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Prime Minister Narendra Modi with 2018 batch officer trainees of Indian Foreign Service (IFS) on May 20, 2019 in New Delhi

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Monday, June 22, 2009

My Take: Babu is a short and sweet word; branding just begins

FROM the day 1 of my writing this blog on Indian bureaucrats less than two months ago, I have been bombarded with the same question from a number of very senior government officials --- “how can you call babu a positive word?” Why not call your blog civil servants of India rather than resorting to a word which has been repeatedly abused by media over many years now. I have replied to some of my officer friends at an individual level, but I feel, I must put my thoughts in public as the number of my returning visitors have increased manifold during the last one month. Let’s get more feedback on the subject from officers across the country as my blog is now regularly visited not just by those in power centers of Delhi, but by state civil servants too. Here goes my humble argument… Let’s begin by asking a very straight question --- what does the word Tata mean? No answer? But the name does matter! For India’s one of the largest and respected business conglomerates, the term “Tata” is very very significant word as the company’s brand value which is pure intangible in nature, runs into several hundred crores of rupees if not more. No one now tries to find out the meaning of the word Tata or for that matter many such words representing big companies or causes, as they have succeeded in creating right brand value. Branding babu may not be my primary task, but I have always made an attempt to project Indian bureaucrats as they are. For me, babu is a short and sweet word which instantly conveys who I would like to mean. The rest of the branding will depend on my sustained attempt to tell stories on bureaucrats --- which are true, accurate, trend spotting and ahead of time. No wonder, babu is the name or nickname of lakhs of Indian kids. At times, babu becomes even sweeter when someone is called babua… As I am determined to follow the white ambassadors in power corridors, you as a civil servant make a serious attempt to change the way aam aadmi perceive you. I will start calling only the successful civil servants as babus. After all, babus of India is all about successes and little failure. Let’s continue the debate… BoI announcement
As babu blogger landed up in Amsterdam on Sunday morning, and would be in Europe for five days, he would begin a debate on how European civil servants command much more respect from common people than their Indian counterparts. Happy reading about Indian bureaucrats…

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