Monday, August 11, 2008

All in a Day’s Work

Today I will tell you a story. If you a purist, you will call it an incident. If you are naïve (or unconcerned) , you will pass it as a story.

Once upon a time there was a boy. Err…….. When the story occurred he was a man; educated, employed and married.

His job was a coveted one. He worked in the king’s administration, or he was the Regal Administrative servant. But then the King posted him in a far off land. To go there one had to pass seven deadly seas and people there spoke a different language. So for acquainting him to all this he was put on lengthy district training.

The good part of this training was that he was not given any responsibility; the bad part of this training was that he was not given any post. In other words he sometimes felt he was treated as a boy, and many time he felt he has already become a man.

Everyday he was sent to a different regal department. He being the King’s representative was treated with awe and honor; and all departments strived to impress upon him.

One such department was King’s Cart department. All carts paid taxes to the king. There was tax on cartload; there was tax on number of passengers. Above all, there was a tax on Cart driving license, a license that was difficult to get.

He learnt everything big or small and saw all procedures, trivial or urgent. But the he wanted to see a raid that was conducted to discipline erring carts. So a special raid was conducted to show to our young Regal Agent. Every inspector tried to be impeccably honest. They caught all the erring carts; they punished all offences big and small. A cart was fined here for a slight overload; a cart was fined there for a trivial traffic error. Our new Regal agent felt a tinge of guilt.

And this was not all. The traffic inspectors caught a frail old man with a wrong cart driving license. He was refusing to pay the fine. On any other day they would have left him with a small bribe but today they were demanding the hefty fine. They brought him to our Regal agent.

He was asked to act as a judge and punish this erring man. The man caught our protagonist’s feet and cried for mercy. He told him tales of his poverty, he told him tales of his professional woes. He also told him of his inability to pay the fine and he described in detail what shall happen to his family if he was jailed. He fell in a deep moral turpitude. He asked this man to wait.

Should he put duty before self and punished this man. Or he should pardon him listening to his heart. He pondered and thought; and thought and pondered. In the evening, he told the inspectors “Do to this man what you think is right” and left the raid.

From far off he saw the inspectors accepting some folded old currency notes.

PS: This is a 'story'. It might be 'distantly' related to some incident but most of the things are fiction here. Please treat it like that.


Satish T J said...

Sometimes regal agent has to keep his eyes closed .
Knowingly keeping the eyes closed is sometimes solution to lot of problems ..

People do this for supporting piracy . Despite huge cry over piracy ..big business houses support piracy internally ... coz its godd for business ..

sumit said...

Well the regal agent has understood what it is to b a regal agent and how to go about it and itz not bcoz of the district trng i guess :-)

Saagar said...

For one, the regal agent could have pardoned the old man himself as a first offense, and not rid him of few old currency notes to the Inspectors..

sanjeev said...

Anurag, I remember somewhere you have in your earlier blog...said...You are at times confused...This was it?

But, I would say...You could have acted if you were allowed to...Obviously..The story of the cart and the regal agent didn't come to a conclusive end!!!!!

Hari said...

Hi Anurag,

Another touching narration .

In the days ahead perhaps the regal agent should be prepared to face more such moral dilemmas i.e should the agent go by the spirit or letter of statutes. Also how the agents at lower level use the rules for personal gains, how the ministers of king exert pressure on regal agent to work according to their whims and fancies. :)

I am also reminded of u r famous statement u have given at why u blog – Life keeps on amazing me . It keeps on disappointing me. Perhaps that holds good here.

Keep blogging Anurag. :)

Anurag Srivastava said...

I think I must mention here that I at times I 'try' to write 'stories'. They might be influenced by some incident but they have a good amount of fiction.

@satish: I read a quote somewhere " a wise man is one who knows what to ignore"

@sumit: its really difficult to be a regal agent :-)

@saagar: Yes he could have, but I personally feel law is law. If the person at the top also starts sending the message that it is flexible, people at the lower down can completely shake it.

@sanjeev: I am confused many times; and read my comment's first line, this is a story :)

@hari: Very true, life keeps on amazing me, it still does. I still feel as if i am sitting on the bank of a river and seeing the water passing by :)

Onyeka Nwelue said...

Nice story and how did that come to you? It reads awesome and fantastic. Hope to read more from you.

Prabha said...

you should have let the old man go anurag.

Simple logic : "Its ok if you cant do good to others, but just try not to do bad"

Vikash Shahwal said...

Dude!! u must have disclaimer at the top of the post ....
A great story (as i m naive enough to call it an incident :P)....
As u said " a wise man is the one who knows what to ignore ". I think our wise man should have ignored the err of frail old man instead of INSPECTOR SAAB.....what say?Was it too tough to to let it go in front of a subordinate for the Regal administrator ?

Anurag Srivastava said...

@onkeya: thanks a lot for the appreciation :)

@prabha: which old man?

I never claim my 'stories' are truth :)

@Vikash: Though not for this story, but I do have a disclaimer for all my posts which states the same thing. Anyways i have added a one to this too.

Anyways for me wise man did the right thing. In his first term if one gives the impression that laws are flexible and if he also bends them, subordinates shall be more than keen to do it.

Ashish said...

Hi Anurag

Appears a 'real' narrative of a 'possible' incident...anyways thats not important.
Quite a tough situation to handle impromptu...but the 'regal agent' did well by not disproportionately penalizing the poor soul and also not seen compromising on rules and laws in a direct manner.

I think its the travesty of justice that 'small fishes' are primarily the focus of each reform or bureaucratic activism while the 'BIG FISHES' make merry...hope the 'regal agent' heeds to the prayers ;)


vikram singh said...

Passing the judgment isn't easy thing......even for an top notch agent...I recalled a story..."Pariksha", i read in primary school.

darius said...

hmmm. i suppose its something in the very nature of this regal service. there are rules. and then there rules. what is this young man's job here really?

Anurag Srivastava said...

@darius: The young man is still trying to know what is his job :)

Bu the way, welcome back Darius :P

Sumit Nathany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sumit Nathany said...

Hi Anurag! From your "story" and your replies to comments it seems like instead of facing the situation and taking the decision you preferred to stay out of it and ignore it. Laws are meant for people, people are not meant for laws. Sure enough, you would be bending the law by leaving the poor old man but laws and policies have already been bent. He haven't been poor if policies would have been implemented correctly. To straighten a bent law, you have to bend some law....and you are doing it for the right purpose. This way you would be sending right signals to your subordinates to atleast have a heart on poors.
....Waiting for your reply.

Anurag Srivastava said...

@sumit: Once again I repeat its a "story". In case you are interested to know the "real" thing, replace old man by a young boy and a missing document by a deliberately forged driving license. Add on to it a ploy to fake it as original! Now I thing you will not suggest what 'I' should have done.

And now lets talk about the protagonist of the story. A law is a law, at least in my belief those at the lower rungs must have that impression. Also if you are new and on 'training', its better to watch and wait till the time you get a real feel of situation.

Come to real India and try to enforce a fine. You will hear tales of woe from anybody and everybody. So as long as you feel that you still do not know, let your subordinates who have been there take the decision rather than 'bending' the law at any story that make be real or fake.

Sarvesh Kumar said...

Anurag sir,I think the regal agent should have fined the old man but the amount of fine could be reduced and affordable by the man(may be less than bribe amount).This way he shows his concerns for the poor as well as the law.What do u think about this?

dilaawez said...

Hi Anuraag,
I want to write a lot of things about you but this phrase will ssums up all the things which i wanted to write here in thiss BLOG
If this is related to you than you are a genius.


it may seems awkward to you (HA HA HA)
but you are a genius coz regal agent(may be you)want to help the poor man but cannot let him go unpunished as he had committed a crime by breaking the law of the land so he just let the policeman do what they could to their best and regal agent was also aware of the situation.