Monday, April 3, 2017

Rankophilia – Fake OLQ

This morning – albeit inadvertently – I got involved in an interesting discussion on usage of military ranks after retirement. 

This reminded me of an article I had written a few years ago on the subject...

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.

We thought that as society becomes more egalitarian – the Army would also become more modern – and – 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 – sometime 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 later  there was another hilarious picture on the social media – this time a dignitary and his wife (both in civilian clothes) were sitting on a boat (pontoon) which had an army vehicle star plate fixed proudly displaying 3 stars.

I do not know where it is proper to display army star plates and where it is improper – but – we were told that – 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 veteran commented that soon Generals will tattoo stars on various parts of their bodies including on their “xxx – Ha Ha  I leave it to your imagination...!!!)

For military 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. 

(Ha Ha – some veterans will object to the use of the term erstwhile rank – and say that rank is for lifetime – okay – fine – but surely – after retirement – a senior officer becomes an erstwhile senior officer – actually – he becomes a civilian – since your rank has no authority/power once you retire – and – you are on par with any other veteran or civilian citizen)

A few years ago  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 veterans around him  and he was curtly told to get into the queue. 

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 curtly 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 “smell the coffee” and mend their ways – and they mix around with everyone  while others withdraw into their shells and get isolated – and are never seen again 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 (In fact – many officers are not rank-conscious even while in service).


When I was in the Defence Services (Navy) – I observed that there were Two Types of Officers:


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

These “good officers 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”

These Officers displayed Genuine Officer-Like-Qualities (OLQ)


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... 

For them – their rank and status were everything.

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

These Officers displayed FAKE Officer-Like-Qualities (OLQ)

For these Fake OLQ” types – rank was everything  because they knew  that  without the crutches of rank – they were Zero.

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.

Yes – 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 following words engraved on it:



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 visiting card back to the Governor with apologies.

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

The Governor asked the attendant for a pencil. 

The attendant gave the Governor a pencil.

Then – the Governor took the visiting card – and – with the pencil  Governor Kitagaki scratched out the words GOVERNOR OF KYOTO

Yes – he scratched out the words GOVERNOR OF KYOTO 

Now – the visiting card carried only his name Kitagaki

Governor Kitagaki then gave the visiting card back to the attendant and said to him: 

“Take this visiting card to your teacher – and ask him again  if he would please give me an audience...”

The Zen Teacher Keichu saw the visiting 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 of how to overcome rankophilia.

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

Yes – while in service – and – especially after retirement: 


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 modern egalitarian society

Dear Reader: Do you agree...?  

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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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