Article By Saikat Banerjee
Indian bureaucracy is one of the most corrupt and lecherous existing bureaucracy in Asia, as revealed by a recent report by a prestigious firm based in Singapore. According to this report, Indian “babus” or bureaucracy received 9.21 rating out of 10 which is even worse than countries like Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and China.
Singapore remained the best with a rating of 2.25, followed by Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia.
It should not be forgotten that the present Indian bureaucracy is a legacy of the British, apart from the gift of Partition which was given to the Indian people as a parting gift. In Indian bureaucratic system the word ‘Babu’ has a very important relevance. It is a very common practice to address any official as ‘Babuji’.
One will find a very interesting fact if one looks into the etymological meaning of the word ‘Babu’ in the context of Indian Bureaucracy.
The word ‘Babu’ used in the contemporary Indian bureaucratic system comes from the word ‘Baboon’ meaning a kind of monkey, which was used by the British for the Indian officials working under the British regime in India.
Their sole motive of using this word ‘Baboon’ was to ridicule the Indian officials and show them their ineffectiveness in carrying out their respective duties.
Well apart from the phrase ‘Babu’, it appears that nowadays the word ‘Sir’ has become common to denote a person who can be of any help.
Denoting a person with the tag ‘Sir’ has become a kind of status symbol. In short be it ‘Babu’ or ‘Sir’ the fact of the matter remains that Indian bureaucracy has turned out to be one of the most insensitive group of officials of the world and in spite of the feeble attempts made by the Indian government to curb these officials, Indian bureaucracy remains unchanged. To put it another way it appears that they are not inefficient but are very efficient in the sense that it is always the politicians who are blamed and the Indian bureaucrats remain Mr. Clean.
Author: Saikat Banerjee is a Research Scholar, M.Phil at Central University of Haryana.