Saturday, April 11, 2015

HONESTY IN UNIFORM – THE INCORRUPTIBLE OFFICER

Someone asked me: “How is it possible to remain honest officers in the all pervasive corrupt environment of today?”

I told him the story of an incorruptible officer I came across in the Navy – let us call him: “J”.

Let me delve into my HUMOUR IN UNIFORM archives  and pull out the story of “J” – for you to read  and ponder over...

HONESTY IN UNIFORM – THE INCORRUPTIBLE OFFICER
STORY OF A SQUARE PEG  IN A ROUND HOLE
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE


THE INCORRUPTIBLE OFFICER – An Apocryphal Story By Vikram Karve
(SQUARE PEG” IN A ROUND HOLE”)


“J” was an honest, sincere, upright, straightforward, patriotic, service minded officer.

He truly epitomized the motto of his alma mater:

“SERVICE BEFORE SELF”.

“J” also scrupulously followed his Academy Honour Code:

“I shall not Lie  I shall not Cheat  I shall not Steal  and I will not tolerate those who do so”.

In a nutshell  “J” possessed ideal OLQ (Officer Like Qualities).

One day, most unexpectedly, “J” was posted to a “lucrative” appointment.

Everyone was surprised.

There had to be some mistake somewhere.

How could a morally upright officer like “J” be appointed to such a “profitable” appointment?

There were rumors that this most “sought after” appointment was auctioned.

Or you had to have heavy pull to get this “prize” appointment.

Or sometimes they gave it to “loyal” officers on the verge of retirement to enable them to settle down “comfortably” after retirement.

While others were surprised  “J” was aghast on seeing his appointment letter.

“J” was a career conscious officer.

Till now  his track record had been perfect.

“J” had done all the right courses  he had even qualified the prestigious staff college.

“J” had held the best of appointments – in operations  on staff  and in training.

And  suddenly  out of the blue  disaster had struck – and “J” was appointed to a peripheral organization which had quite a sleazy reputation.

Were they trying to sideline him?

Was it the end of the road for his navy career ambitions?

Had they put him on a slippery slope?

“J” told his boss to get the transfer cancelled, and protested: “There is no way I am going there. I do not want to work in a corrupt organization.”

The boss looked sympathetically at “J” and said: “It’s no use. I have already spoken to everyone to have your appointment cancelled. But orders for your transfer have come from the top. They want an honest and upright officer to clean up that organization and you have been handpicked to do the job. So you have to go. I am sure you will be able to sort out those corrupt buggers and set right matters over there.”

After “J” left  the boss murmured to himself: “I only hope that he sorts them out  and that they don’t sort him out instead.”

“J” reported to his new assignment  and from the very first day  “J” got on the job  setting things right  and ensuring that everything was done honestly, and strictly as per the rules and regulations.

All corrupt activities were stopped.

A few honest vendors and contractors were happy that things had been streamlined and they did not have to pay bribes anymore as long as they did things properly.

But most vendors and contractors, who had got used to profiteering by subverting the system, were most unhappy, and, as an immediate expression of their displeasure, they stopped paying the customary “mamool” and the time-honored monthly “hafta” to the employees of the office where “J” was in-charge.

Everyone tried their best to corrupt “J” – but he would not budge.

When they tried to bribe him with money, “J” refused and said: “The salary I get is enough to meet my needs, so I don’t need any extra money.”

When they tried to induce him by offering him a flat in a posh township at “concessional” rates, “J” refused and said: “My father has left me a bungalow  so I don’t need a house.”

When they offered him prized bottles of the choicest Single Malt Whisky, “J” refused and said: “I drink Rum – and I can get as much rum as I want from the canteen.”

They tried everything – gifts, perks, favors, booze, discounts, kickbacks – but nothing worked.

His fellow officers in the organization were worried that “J” was setting a dangerous precedent.

They feared that if they did not act fast  the “virus of honesty” may contaminate the entire organization.

So  they counseled “J” and advised him not to “rock the boat” – and let things go on as they were going on for so many years.

But nothing worked  and “J” remained steadfast in his honesty.

It was decided to call a meeting to discuss this grave issue of “J”.

Vendors, Contractors, all the staff of J’s office, even a rep from the organization’s headquarters, were present.

A “consultant” (who was an expert on bribery and corruption) was specially invited.

“We are all in bad shape ever since “J” has arrived. All commissions, mamoolhafta,cuts – all our earnings have stopped. I am finding it impossible to pay my EMIs of the flat I have booked – had I known that an officer like “J” was coming I would never have booked that expensive flat. Even day-to-day living has become difficult,” the No. 2 Man in J’s office complained.

“I have never seen a terrible bugger like “J” – he just won’t eat money himself – and if that is not bad enough “J” does not let us eat money,” someone said, “He seems incorruptible.”

“No one is incorruptible,” the consultant said, “everyone has a price.”

“But we tried everything possible – money, gifts, booze, concessional flat, plot of land – he does not want anything,” the No. 2 Man said.

“He must have some weakness which can be exploited,” the consultant said.

“I don’t know whether I should say this?” said a young lady, a stenographer, who was J’s secretary.

“Say whatever you have to say. We need to brainstorm,” the consultant said.

“I have seen him giving me the glad eye when he thought I wasn’t looking,” she said.

“See  I told you – the bugger has got to have some weakness,” the consultant was exultant, “So your boss “J” has got a roving eye for beautiful women.”

“I think so – the way he looks at me with yearning in his eyes,” the steno said shyly.

An entrepreneur  who was the main vendor  looked at the steno  and he said to her: “Why don’t you…?”

“Me...? Are you crazy...? I am a married woman. How can you even say such things...?” the steno shouted angrily.

“Don’t worry. I have handled many such cases. I will make all the arrangements,” the consultant said, “But we will need some funds…”

“Not to worry. We will finance everything,” the contractors and vendors said in unison.

“Now we have to find an opportune time,” the “corruption consultant” said.

The No. 2 Man looked at the consultant and said: “I think he will be living alone from Monday onwards. His wife is going away to her mother’s place along with the children for the summer vacation.”

“Then what are we waiting for...? This is the opportune moment. See – everything is falling into place. You go ahead and talk to him  and I will arrange everything accordingly,” the consultant said.

Seeing the confused look on the No. 2 Man’s face  the consultant said: “You don’t worry – I will tell you exactly what you should do.”

On Monday morning  the No. 2 Man entered J’s office  and after some official discussion  the No. 2 Man looked at “J” – and the No. 2 Man slyly said to “J” : “Sir – madam has gone away so you must be feeling lonely. If you want I can arrange some company for you.”

“Not to worry,” “J” said, “I have the company of my books. I plan to catch up on my reading.”

“Sir – not that type of company – I meant something to fulfill your desires,” the No. 2 Man said.

“To fulfill my desires – what do you mean?” asked “J”, looking puzzled.

“Sir – we can arrange for you have a good time – the best girls – Sir – whatever you want – models, film stars, college girls, housewives, matured girls, working girls, virgins, aunties – top class girls – Sir – very discreet – Sir – as per your choice and taste – Sir – you name it – and we will arrange whatever you want.”

“J” could not believe what he was hearing. 

He looked in stunned silence at his No. 2 Man.

The No. 2 Man broke the silence – and he said to “J”: “Sir – if you prefer male – we can arrange cute boys, macho men….”

“You get out of here immediately  or I will take disciplinary action against you…” “J” yelled at the No. 2 Man.

“J” looked so angry  so furious  that it looked like he was going to have a heart attack or a fit  so the No. 2 Man ran away.


EPILOGUE

They did not succeed in corrupting “J” who remained scrupulously honest for his entire tenure.

Yes  “J” proved that he was truly incorruptible.

After completing his tenure of 2 years without blemish  “J” moved on to his “criteria appointment”.

Then a sad thing happened.

“J” was passed over for promotion.

“J” was so devastated by his supersession that he quit the navy immediately.

I am happy to report that “J” did extremely well in his second innings in the “civvy street” – and is enjoying great success in the corporate sector where his values are valued.

Though “J” still feels bad about quitting the Navy – a service he loved so much – the fact of the matter is that J’s departure was a greater loss to the Navy than to “J”.

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
1. This story 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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