Col PS Randhawa (retd)
Col PS Randhawa (retd)
I was part of a group of principals and directors of Army Public Schools who visited Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie, recently. It was a visit eagerly awaited, and we expected a lot to see in this institution of national importance, which trained our policy makers, based on whose guidance the destiny of India has shaped over the period of time.
We were conducted around the main campus by a ‘guide’, who, as we found later, worked as a lower division clerk in the academy. We were briefed about the campus, layout, various buildings and a museum that had black-and-white photographs of IAS trainees interacting with Prime Ministers and Presidents — batches that passed out — and activities in the institute. Later, a retired Army officer, posted as the deputy director, briefed us about the organisation, training, and activities in the academy. A short movie was also screened in this regard.
However, we did not see any photographs or paintings of ‘heroes’ on display, of the alumni of the academy who did their alma mater proud. Few buildings are named after leading politicians. A memorial stood in one of the lawns without any names of martyrs who died in the line of duty. It is not that the IAS cadre is bereft of heroes. Recently, The Tribune carried an article on BN Yugandhar, who was an ideal bureaucrat and an example to emulate. His pencil sketch was there among former directors of the academy. Of course there are names like TN Seshan, Dr MS Randhawa (ICS), Dr MS Gill, Vinod Rai, Shanmugam Manjunath (a young IAS officer who was killed by oil mafia), and many more who stood up to the dictates of politicians and upheld the rule of law. What could be a better motivation to a trainee than to look up to the heroes of his/her fraternity who once walked in the corridors of this prestigious academy?
The next day, a visit to the Indian Military Academy (IMA) was a complete contrast. The IMA memorial, museum (glittering with paintings of war heroes), cadet messes, lawns, buildings and the Drill Ground cast a spell on the visitors.
The question arises, why IAS officers who have done pioneering work in a number of fields are not looked up to or known as heroes? Do they want to remain in the background and let politicians take the credit, or they get branded as ‘Congress type’ or ‘BJP type’. Someone should answer, ‘Why there are no heroes on display at LBSNAA?’
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