Friday, June 24, 2016

“Moguls” in Uniform – The “Animal Farm” Syndrome

“Animal Farm Syndrome”
A Spoof

The word MOGUL is also spelled MOGHUL or MUGHAL. 
In this story  it used in a metaphorical sense.
In this context of this story the word MOGUL (or MOGHUL or MUGHAL) means a powerful person – a person who rules or commands.

MOGULS” IN UNIFORM  an apocryphal story by Vikram Karve

In his classic satirical allegory  ANIMAL FARM  George Orwell exemplifies the tendency of human beings to abuse power. 

Whenever a human gets power  his attitude changes dramatically. 

I have seen this metamorphosis in a person’s attitude and behaviour happening in the Navy.

When an officer gets promoted to high rank  the first thing that happens is that power goes to his head.

His ego bloats  and he changes his way of thinking.

He starts behaving differently. 

He starts displaying all the trappings of power – figuratively and literally (an example is the obsession to display “stars” and rank symbols all over – like displaying vehicle star plates on lecterns, boats, horse buggy, golf caps etc).

He starts doing exactly the same unethical and unofficerlike things that he criticised as a junior officer when he saw his seniors do it.

And to justify his conduct  he starts mouthing platitudes like:

“Now that I have the view from the “top”  things look “different”  and now I must behave like a “leader”.


This “moral metamorphosis” happened to one of my coursemates.

As a junior officer he was most vociferous in his criticism of the conduct of some of the senior officers.

“Bloody freeloaders,” he would exclaim, “the buggers want everything free. They want everything ‘on-the-house’ and don’t want to pay for anything. Just look at the way they blatantly misuse transport and manpower!”

But when he was promoted to a senior rank  he started behaving in exactly the same way – taking full undue advantages of his rank.

Maybe the “moral metamorphosis” owing to high rank had now made him see things differently...!!! 

After all  Rank Has Its Privileges (RHIP)...!!!

When one veteran political leader was asked why his party had changed so much from the values it once represented  he said: “It is all because of power. Earlier we were in the opposition. Now we are in power. Once you have tasted power everything changes.”

It is true:

“Power Corrupts”.

The moral of the story of Animal Farm is that because of this innate corrupt nature of most human beings to misuse power for their own benefit that whatever the form of governance (democracy, monarchy, socialism, communism, or dictatorship) nothing much changes for the impoverished and hapless aam aadmi or common man since human-power relationship makes all systems “feudal” in nature.

On a lighter note  the Naval Yarn I am going to narrate below illustrates this dictum. 


This happened long back  around 38 years ago in the 1970s  in the early days of my Naval career  when I was a bright young officer.

It was the farewell party of our boss  the Captain of our ship.

Everyone was happy to see him go ashore on transfer at the end of his tenure.

He had been a terrible boss  a ruthless taskmaster  quite a tyrant  and he had made our life hell. 

A strict authoritarian disciplinarian  he wielded total power and commanded the ship like a martinet  ruling us like an absolute monarch.

As far as he was concerned  it was “his” ship  and there were just two categories of people on-board his ship:

1. HE 

(the Supreme Lord and Master)


2. WE 

(the rest of the crew – which included everyone else starting from the second-in-command right down the junior-most sailor)

This feudal style Captain exemplified the Navy Dictum immortalized by Captain Queeg in the classic Navy Novel  – THE CAINE MUTINY   written by Herman Wouk: 

Captain Queen told his officers and sailors:

“…there are four ways of doing things on this ship:



3. The NAVY WAY 



On my ship  we do things MY WAY…”

Our Captain believed in Captain Queen’s dictum – and  our Captain had made it very clear that  he wanted things done his way.

We had nicknamed him: MOGUL.

At the farewell party  whisky was flowing freely – and everyone was thoroughly enjoying the party.

Everyone was downing peg after peg of the choicest whisky  happy to bid farewell and say goodbye to the “Mogul”.

The officers were celebrating in anticipation of the forthcoming “freedom” from “Mogul Tyranny”. 

For me  it was an evening of mixed emotions  since it was my farewell party as well – because – as luck would have it  by sheer coincidence  I too was going away on transfer.

As it is customary to “look after” the farewell guest very well  my shipmates had plied me with plenty of whisky  peg after peg  down the hatch”  and by the time I was called upon to deliver my farewell speech  I was feeling very “nice” 

As I told you once before  there is a saying in the Navy:

Officers never get drunk – they only feel “nice” 

And I was feeling awfully “nice”.

Being the junior  I was called to deliver my farewell speech first.

I was feeling awfully “nice” due to the enormous amount of whisky I had imbibed.

At first  I said the customary things – I thanked my shipmates  talked about the good times we had together in the wardroom.

But as I spoke  my inhibitions started peeling off  and I started speaking out my mind freely.

Then  in a spurt of audaciousness and recklessness thanks to the “Dutch Courage” fuelled by the huge amount of alcohol flowing in my veins  I started gesticulating towards the Captain  and I blurted out my farewell speech:

“Tonight – I am feeling privileged – that along with me – it is the farewell party of our beloved Captain – who we affectionately call MOGUL.

I know all of you are happy to see off this Mogul

But remember one thing – ONE MOGUL REPLACES ANOTHER MOGUL 

So don’t be too happy that this Mogul is going away.

It may well turn out that the new incoming Mogul may be worse than this outgoing Mogul  whose days on this ship are over. 

And  God Forbid  if the new Mogul is a worse tyrant than this one  then you will reminisce and remember the “good old days” you had under this Mogul”...

After uttering these words  I narrated the story of one my favourite books – ANIMAL FARM (an allegorical novel by George Orwell). 

In this story  there is a rebellion  an uprising by all the animals who unite and rise in revolt against the tyrant human beings who own the Animal Farm. 

The humans are overthrown by the animals  who achieve “freedom” from human tyranny.

But soon  the pigs  who led the uprising  gradually assume control  and start taking over power.

The pigs replace the humans as the rulers  yes – the pigs become the new rulers.

Eventually the pigs become worse tyrants than the humans  and the pigs make life hell for all the other animals. 

So – despite change in leadership – nothing changes for the common animals. 

I have seen plenty of examples of the “Animal Farm Syndrome” in the Navy and Defence Services.

Don’t you see this “Animal Farm Syndrome” everywhere – in all organisations  even in democratic organisations – where One Mogul replaces another Mogul – but nothing much changes for the common man – in fact – in most cases – when “Leaders” change  things may get worse for the “Followers

Hey – I have digressed – so – let me get on with the story:


A few months later I ran into one of my ex-shipmates  and he told me that my prediction had come true. 

“You were right. One Mogul replaces another Mogul – but the Mogul Empire Continues Forever...he said laughingly.

He told me that exactly like I had predicted  life on-board the ship had indeed become so terrible under the new Captain  that in the evenings  everyone sat in the wardroom drowning their sorrows and reminiscing about the “good old days” in the earlier “Mogul Empire”. 

“The earlier Mogul was a bullshitter  but at least he was an honest bloke,” my ex-shipmate said, “but this new Mogul is not only a terrible bullshitter  but he is a crafty, cunning, corrupt man – and a bloody freeloader too  and he has made our life miserable.”

THE MOGUL PRINCIPLE (The “Animal Farm Syndrome”)

Look around you and you will see that this “Mogul” theory is true in real life too.

Leaders come and go  elections happen  governments change  regimes come and go  sometimes democracy becomes dictatorship  and sometimes dictatorship becomes democracy  socialism metamorphoses into globalization, liberalization and crony capitalism.

All sorts of things happen  but for you and me  for the common man (“aam aadmi” nothing much changes  and our life remains just the same. 

In fact  in most cases  things may even get worse than before. 

Of course  there are exceptions – yes, there are a few genuine leaders who really make a difference  but nowadays  such examples are few and far between. 

By and large  the Mogul Principle prevails. 

So before you rejoice too much on hearing the news that your tyrant boss is going to go away  remember THE MOGUL PRINCIPLE:


I have seen this happening in the Navy.

One “Mogul” goes  and another “Mogul” comes in his place  and instead of improving things  every new “Mogul” adds his own “killjoy contribution” to making life more painful.

I am sure this Mogul Principle” prevails in the Army and other services  including in the civil services too.

We observe this in politics too.

So  look around and observe  in your workplace  in politics  and in the world outside.

Do you see “Animal Farms” around you...? 

Isn’t the “Animal Farm Syndrome” prevalent everywhere – in politics, in civilian bureaucracy, in the military...?

Don’t you see one “Mogul” replacing another “Mogul” – and nothing much changes for you...?

Instead of improving things  doesn’t every “Mogul” add his own “killjoy contribution” to making life more painful?

Of course  there are exceptions to the rule  but for most of the time  the “Mogul Empire” (Mughal Raj) perpetuates.

Do comment  tell us your views  and share your experiences of “Moguls” you have seen in your organisation and your life.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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1. This story is a spoof, satire, 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 stories 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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