JournalismPakistan.com November 28, 2013
I love the bureaucracy.
However, would I have let my daughters marry one? Now, that’s a loaded question.
Every time I go home to India I collect red tape like kids collect shells on a beach.
An official has sent my sister a letter. She gets a pension and every six months we have to send her life certificate duly signed by the local bank manager and a gazette officer, whatever that is, so that the bank in India will credit her pension to her account. We let it slip on the last six month segment but have dispatched one now. The official thanks us for the latest confirmation but says "the records are incomplete without the previous document”.
Any suggestions that it is reasonable to assume that if she is alive now she is most likely to have been alive six months ago is falling on deaf ears.
The records are not up to date and the hallowed rules have not been paid due courtesy so unless we send a stamped and processed letter for the earlier period, the pension will be held in abeyance.
An amusing anecdote about bureaucracy at its best occurred recently in Delhi when a grateful passenger on the way to his father’s funeral was helped by the railway authorities to get his reservation confirmed and was shown extreme courtesy.
In his gratitude he asked for the station master’s comment ledger and was told that no book existed for recording compliments. The other book available was the complaint book. The earnest traveler proceeded to mark out a page in this thick ledger and state that he was not complaining. He then emphatically wrote down appreciation for the railway staff who had come to his rescue.
Three weeks later he received this officially printed letter from the railway headquarters:-
We regret that you were put to inconvenience during your journey. Your complaint number 32/NR WEF AF has been acknowledged and due action has been ordered by the Regional Manager’s office. We will notify you of the final action taken.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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