Monday, May 09, 2016

IAS Jagdish Sonkar apologizes to civil servant fraternity, others for his “unintentional” act; Full text of his apology

Jagdish Sonkar (photo courtesy: Twitter)
BY NOW, you must have seen this photo in social media sites. The photo of 2013 batch Chhattisgarh cadre IAS Jagdish Sonkar while speaking to a patient in a government hospital and resting one foot on the bedrail, went viral last week, forcing the IAS Association terming the act as “shocking and unacceptable” and state chief minister Raman Singh instructing the general administration department of the state to train new officers in social behaviour and public dealing. Sonkar, who is an MBBS-turned IAS, on his part called his act as unjustifiable adding that it was “unintentional and thoroughly avoidable”. Here is the full text of his apology letter, as posted in a social media site:

"Dear all, 
This post is to tender an open, unconditional apology in response to the picture of mine that is being circulated in social media and newspapers. No amount of words can justify the said act, although it was unintentional and thoroughly avoidable. I understand the harm the act has inflicted on the image of civil service fraternity. I apologize to each one of them. I also thank people who stood by me, from among media, fraternity, friends and family, during this times of tough scrutiny. I thank those who have reserved their opinions and judgements, and have not concluded on me, based upon the picture alone. I reassure each one of you that I would stick to the core values of civil services— Honesty, Integrity, Objectivity, Impartiality and Civility, Modesty, Humility, Chivalry, and strive my level best to be a better civil servant and a better human being. Apologies to those hurt by the act and Gratitudes to those who stood by me. 
As I am infrequent in social media, the response is delayed. 
Jagdish Sonkar"
In fact, the saga began last week when Sonkar, 35, inspected a government nutrition rehabilitation centre in the state, and while interacting with a mother of a malnourished child, he casually put his left foot up on the bed rail. And someone present there clicked the photo and posted it on a social media site. The photograph went viral leading many social media users to react angrily. Sonkar, now a sub-divisional magistrate-ranked officer, originally hails from Uttar Pradesh. 
Later, one of his fellow IAS officers posted a few photos of Sonkar while treating patients including tribal kids, but the damage-control exercise was too little, too late.
This chapter gets closed for now, but there is a takeaway for every bureaucrat: Social behavior is as or more important than your merits, and you must keep in mind that in today’s tech-age every person around you is actually a mobile-phone photographer. And yes, social media with millions of followers in it is less than 30 seconds away.


  1. The apology was long overdue. Hope it is sincere and not just prompted by admonition from his seniors including the CM. High time the IAS ceases to act like a successor to the ICS of British Raj days and genuinely serves the aam public.

  2. The training at LBSNAA, Mussoorie should change. The young recruits are trained to feel as if they are gods, all other civil services as subordinate and people of this country as slaves. Its high time this feudal and imperial attitude of IAS officers change. Infact, is IAS needed in these modern times? Specialise the administration for better results. We have thrown the British imperialism. Now its time to throw the IAS hegemony.

  3. The photo of an officer ( IAS-2013, Chattisgarh ) while speaking to a patient in a government hospital and resting one foot on the bedrail, has gone viral. His expression of regret does not read like an apology.Rather, smacks of arrogance.
    The LBSNAA training has grown mechanical over the years. Class-room knowledge cannot be the substitute for experiential knowledge.
    LBSNAA exposure while promoting inter-Services rivalry , instils a sense of supremacy among members of the so-called elite Services over members of the so-called down-trodden organised Services.
    The hierarchy-ridden training is blocking all reforms in civil services, introducing arrogance to boot.
    No wonder, the public servants brazenly behave like public masters.
    Humility becomes alien to their genre.
    Jagdish Sonkar IAS,fell victim to the mai-baap syndrome.
    There is definitely something wrong, somewhere.
    DOP&T ,though aware of its divisive approach ,is unable to take remedial measures due to vested interests of decision makers in bureaucracy.

    A K SAXENA (A retd civil servant)

  4. Sonkar,
    What unintentional and unavoidable ? The more I read these words, the more furious I became. Do you have any shame and humanity left in you ? What kind of human being are you ? Very poor reaction by the public as well. Let us join hands to file a PIL in high court to get this fellow suspended