Tuesday, July 23, 2013




Life is funny.

Life is full of contradictions.  

For example, in the 1970s, when I joined the Navy, I realized that your career prospects are inversely proportional to your education

Yes, believe it or not, it was strange but true:

The higher your qualifications, the lower your status in the hierarchy

When I joined the navy, I found that at the bottom of the heap were the most highly qualified Post Graduates who land up as Education Officers - landlubbers who end up teaching the basics of algebra and geometry to sailors. 

In the middle rung we had the Technical Officers, who were Engineering Graduates

And lording over everyone were the matric-pass (or interscience-pass) Executive Officers who were the prima donnas and had superior status vis-√†-vis their more educated counterparts. 

In the Army, the situation was even worse.

Lesser qualified infantrymen and cavalrymen of the arms enjoyed much better career prospects as compared to their more highly qualified technical counterparts of the services. 

In fact, you will be amazed to learn what a grand old Admiral, a distinguished veteran who had served with distinction both in war and peace, used to always say to us. 

He actually felt that too much education destroyed natural leadership qualities.

His view was that too much education hampered the inculcation and development of Officer Like Qualities (OLQ) which was the sine qua non of military leadership.

Education is not conducive to OLQ, he would say, adding that education makes officers think and analyse too much.

This paradox exists in the civilian world too. 

Everywhere in administration, generalists prevail over specialists

Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers are at the helm of affairs in all types of organizations ranging from Airlines to Electricity Boards to Public Sector Units to Port Trusts to Financial Institutions.

Yes, you will see generalists lord over specialists and head technical and operational entities even if they have no expertise. 

Some IAS officers are even appointed as Vice Chancellors of Universities. 

Yes, it seems that IAS Officers are truly the “jack of all trades” - you name any type of government organization and you will find an IAS Officer heading it.

In many places where anti-intellectualism prevails, like in the military and civil services, if you are highly educated and specialized, you are considered a boffin, an egghead, a geek or a nerd who is unfit for leadership roles.

Do you agree with what the grand old Admiral used to say? 

Does Education really destroy natural Leadership Qualities ? 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013. All Rights Reserved

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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