Sunday, January 11, 2015



RANKOPHILIA  “Fauji” Disease
A Spoof


RANKOPHILIA means Excessive Love of Rank or Rank Consciousness.

The greek word philia means excessive liking or love.

So rankophilia means excessive love of rank (or rank consciousness).

And an overly rank conscious officer may be called a rankophile.

If you have served in the defence services, you will have come across rank consciousness, especially in the highly regimented army, where even some army wives are excessively rank conscious.

I have seen some such Rank Conscious Wives (RCWs) vitiate social life in the services.

One thought that as the army becomes modern, rank consciousness would decrease.

But, surprisingly, the opposite has happened – the army is becoming more and more rank conscious as more and more senior officers are being afflicted by the disease of rankophilia”.

You may recall, that a few months ago, a picture of a General delivering a speech while standing at a lectern decorated with a vehicle star plate went viral on the social media.

A few days ago, there was another hilarious picture on the social media – this time a dignitary and his wife (both in civilian clothes) sitting on a boat (pontoon) which had an army vehicle star plate fixed proudly displaying 3 stars.

Forget about army star plates on a boat, even while sitting in a vehicle, star plates are to be displayed only when the officer is proceeding on duty dressed in proper uniform.

A fellow “Fauji” Veteran told me that rankophilia” is reaching epidemic proportions and nowadays Generals are using their ingenuity at displaying their stars in all possible ways, even while in civilian clothes and in civilian areas  on golf carts, golf caps, sporting hats, mugs, jackets, doors, ... almost everywhere where it is possible. 

(A witty wag commented that soon Generals will tattoo stars on various parts of their bodies including on their ... – I leave it to your imagination !!!)

For an officer, being rank conscious may be fine while he is in service.

But some of these snobbish types even try to throw around their erstwhile rank after retirement.

Sometime back I witnessed an amusing spectacle of a retired erstwhile senior army officer trying to pull rank and jump a queue for renewing his CSD Canteen Card despite the fact that he was now a “retired nobody”.

Of course, he was put in his place by those around him  he was curtly told to get into the queue – and the chastened rank-conscious snob beat a hasty retreat.

A friend told me that a similar scene happened in a bank during the annual life certificate ritual” for pensioners when a bank employee told a retired General to get into the queue, while saying that, as far as the bank was concerned, all pensioners were equal.

I have seen some of these rankophile” officers being totally ignored at veterans meets – some “smelt the coffee” and mended their ways and mixed around with everyone   while others withdrew into their shells and are never seen at these veteran get-togethers.

I can say from my experience that the navy is much better than the army in this respect and even very senior officers quickly forget about their rank after retirement and interact freely with everyone (many officers are not rank conscious even while in service).


When I was in the Navy I observed that there were two types of officers:


These were the confident type of officer, who carried themselves with poise and dignity, were well-bred, polished, cultured and courteous.

They were honest, transparent, fair and upright in their conduct and quite humble, modest and down-to-earth in their behaviour. 

These officers did not need the crutches of rank

In fact, by their exemplary demeanor these officers enhanced the dignity of the rank they held

They always put service before self

These “good officers” were role models for their juniors to admire and emulate.  

They truly epitomized the term: “An Officer and a Gentleman”.


Then there were the insecure type who were excessively rank conscious haughty show-offs who believed in the dictum: “Boot your juniors and Boot-lick your seniors” 

They were unabashed ambitious careerists who put self before service because for them their rank and status were everything

For these insecure types  rank, promotion and their naval career was the be-all and end-all of life.

They knew, in their hearts, that they lacked genuine Officer Like Qualities or OLQ.

So they faked OLQ.

These snobs faked OLQ by using bluff and bluster, pulling rank and overdoing the “Rank Has Its Privileges” or RHIP syndrome.

For them, rank was everything, because they knew that without the crutches of rank they were zeroes.

So they wanted to get promoted at any cost and they were prepared to go to any extent, and stoop to any level, in order to achieve their sole aim of getting promoted to high rank

It is this insecure and ambitious type of careerist officers who often misuse their rank and get involved in scams, scandals and unethical acts and tarnish the good name of the service. 

Such careerists may get promoted to high rank, but by their unethical conduct they terribly damage the reputation of the entire service.

Snobbish and pretentious behaviour is a sign of low self-esteem.

And it is this low self esteem that is the root cause of RANKOPHILIA (Excessive Love of Rank or Rank Consciousness).


Rankophilia is Fake OLQ.

As I told you at the beginning, the greek word philia means excessive liking or love.

So  rankophilia means excessive love for rank 

And an overly rank conscious officer may be called a rankophile”.


Do you see any status-conscious, pompous, egotistical snobs and rankophiles around you, who seem to be afflicted with rankophilia?

Maybe you can tell them this inspirational story in the hope that they will introspect, reflect, and change for the better.


Keichu, the great Zen teacher of the Meiji era, was the head of Tofuku, a cathedral in Kyoto.

One day the Governor of Kyoto called on him for the first time.

He gave his visiting card to the attendant and sought audience with Keichu.

The attendant went inside and presented the visiting card of the Governor to Keichu.

The visiting card had the words:



The Zen Teacher Keichu looked at the visiting card and said to the attendant: “I have no business with such a fellow. I do not want to meet him. Just tell him to get out of here.”

The attendant carried the card back to the Governor with apologies.

“I made a mistake. I will correct my error,” said the Governor.

He asked the attendant for a pencil.

Then with the pencil, Governor Kitagaki scratched out the words: GOVERNOR OF KYOTO.

Governor Kitagaki then gave the card back to the attendant and said to him: “Take this card to your teacher and ask him again if he would please give me an audience.”

The Zen Teacher Keichu saw the card and exclaimed with happiness: “Oh, it’s that Kitagaki? I want to see that fellow. Send him inside immediately.”


So that’s the secret.

If you want to get rid of rankophilia, just DROP YOUR RANK and DROP YOUR EGO.

Why is everyone so obsessed with rank, status, power, wealth, fame and other egoistic trappings?

Your individual qualities matter much more than your rank

Your external rank will go away one day


Your intrinsic worth will remain with you forever, and maybe it will be remembered as your legacy. 

And once you retire, what matters more are your present accomplishments rather than your past rank which is irrelevant in civilian society

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. This blog post is a spoof, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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