Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Kolaveri of dejected Indian bureaucrats: Why This Pulokaveri Pulokaveri Sir?

Pulok Chatterji
THE year 2011 is a story of Soup Indian Bureaucrats who are frustrated to say: Why did you do this to me? Soup is a Tamil word used for guys who fail in love. But for babus in corridors, it’s not about love but of continuous onslaught from all quarters: judiciary, media, civil society, investigators, protestors and Generation F (read Facebook). The bureaucrats, who have over the years successfully managed and even manipulated the system, are visibly on a back-foot. For the lazy ones, it has been a blessing in disguise as there is virtually no pressure on them to perform. But for the restless adventurous lot, it has been a frustrating year as the entire system has broken down, and the brighter ones too have succumbed to the safe formula of “no decision is good decision”.
Can Pulok Chatterji, principal secretary to PM and one of India’s most powerful bureaucrats, give a helping hand? The bureaucrats seem to sing alike: Why This Pulokaveri Pulokaveri Sir?
Only recently, a Tamil song Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Di, meaning Why did you do this to me, got viral in the net and attracted over 24 million viewers in the You Tube within a month. Singer Dhanush, who incidentally is superstar Rajinikanth’s son-in-law, begins the song with words Soup song, Flop song…
Here are 7 things that are threatening to convert the great story of Indian bureaucracy a Soup song, Flop song.
1. Tihar Jail
Never before top Indian bureaucrats saw their colleagues heading towards Tihar jail for signing documents asked by ministers. Insiders who smelled wrong-doings while distributing 2G licenses, are convinced that Siddhartha Behura, a 1973 batch IAS, might not have a party to the entire conspiracy as he signed the documents barely 10 days after joining as telecom secretary. Behura has been languishing in jail along with his political master A Raja, India’s former telecom minister, from February 2 2011.
2. Wrong Companion
All bureaucrats who were directly or indirectly indicted for the wrongs in Commonwealth Games 2010 somehow escaped with very mild punishments like transfer to the parent cadre. But the developments post-Games sent scary signals to bureaucrats at large. The morale of the story is: A wrong company of political masters may lead you straight to the jail.
3. RTI
The bureaucrats knew it from Day one that Right to Information Act (RTI) would force them to be ultra-cautious in writing each word and taking every decision. But the way it has unfolded now, the bureaucrats are forced to raise more questions on the file so as to play safe in the event of the file-noting getting leaked through an official RTI.
Managing investigators is now a taboo. After all, CBI is often monitored by judiciary and I-T sleuths at times turn adventurous and target high and mighty among IAS.
5. Hunting The Retired
If the CBI raid on former telecom secretary Shyamal Ghosh is any indication, a bureaucrat may be hauled up for his decision even after a decade of retirement. In case of Ghosh, a 1965 batch retired IAS, CBI sleuths landed up at his residence nine years after retirement.
6. No Thanks to Plump Posts
The bureaucrats who till a few months ago wanted “plump posts” in economy ministries like finance, roadways, tourism, commerce and industry, are now shying away from grabbing those. What they want now are "safe" jobs in social sector ministries. On a bad pitch, saving the wicket is more critical than hitting fours and sixes.
7 Awarding contracts
A bureaucrat awarding a contract now must gather intelligence on a number of aspects which he could have conveniently ignored earlier. Is the company a front of a bigger entity? Has your minister entered into a conspiracy with one of the bidders? Will the company getting the award be merged on a future date with another company where your relative works? The bureaucrats now need to be visionary and at times even muster astrology to understand “presumptive losses” that would possibly be calculated 5 to 10 years from now!
The bureaucrats have found their Future Dark’ku… Here is what an Indian bureaucrat seems to say:
Hello Pulok Sirji… I am Singing Song…
Soup Song… Flop Song…

Why This Pulokaveri Pulokaveri Pulokaveri Sir?
Why This Pulokaveri Pulokaveri Pulokaveri Sir?
Rhythm Correct…
Why This Pulokaveri Pulokaveri Pulokaveri Sir?
Maintain This…
Why This Pulokaveri? Sir..

Anna’la Anna’nu Anna’nu
Anna’nu RTI’ru RTI’tu
Tihartu Background Night’tu Night’tu
Night'tu Tihar’ru Tihar’ku
Why This Pulokaveri Pulokaveri Pulokaveri Sir?
Why This Pulokaveri Pulokaveri Pulokaveri Sir?

CBI’tu CVC’nu CBI’lu CVC’lu
CBI’lu Heart’tu Black’ku
File’su File’su Meet’tu Meet’tu
My Future Dark’ku…
Why This Pulokaveri Pulokaveri Pulokaveri Sir?
Why This Pulokaveri Pulokaveri Pulokaveri Sir?


  1. Good One. I have just tried to sing your Pulokaveri keeping the Kolaveri music on in my laptop. One a serious note, 7 problems faced by bureaucrats are well said. There is a policy paralysis. But how do you expect the civil servants to be adventurous?

  2. Pulokaveri Di is no less interesting than Kolaveri Di. Pulok Chatterji and his fellow bureaucrats too have "viral", but it is policy viral, not net viral