of hand because of haste and inexperience. Thankfully Yogi has not made any statements so far which would create a gulf in the minds of Hindus or Muslims. In fact, it is the other way round. In his first public appearance in Lucknow in a Yoga program, Yogi said that there is several similarities between Surya Namaskar and Namaz prayers. "I don't know why people divide Hindus and Muslims?" he asked. 

Yogi and BJP both must be realising that ruling UP will need some doing than merely statements.  To make the party's presence felt in the state, Yogi will have to go that extra mile and learn from the mistakes of the past regimes. He will have hardly any room to commit his own.  The Modi-Amit Shah formula for UP will face the first test in 2019, which is not as far as it seems.