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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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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Is Parvez Dewan most stylish babu in corridors? And who was the secretary finding a place at a billboard in Mumbai?

IF YOU thought this man in the photo is a star or a model, you are grossly mistaken. No prize for guessing, but tourism secretary Parvez Dewan who is turning 60 this October is one of the few stylish bureaucrats that corridors have today. It was November 2009, BoI had carried the photo of skin-headed bureaucrat of 1975 batch Ashok Sinha, calling him the most…
stylish secretary-level bureaucrat then. Sinha, the then food processing industries secretary, looked stylish thanks to his shaved head and French cut beard. Is Dewan the most stylish among the current lot?
Those who track Delhi’s power lanes closely will tell you that Dewan is not the only babu following the style of corporate honchos. Industry secretary Amitabh Kant, for example, is more a CEO than a bureaucrat in every sense of the term. You won’t find heaps of files with red tapes on his table. Not just that, Kant like a CEO in a corner room, decides the colours of his sofa set, and the kind of wall hangings, paintings and sculptures dotting his cabin.
Among the earlier batches, former finance secretary Ashok Jha and ex-industry secretary Ajay Dua were the two bureaucrats known for their style statements. And years after their retirement, they are still regularly spotted in Delhi’s golf circuit.
By the way, many in the corridors may find principal secretary to PM Pulok Chatterji a confirmed workaholic and introvert to the core, but don’t underestimate him on style. After all, some of his colleagues have spotted him smoking pipes!
And, was there any occasion when a serving bureaucrat found a place in an outdoor advertisement? Yes. After the Union Budget was presented four years ago, 1973 batch IAS and the then finance secretary Ashok Chawla figured in an advertisement of a post-Budget debate making a precedence of a senior bureaucrat finding a place in large billboards in many busy roads of Delhi and Mumbai. As BoI had reported then, Einstein look alike Chawla’s image was a perfect fit to the outdoor advertisement for the event held in Mumbai.
And here is one more style statement of a bureaucrat. Former urban development secretary M Ramachandran who invariably wore formal suits, was once spotted wearing a smart casual red and black half shirt! The reason? The bearded babu was to present the Man-of-the-Match award in an IPL match held in Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.

13 comments:

  1. today you had nothing better to say? Style statement of Bureaucrats? Are these fellows entering Government service to walk the ramp and take part in a fashion parade? This is the crux of problem. More and more shallow officers with nothing to offer on work front compensate by showing off style. Even the ladies will not swoon at men who concentrate on appearance but no brains. I would like to advise such officers to flaunt good work and actually start taking decisions. The people of India are paying them to work and perform bald head or not. Who cares.

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  2. We would have preferred, had you praised the good work being done on the ground by some DM in some dusty district of this poor nation.

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  3. Only style cannot make a lot of good things . Definitely it should be covered with good qualities hence can make difference.

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  4. It is interesting to read a thing or two about the style quotient of our Babus. An attractive physical appearance enhances personality. It is an added advantage.

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  5. No Sir, we never thought the man was a star or a model and we don’t want your prize for such silly guess games. Since when having a skin-head is considered as stylish or a shaved head and French cut beard a fashion statement. The situation has indeed become pathetic. Babu’s trying to ape the style of corporate honchos. Wanting to sit like a CEO in a corner room, all this fuss to take such decisions of epic proportions like deciding the colours of his sofa set, and the kind of wall hangings, paintings and sculptures dotting his cabin. Then another style statement is tired, retired Babus happily playing golf. Don’t you know smoking is banned in Government offices. Therefore if a Babu is seen smoking a pipe I do not understand what style statement it is. I hope young Babus do not emulate his example. The most touching part is when you mention another bearded babu presenting the Man-of-the-Match award in an IPL match at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla stadium wearing a casual red and black half shirt!. I wish you had also exerted a little bit more and gone through the V.K Shunglu Report on Commonwealth Games (MMS has kept the report under lock & key. Will Namo dare to open it?) in which this cute bearded babu was found guilty of selling off interest of Government to favour a private builder. There has to be some limit to sycophancy.

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  6. Being stylish does not indicate performance. A stylish bureaucrat could be a high performer, or may turn out to be an average. Similarly, a non-stylish bureaucrat could be a low performer. The author has pin-pointed a few stylish babus, we did not know much earlier. Enjoyed the offbeat piece.

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  7. The most stylish Babu in Indian Postal Service happens to be Alok Saxena. He is seen most of the time wearing a canary yellow tie with a blackish blue shirt. Seeing him many other officers have started wearing colorful ties in pink and traffic green. The several Meetings in Dak Bhawan, which is the headquarters of Department of Posts at New Delhi, have become very colorful and gay.

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  8. Names dropping of so many Babus with zero achievements on the pretext of Style is a good idea.

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  9. Comments suggest hardly anyone is interested in style quotient of babus...

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  10. Tax payers footing the bill for their stylish office rooms? Great achievement!!

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  11. Such comments only show how obsessed the website is with the bureaucrats, particularly the IAS. In todays day and age, such news of even filmstars does not attract readership, then what to talk of bureaucrats. These news only intend to flatter those in the power.

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  12. It is unfair to talk down Big Babus embracing style and dress-sense. It is a delight to walk into a stylish office managed by an appropriately attired Babu. The first impression does matter. As for the performance at work that does depend on how serious they are about promoting efficiency in their work places. Having not lived in India for over 50 years I am not the right person to criticise bureaucrats but I have met a few on my short visits. One in particular who comes to mind is Mr. Parvez Dewan. Mr. Dewan is intelligent. transparent, efficient, caring, forward thinking, hospitable, warm, helpful, prejudice-free, very easy to get on with and a fountain of knowledge. He also has good dress- sense. And if you think I am piling far too many acolades, please make a point of meeting him. He is exactly how I have described him. "Very special".

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