To become an IAS officer, one has to crack Civil Services Exam–one of toughest entrance exams in the world with extremely low passing rate–with a good rank. But, in the last few years, it has been witnessed that a few IAS officers are quitting the post to become activists or politicians. However, the most important thing is that most of them are either joining the Congress party or doing activism against the policies of the Modi government.
The best examples are Kannan Gopinathan, an AGMUT-cadre officer, and Sasikanth Senthil, a Karnataka-cadre officer, who resigned over the abrogation of article 370. The Modi government’s decision to abrogate article 370 was highly appreciated by the people across the country and even the opposition parties were forced to support the move. But, the IAS officers, who were trained at the prestigious Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) seem to disagree with the popular mood of the nation.
Sashikanth Senthil, an IAS officer who resigned in 2019 and since then was involved in many anti-government activities, has announced on Twitter that he has joined Tamil Nadu Congress. “I would like to inform all that I have decided to join the Congress party in my effort to continue the fight. I have been an activist trying to be a voice for the less privileged all through my life, wherever I was and would continue the same until my last breath,” he tweeted along with a letter attachment.
I would like to inform all that I have decided to join the Congress party in my effort to continue the fight. I have been an activist trying to be a voice for the less privileged all through my life, wherever I was and would continue the same until my last breath. pic.twitter.com/na3fMn4ueM
— sashikanth senthil (@s_kanth) November 8, 2020
Most of the IAS officers agree with any leftist cause and gel well with the left of centre governments, but, whenever a right of the centre party comes to power, they try to create havoc in the administration. So, the fundamental question arises here is what is the reason behind most of the IAS officers subscribing to leftist ideology while they are expected to be politically neutral and implement the will of the ruling political dispensation.
The answer lies in the kind of books, articles, blogs they read to get into IAS, and after getting into the prestigious service, the kind of training they receive. The Hindu, the newspaper which Subramanian Swamy calls a “Naxal tabloid” and whose editorial and management includes the card-carrying Communist Party members like N Ram, is essential reading for the IAS aspirants.
“ …youths who live in and around the IAS-coaching class ghetto of Mukherjee Nagar in North Delhi, in tiny, shared rooms amid stacks of books, guides, rigorous swotting timetables, old exam papers, and crumpled pages from The Hindu,” wrote Outlook magazine in an article published back in 2007.
The newspaper has carved out a niche for itself among the IAS aspirants and its circulation is highest in the cities that house a large number of IAS aspirants like Delhi, Allahabad, Patna, Pune etc.
The ideology of The Hindu and its sister publication, Frontline, is well known. One can gauge the radical leftist propaganda The Hindu spreads with the fact that Siddharth Vardrajan, the founder of The Wire- a portal that agenda, propaganda, and fake news against the Modi government- was chief editor of The Hindu before he was thrown out of the publication for ‘editorializing the news reports’.
According to Sevanthi Ninan, a media critic, Vardrajan was removed with the allegation of ‘editorializing’ the news while the fact is that the same was happening even when N Ram was the editor. “When Ram was chief editor, The Hindu did its share of shutting out of some kinds of news. In its coverage of events in Tibet in February and March 2009, for example. And again in the case of the violence in Nandigram in West Bengal in 2007,” says Ninan.
Apart from The Hindu, the reading material includes books from Marxist historians such as Romila Thapar, Bipin Chandra, Satish Chandra, Irfan Habib and others from JNU’s social sciences department.
When an already ‘brainwashed’ student enters in LBSNAA after cracking the civil services exam, s/he is further indoctrinated into Nehruvian socialist at the institute. Till the Modi government came to power, the list of teachers, professors, and practitioners who trained the Civil Servants were the people sympathetic to the ideology of the Congress party. Even today, a large number of trainers subscribe to Nehruvian socialist ideology.
However, the Modi government is slowly reforming the training at LBSNAA. “Over the last few years, there has been a concerted attempt to re-orient training to ensure that it becomes more futuristic, in sync with transformations in policy-making and experience, rather than theory-based,” said a senior official in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).
“It is something that the Prime Minister has been personally invested in — to ensure that the country’s civil services shed the image of being status-quoits.”
The Modi government’s idea is to train the IAS officers in practical aspects of administration, rather than in theory and ideological aspects. They are being trained to become problem solvers rather than ideological demagogues. “The government did not want officers to simply be consuming theoretical knowledge before they are sent to their cadres,” said an IAS officer.
The brainwashed IAS officers like Senthil, who are so much attached to a certain ideology that they cannot work under a different political dispensation, are a burden to the bureaucracy and the government. Therefore, reforming the training and entry-level preparation of the officers is essential for their efficient functioning.