government servant, (not that they always behavelike one;
rather they often acquire the habit of being served) has been
defined as a three-naught-three rifle with an out-of-order
trigger pin because the gun won't work and you can't fire
past fortnight, however, the nation has witnessed just the
reverse. A hitherto unknown cohort of big guns was actually
overworking and the government did fire at least one, charged
among others with driving erratically on the information highway.
being invented, most probably by the British, few have understood
why civil servants have to exist, and yet they do. Read the
following story and I will be back after a short break: A
civil servant sits in his office and out of sheer boredom,
decides to see what is in his old filing cabinet.
through the contents and comes across an old brass lamp. "This
would look nice in my living room," he thinks, so he
takes it home with him. While polishing the lamp, a genie
appears as usual and grants him three wishes as usual.
wish for my wife to become the principal of the biggest college
in town right now!" POOF!
rings and his elated wife informed him that she had just received
the letter of appointment. Now that his wife was in cloud
nine, he could be a little selfish, so he states his second
wish to the yawning genie; he has seen it all. "I wish
to be on an island with three subordinate women staff of the
ministry whom I have desired for long." POOF!
he is on a busy traffic island with the three females. The
cars start honking, a sergeant is making his way towards them,
the civil servant makes red eyes at the genie, and the genie
says, 'Thukku! No practice for long time, sir!' POOF!
though he is on a remote island, palm trees, white sands,
lazy waves and all the three lady friends intact. He then,
half-closing his eyes, tells the genie his third and last
wish: "I wish I'd never ever have to work again."
in his government office. Welcome back after the break. Thanks
for being with us.
denied of having instituted an investigation proper, the very
fact that the Prime Minister's heavily promoted secretary
sent letters to at least five ministries in reference to an
anonymous complaint letter is de facto admittance that an
investigation had begun, albeit arbitrarily.
secretary Nurul Islam was appointed private secretary to the
PM immediately after the BNP-led alliance government took
office, was promoted to the posts of joint secretary and additional
secretary in a year before being made acting secretary to
the PM. (DS, 4 June) Obviously these were rewards for his
AL government introduced a provision making it mandatory for
officials to inform the prime minister before initiating any
investigation on the basis of anonymous letter. But Islam
did not inform either the prime minister or other high-ups
at the PMO and unilaterally ordered a probe into the allegations.
(DS, 4 June)
perhaps not have mattered had he been just another civil servant.
But then just 'any civil servant' would not have dared to
send letters to five relevant authorities -- the ERD, finance
ministry, LGED, industries ministry and power division to
check the authenticity of the sender and the project. (DS,
7 June) Nor would he have been short-sighted not to have seen
the last name in the list. It mattered because the civil servant
in question was one of the most trusted officers of the PMO;
that is why it was so humiliating for the government and hurt
BNP the most.
the check what Nurul Islam, or for that matter two other officials
also involved in the action, missed is that at the very bottom
of the letter, (PM's son) Tarique Rahman's name was mentioned
as a party to the graft. (DS, 7 June) According to the Daily
Star, "It was a long letter and Tarique's name was mentioned
only once at the bottom and so it missed the attention of
all who dealt with the file," a source said. That's a
mighty sloppy job by highly privileged civil servants who
pride themselves to be the cream of the society.
and divisions replied that the sender of the letter does not
exist as WASA does not have any engineer by that name. Moreover,
the project was still under discussion and so allegations
of corruption do not arise. (DS, 7 June) If this is not an
investigation, what is?
about the 'lost discs' having digitised summary of all decisions
taken since 2001 (DS, 7 June) is naïve, not unexpected
these days of the civil service. People now know more why
they are in the mess that they are.
(DS, 5 June) that the Bureau of Anti Corruption team seized
twelve CDs from Islam's desk and that they were deposited
with the new secretary of the PMO is at best laughable. If
there is one CD there can be more copies, so seizing one set
does not seal the leak, if any; and the government or for
that matter those who have a reason to believe that there
was some foul play have nothing to cheer about.
not a question of whether the name of the PM's son was in
the corruption complaint. It was a matter of being a thoroughbred
public servant, of loyalty of a servant to his master, of
following set down rules. A civil servant deserves to be in
the dock if he has failed in any of the three. Failure in
all three is why a fast-track servant, promoted twice in a
year, was shown the door.
was not alone. He is now. The Daily Star reported that the
BAC chaps went to his house the night he lost his job and
saw him at a meeting (what a bad word) with some top officials
and former bureaucrats, including Planning Commission Member
Fazlur Rahman and former education secretary Shahidul Alam.
since under virtual house arrest. They are not. They have
their job, he does not. They can save their jobs, not his.
That is because while in office very few bureaucrats realise
that when a bureaucrat's job is axed, neither the public nor
his colleagues, neither his 'friends nor his well wishers'
can remember who he was, what he did or why he was even there
in the first place. A new bureaucrat, perhaps more powerful,