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Dangerous trend? Castes, communities making efforts to infiltrate IAS at entry level

 

Inside IAS academy, Mussoori
By Rajiv Shah
The other day, I was talking to a former colleague of the Times of India, Ahmedabad. I have known him as one of the reasonable and rational journalists. He later served in a TV. When in TV, he would often tell me anecdotes of how they would report events if they failed to reach the spot on time: “We would just say, here the attack took place, and that was the place from where the attackers attacked.” 
On phone for a little more than a half an hour, we talked a bit about how the Modi government was seeking to sideline IAS across India, who, I have always believed, despite their constraints (as serve they must the powers-that-be), are broadly wedded to the Constitution of India, something they are groomed for at the IAS academy in Mussourie.
While I told him that my interaction with most IAS bureaucrats – which was direct and live till early 2013 when I retired from the Times of India as political editor, Ahmedabad, stationed in Gandhinagar – suggested this factor, he insisted, “things appear to have changed”, adding, “the younger lot does not seem to care for the Constitution as much as the senior ones did.”
I gave the instance of Ashok Narayan, who was Gujarat home secretary in 2002. State assembly elections were announced for December. Narendra Modi, then Gujarat chief minister, began his Gaurav Yatra – one of which I also covered. It was a sort of protest against the alleged efforts to defame Gujarat for the 2002 riots – though the real aim was to project him as “Hindu Hriday Samrat”.
I told this journalist how Narayan stopped Modi’s Guarav Yatra on instructions from the Election Commission, then under the eagle eyes of JM Lyngdoh (whom Modi always addressed as ‘James Michael Lyngdoh). I came to know that, soon thereafter, Narayan was summoned by Modi, who asked him: “Are you under me or under the Election Commission?”
This made me approach Narayan. I asked him whether this was true. He replied: “Yes, it’s true. I told the chief minister I am, as of now, under the Election Commission, and not under him”, insisting, “If you like, you can quote me as saying this…”
I told this journalist, how, during Modi’s Gujarat days, there was an effort to undermine IAS in every possible way, but he couldn’t succeed at that time as he was only chief minister. However, ever since he became Prime Minister, recent appointments in the Government of India suggest, he has renewed efforts to undermine IAS – and one its latest examples being the appointment of Uday Mahurkar, a known pro-Modi journalist with “India Today”, at a Central information commissioner.
This made the journalist to give the instance of how recently efforts are being made by different communities and castes to push their persons into IAS. He told me, “A prominent leader of the Anjana Patel community (I am not naming the person, though I peripherally know him) has informed me, they have sent as many as 100 persons from their caste to Delhi for an IAS academy opened by them to appear in civil services examination. The whole idea is to have better representation of the community in IAS at the entry level itself.”
According to him, “If this is true of Anjana Patels it should also be true of other communities, too. Someone needs to investigate this. While Anjanas and other backward class communities should have better representation in IAS, it seems to be a dangerous trend – castes/communities seeking to have their IAS officers at the entry level.”
A felicitation function at RSS-run IAS coaching institute
This journalist gave the example of an RSS-run IAS institute which has been doing this for quite some time, though its identity was hidden so far, stating, a prominent news portal carried a story on this. I looked up on the internet and found it – “The Print” had carried an article.
The story said, “At a time when minority institutes like Jamia and Zakat Foundation are in the middle of a row over the rising number of Muslims cracking the civil services examination, an RSS-backed coaching institute, Samkalp Foundation, has claimed a 61 per cent success rate in this year’s exam.”
Though the IAS institute “has been quietly grooming ‘nationalist’ civil servants since 1986”, the article, by Sanya Dhingra, published on September 16, points to how, more recently, Samkalp has “emerged as one of the leading civil services coaching institutes across the country”, though ironically it is a “non-profit, and is aggressively opposed to media coverage.”
Pointing out how, last year, Home Minister Amit Shah and senior RSS functionary Krishna Gopal had delivered a lecture on national security to retired and serving civil servants at an event organised by Samkalp, with Gopal being a senior-most ‘mentor’ at the foundation, the article says, “The foundation’s photo gallery on its website is filled with photographs of its students with BJP ministers such as Smriti Irani, Prakash Javadekar and Ramesh Pokhriyal.”
While Samkalp office bearers as quoted as claiming that it is an “an independent organisation under the Societies Registration Act”, an RSS worker, who did not wish to be identified, said, “You can call Samkalp an RSS-inspired body instead of an RSS-affiliated body”, underlining, the centre’s aim is to ensure the “bureaucracy is rid of its Leftist bent gradually”.
By Leftist, the RSS worker meant “people from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and other such places dominate the bureaucracy”, pointing out, this was the main reason why “a need was also felt for an effort to bring in nationalists in the bureaucracy.”

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