Sayrajrao Gaekwad III
Sayrajrao Gaekwad III -- File:Syjrao.pdf
Page 1 1MAHARAJA SAYAJIRAO GAEKWAD – AN INSPIRATION FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE (Maharaja Sayajirao Memorial Lecture, Vadodara, 11.03.2002)N Vittal,
Central Vigilance Commissioner
Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad lived a many splendoured life. Although he belonged tothe family of Gaekwads, he was born in humble surroundings. His early life was spent in a ruralenvironment focussed on agriculture far away from the glories of a royal life or the glamour of acity like Vadodara. The dramatic manner in which he was selected to become the Maharaja ofBaroda in itself reads like a fairy tale. The era of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad which saw himcelebrating the diamond jubilee was an exciting era of economic and social development on theone hand and a period of continuous challenges with the British Government as the suzerainpower trying to restrict him on the other. He had also to cope with his own health problems.The manner in which he faced these challenges in itself makes for a fascinating reading.2The Bhagwad Gita says in the third chapter Yadyadacharati srestaha tat tat deveitarojanaha sayat pramanam kurute, lokastatanuvartate. The way in which shrestas behaveothers follow. The techniques adopted by him are adopted by others. As we pay our homage tothe memory of Maharaja Sayajirao, what is it that we can learn from his life? What is it that wecan do to be Indians who live in the land that he once ruled so wisely?3One of the greatest contributions of Maharaja Sayajirao was the exemplary goodgovernance he provided in his time. We are immediately struck by the quality of poorgovernance today when we compare his period of ruler ship. In fact, many a time he could havegone ahead and provided better governance than what even the British did. Nevertheless,because of the nuances of the relationship between the native ruler and the suzerain power he hadto sometimes play a delicate diplomatic balancing act. But one thing is obvious. If the Gupta erais considered to be the best period in Indian history so far as good administration is concerned, inrecent times we had a glimpse of what good governance means in the rein of Maharaja SayajiraoGaekwad.4What we can do on an occasion like this when we pay our homage to him is to learn fromhis experience and achievements and to see whether we can replicate to some extent hisachievements in the true tradition of the Bhagwad Gita shloka.5Before we go into the issue of good governance itself, all of us can learn from his life asindividual lessons to guide our own life. Having been selected as the future ruler of Baroda, hewas subjected to intense training. The intensity of his training is obvious from the commentsmade by Shri Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad in his biography of his great grandfather, “Sayajirao ofBaroda - The Prince and the man.”Sayajirao lived in an apartment in the old city palace which was also the principal residence ofMaharani Jamnabai, and Sampatrao and Dadasaheb were his constant companions who joinedhim in all the day’s activities. He would be awakened at six and after a wash, would spend anhour in the wrestling put that had been prepared in one of the palace rooms, doing traditionalIndian strength-building exercises under a well-known professional wrestler Dudhia Pehelwan.A bath and light refreshments followed and then an hour’s riding lessons in the paddock in a
Page 2 2 nearby palace, Nazar Bagh, work on the building of which was started by Malharrao and wasstill in progress. And here too the riding master or Ustad, Rahim Mia, was a hand-pickedprofessional. He dismissed his class by eight-thirty, which still left an hour for homework, whichwas finished at nine-thirty when the morning meal was taken, usually in the company of hisadoptive mother, Jamnabai.“There were several meat dishes, “Sayajirao was to reminisce many years later. “Heavilyspiced and cooked in butter. They were delicious, but not really wholesome for growing boys”.According to him, the peasant fare he was used to in Kavlana, meals built around coarse jawarbread and egetables spiced with chilli and washed down with milk or buttermilk, would haveserved them better. After their vigorous workouts in the mornings, he and his companions ateheartily of these rich dishes and invariably felt drowsy during classes in the afternoon. Oneresult was that Headmaster Elliot never ceased to suspect that someone had been putting opiumin their food.School lasted from ten-thirty to five, with an hour’s break for a light meal. After classes, theyusually played games, and since this was before it had become fashionable for Indian schoolboysto play cricket, football and hockey, the games were khokho, atyapatya and hututu. All thesegames are team games, which suggest that other boys must have joined in. On the days whenthere were no games, there were lessons in farigadga or Indian swordplay, as well as fencing.The ustad or farigadga was Kamalkhan, and the fencing master, a Sergeant Gwen. In betweenthere were more lessons, swimming, taught byan expert, Mir Machli; marksmanship, by a Britishinstructor Sergeant Griffith; the malkhamb or the greased wrestling pole of the Marathas andjodi another typically Maratha sport, by another professional. Limp with all the exercise, theboys were driven back to the palace as dusk was falling. After that there was another hourdevoted to homework. Then dinner and bed.Side by side with the six-year long cramming course there was thus an equally long physicaltraining course such as might have been devised for future commandos. (p. 55-56)6The first lesson therefore for good governance is obvious. Good governance is not theresult of accident. It is the result of design and this design will call for thorough training. If welook at our country today we find that the significance of training is not appreciated at all. Infact, many a time trainings posts are considered as posts where inconvenient officers could beparked so that they could not create more embarrassment or problem to the government.Whenever there is an economy drive, the first target is training. On the other hand, we see in thelife of Maharaja Sayajirao that he himself was subjected to very thorough training. What isimportant is his realisation that life itself was a continuous learning process.7It is worth recalling what Fatehsinghrao Gaekwad says about his great grandfather so faras the continuous striving by Maharaja Sayajirao for improving himself in knowledge isconcerned.But mere pressure of work or the irritations of life were seldom allowed to make inroads into thedaily hour set aside for self-improvement. As he grew older, that hour tended to get longer andlonger. Miss Tottenham describes how once, when she had taken out Giuseppe Mazzini's The
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Duties of Man for Chimnabai's reading, the latter had been deeply affected by "the fire ofMazzini's words". When, however, Chimnabai told her husband how much she had liked thebook, the promptly took it away to read."After which, until a second copy could be obtained, Her Highness had to send for it daily fromhis side of the palace to recover it for her own reading."From the book, the Maharaja noted down "phrases and thoughts" and held discussions abouttheir meaning. He would make Miss Tottenham sit before him and read the book aloud to her,and "wished his pronunciation and manner to be corrected. He always wanted to learn." (p.299)8This is where the second lesson in good governance comes. How many public servantsparticularly after their initial training, continue with the attitude of a student and learn? I think inthe life of Maharaja Sayajirao, we have an excellent lesson for the civil servants of today that thelearning does not stop with a pure induction training programme. But there has to be acontinuous effort at improving one's understanding and learning. Coming to think of it, whyonly civil servants? Each one of us must imbibe this great spirit for self improvement sosplendidly displayed by Maharaja Sayajirao.9When we pay our tribute to a great Maharaja like Sayajirao, we have to see whether atleast to some extent we can replicate his qualities. It is his thorough training a continuous senseof curiosity and an intense desire for learning which made him such a great and successfulmonarch.10Otherwise, how can you expect a person who was born in very humble circumstanceswho till the age of 13 was not exposed to the royal life and who virtually began of his educationfrom the age of 13 with an intense programme of training blossom with a great value? Theintensity of the training he underwent might have probably put out any other person from anyfuture thought of training itself. He would have been like the proverbial cat of Tenali Raman,which lost all taste for milk once it was scalded by hot milk. But the fact that he retained hisinterest and tried to continuously improve himself shows that he was not an ordinary person. Hewas an extraordinary person. The power of being a Maharaja did not make him stray from thepath of rectitude and correct behaviour.11The life of Maharaja Sayajirao shows that the Hindu concept of Dharma was personifiedin him. The king is expected to protect Dharma. Dharma in turn will protect him. Dharmorakshati rakshitaha12A concept that has been cherished through the long history of our culture and spiritualexistence is the concept of welfare of all human beings: bahujana sukhaya bahujana hitayacha -the welfare of the many and the happiness of the many. In fact, this concept of the happiness ofthe many had also been integrated into the area of public administration as the basic principle.Kautilya says in his Arthashastra: 'In the happiness of his subjects lies the king's happiness, intheir welfare his welfare. He shall not consider as good only that which pleases him, but treat asbeneficial to him whatever pleases his subjects': Praja sukhe sukham rajyaha prajanamchahitehitam Natma priyam hitam rajnaha prajanam cha hitam piryam.
Page 4 413The initiatives he took for the welfare of the backward classes is worth recalling. This iswhat Fatehsingrao Gaekwad says in his book.Sayaji Rao must have been one of the few happy exceptions to the general run of Indianreformers. If anything, his problem was that the reforms he intended to introduce were too farahead of their times. For instance, unrestricted temple entry to all castes of Hindus and thethrowing open of public wells to all castes and creeds, were to be held back for another twentyyears. But at that, there was no doubt that Baroda was far ahead of other parts of India in thework of removing untouchability, and this was largely because of Sayajirao's personal interest init. (p.306)14In fact, the dramatic manner in which he was able to help B.R.Ambedkar is anoutstanding example of how an enlightened monarch can by his graceful gesture virtuallychanged the history of a nation. Fatehsingrao in his book describes the incident graphically:A prominent Bombay publisher and the owner of the Induprakash press, Damodar SavlaramYande, who had published scores of books for the Baroda durbar, has described how, at thistime, he had gone to see Sayajirao to recommend a boy from the Mahar clan for a scholarshipbecause, even though the boy had done brilliantly at school and was desperate to go to college,he was too poor to do so. Sayajirao was staying at the Jayamahal palace on Malabar Hill andYande who knew that it was his habit to grant interviews to people of his acquaintance who cameto call in the afternoons, decided to take the boy along with him.He and the boy drove in a victoria and got down at the entrance gate. Yande invited the boy toaccompany him into the house, but the boy declined, saying that, since he was a Mahar, he wasnot sure what the Maharaja would think of his coming into his house. So Yande went in on hisown, and was shown into the verandah where Sayajirao was sitting.As Yande narrates it, Sayajirao asked him:"Well, Yande, what's your news today?""Your Highness, I have brought a boy with me. He has done extremely well at school, but he istoo poor to go for further studies.""Brought him? Where is he?""He is waiting outside.""But why didn't you bring him with you?"Sayajirao, Yande says, seemed really distressed when he was told that the boy himself was notsure whether he would be allowed into the Maharaja's house. Sayajirao immediately sent for theboy and asked him what he meant to do after he had finished his studies."Whatever Your Highness directs." the boy answered."Well, what you must do is to pass on the benefits of your education to the others who suffer fromthe same handicaps as yours - encourage them to go to schools and colleges. In Baroda we have
Page 5 5embarked on a massive programme for improving the lot of the backward classes. You mustutilise your knowledge and education to help us in this work."A secretary was called in and orders given for a telegram to be sent to Baroda to give ascholarship of Rs.50 every month to the boy. "Go and study hard," Sayajirao told the boy. "Ifyou do well, I shall certainly give you more help." (p.307)15If Ambedkar had not been given the assistance by the Maharaja of Baroda, when he wasyoung, history would have been different. There would have been no Ambedkar to shape theconstitution of the country. In other words, Maharaja Sayajirao in a way played a significant rolein shaping the Indian Constitution. Compare the care Maharaja Sayajirao took up for the welfareof the poor with what is happening today.16Many anti-poverty programmes are announced by the government. In fact, it has becomealmost a ritual every year for the Prime Minister to announce from the ramparts of the Red Fort astring of new anti-poverty programmes. Many a time they are also called as Prime Minister'sprogramme for roads or whatever. The result is that only a small fraction of the benefit in theseprogrammes accrues to the target population. Rajiv Gandhi observed that for every rupee meantfor the poor, hardly 15 paise reached the beneficiary. Out of remaining 85 paise, 40 paise maybe spent on administration overheads but 45 paise definitely is corruption.17Here is another case of inefficiency in implementing the programmes because ofcorruption. The Chairman of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) was mentioning to mesometime back that in the context of people dying of hunger and starvation in Orissa, a few lakhtonnes of foodgrains have been made available free to the State Government of Orissa butinstead of the foodgrains reaching the poor, these were being cornered by middlemen and soldback to the Food Corporation of India as a part of its procurement programme in Orissa. 2001was a bad year and hardly 30% of the area was planted with paddy. Nevertheless, the FCI hasbeen able to procure almost the same quantity of foodgrains under the programme in the year2000, which was a normal year.18The circumstances under which Maharaja Sayajirao ruled and the circumstances todaymay be totally different, but the basic principles of good governance are the same. MaharajaSayajirao as the supreme ruler was dedicated to the welfare of the poor and ensured that the basicobjective of welfare of the weaker sections was effectively achieved. As we have seen above, inour present system, we find this is not happening because of corruption. Maharaja Sayajiraowrites about his own style of the blue print for good governance. In the initial stages he was tolook into even very small matters. Slowly evolved the concept of delegation. FatehsinghraoGaekwad refers to this aspect in his biography.Freed from the long hours of schooling, Sayajirao plunged straight into even longer hours ofoffice work. Since his predecessors had never shown much fondness for work, there was noestablished system as to what sort of cases should come up before the ruler. The officials, afraidof being censured for overstepping their powers, tended to send up even minor cases for adecision, and he, for his part, attacked with zest whatever came up before him.
Page 6 6As a ruler, he found he had even less leisure than when he was Elliot’s pupil. He still got upbefore sunrise and went to bed at eleven, but the routine of office began to take more and moreof his time, cutting in on his recreations, the daily canter in the cool of the morning and hisevening game of billiards, even his reading, of which he was getting increasingly fond. It wasonly after trial and error and as a hard-won experience that he learned to delegate authority, toreduce his own work-load and at the same time to train his administrative officers to make theirown decisions.The cases that came up to him for a verdict, or, as they were termed ‘Huzur Orders’ (RoyalOrders) were later printed in book form, and reveal the gradual evolution of his system ofpersonal rule. In the early stages, the most trivial matters were put up to him for a decision. Ayear after his investiture, when once he rode to the Residency on an elephant, he had himself tosanction the expenditure of less than eight annas spent for the candles. But, four years laterthings were not much different. A house to be rented for the use of a village school had to havehis sanction – the rent; no more than four rupees a month. Years later, he was to lament that hehad spent an unconscionable amount of time and energy in “disposing of cases asking forsanction for a door handle or a mat”.Door handles or doormats were dreary trivia that might properly have been dealt with by aclerk, but this involvement with detail gave Sayajirao a thorough grounding in the practicalaspects of office work that was to stand him in good stead all through his life. It taught him todistinguish between detail and fundamentals, between mere padding and essence. The late HzurOrders bear ample testimony to this ability. They contain admonitions on prolixity, on confusedthinking, on the need for clarity; little waspish asides on clumsy staff work, on publicextravagance, impatience with laziness and inefficiency; but above all they display an eagernessto get to grips with basic issues. (p. 89-90)19Even as he delegated the process of decision making, he never forgot that the need forsupervision, effective monitoring and follow-up. After all, proof of the pudding is in the eating.Good governance depends on effective implementation.20For those of us who are in administration this is a valuable lesson. How do we ensurethat policies are effectively implemented? We have today the advantage of informationtechnology. We must be able to use this for better follow-up action. We must be able to bringgreater transparency in our administration so that people know their rights.21Another important aspect of governance in Maharaja Sayajirao was his treatment ofpeople. Peter Drucker says that the most important essence in management is taking the rightpeople decision. In this Maharaja Sayajirao’s life repeatedly point out how he was able tonurture talent and encourage them.A great believer in specialist skills, he went to a lot of pains to try and find men with the rightqualifications. As may be expected, in the beginning, the specialists in the state's service weremostly Europeans and Americans who had been enticed to come to Baroda by offering themattractive salaries. But they were mostly engaged on short-term contracts, and one of their maintasks was to train their Indian understudies. The result was that, over the years, the services
Page 7 7came to be manned entirely by local men who had served their apprenticeships under some ofthe most highly qualified men in their particular fields.A glance at the list of names of the foreigners working in Baroda at this time is revealing. At arelatively modest level were the equitation expert, Fahey, and Major R.Wood, conductor of thestate brass band. The ambitious Libraries Department was run by an American who was a Yalegraduate, W.A.Borden, and the first manager of the Bank of Baroda was an Englishman,C.E.Randle. The railway engineer was a Scotsman, Anderson, the Commissioner of Excise, aHarvard Graduate, R.C.Whitneck, and the principal of the Baroda College and Minister ofEducation,... was that dream Englishman, a double first and a double blue of the CambridgeUniversity. The man who advised the archeological department and was also commissioned tosculpt statues of typical Indian subjects was an Italian, A.Felici, and the man who advisedSayajirao on what paintings to buy for his collection was none other than the art critic of theLondon Times, N.H.Spielman. (p. 294)22Another important aspect of Maharaja Sayajirao’s reign was his focus on education thattoo of women. His simple device of ensuring that the new literate do not lapse into illiteracy bygoing in for an excellent library service, probably relevant even today. How are we todayensuring that neo literates do not lapse into illiteracy? Today we are living in the age ofknowledge economy and education is the key to success. Maharaja Sayajirao’s emphasis oneducation and that too on women’s education should be a model for us to see that we give theright emphasis on education.23Unfortunately, in our system of values today in administration, education is not givenhigh priority. At least in the pecking order of posts, which are considered to be glamorouseducation does not figure. We should correct this sense of values and try to see whetherMaharaja Sayajirao’s emphasis on education can be revived.24He was equally keen about the basic needs of people especially in Baroda for drinkingwater and also for better health facilities. The Ajwa dam for drinking water was his supremeachievement. This is what Fatehsinghrao says.Six weeks later, on 29thMarch, the Ajwa reservoir was declared open at a "grand ceremony"and, as Sardesai reports: "The public of Baroda rejoiced to see a unique phenomenon...the firstshoot of clean, sweet water in plenty..."Sayajirao's own feelings were no less exuberant. He was both proud and delighted. "Never did Ifeel happier", he writes to a friend. At his speech on the occasion of the opening, he attempts todraw a then-and-now picture of his capital and of his state since he became its ruler. Therecord, especially when one considers that it was built up in a matter of only eleven years, isimpressive, even spectacular.He could not, in all fairness, exclude the Laxmi Vilas palace from his list; for one thing thepalace had cost even more money than the Ajwa waterworks. Also, according to his values,which were those of a patrician ruler, he felt convinced that it added a necessary element ofgrace and dignity to his capital city. He himself may have contributed little to its designing, but
Page 8 8the vast park that surrounded it which was patterned on the ones he had seen in Europe, expertlylandscaped and forested with rare trees, was his own creation.In his speech he dismisses the palace itself "as that richly chiselled pile", and then cites what hehad been able to do for his citizens. There were 118 miles of railway track already completed,the great domed college, the countess Dufferin Hospital, the Baroda Middle School, and a publicpark. Baroda now possessed facilities for the study of handicrafts, agriculture, law, and hadeven a school of music. Special schools had been opened for girls and for the less privilegedclasses or castes. He alludes to the important public buildings that were then under construction,and to his overall plan of beautifying the town. A new market was coming up (it was later put touse as a High Court), and a new museum and a new secretariat complex. He explained that allthese buildings were intended to be "revealed as a harmonious whole" and announced that heintended to provide modern sanitation to the city and to realign its streets to conform to "plans Ihave long since nurtured". In the field of administration, already wide-ranging reforms hadbeen introduced, and there were cash reserves in the place of a public debt. Thousands ofdisputed claims had been settled, the export tax levied in the past on Baroda produce had beenall but annulled and drastic reductions had been made in the rates of import duties. The state'sforests were being conserved and a geological survey had been undertaken for the systematicutilisation of its mineral resources.He declared "in fear and trembling" that it was his ultimate aim to decentralise theadministration as far as possible and to retain in his hands only supervisory powers, to set upvillage panchayats (councils) and elected municipal bodies in the town, to establish courts ofsmall causes, and to bring about the separation of the judiciary from the executive. But, heemphasised: "All these to my mind are nought, compared with the blessing of pure water." (p.141-142)25Another interesting aspect of Maharaja Sayajirao’s life is his intense curiosity about howthe rest of the world lives. Today we may talk about globalisation. Partly because of his healthcondition he had to stay away from Baroda and go to different parts of the world particularlyEurope and other parts of the world like United States and Africa. These are not pleasure trips.He was constantly looking for models for better governance. If we can use the modern idiom,we would say he had a global mindset. He was really "thinking global and acting local" which isthe fashionable management slogan today. What is today fashionable in the area of businessenterprise he extended it to governance? Many of the innovations, which introduced in his timemay be traced also, to continuous expanding of his mental horizon nurtured by actualexperiences in his trips abroad. He was not like other maharajas who may go abroad for justenjoying themselves or indulging in activities of pleasure. For him, it was continuous learningexperience.26If today’s governance if we want to improve our country we will have to learn from othercountries which are better governed and successful. At least in the context of globalisation,certain issues therefore become significant. The first of course is the whole approach toeconomic policy where market forces should remain supreme and the government should playthe role of a regulator and not having active intervention in the economy. The second aspect isgreater transparency in the system. Good corporate governance calls for transparency leading to
Page 9 9accountability. Accountability is measured in terms of value addition to those who have a stakein the organisation like the shareholders, stock holders, suppliers, consumers and so on. Hisemphasis on the entire administration being intelligible to the people and removing the veil ofmystery is reflected in the importance given to Gujarati, which was the language of the peopleeven though his own mother tongue was Marathi. While we may talk about administration beingin the local language for people to appreciate what was happening in government, in today’scontext especially where corruption has become a major issue there is also a need for greatertransparency in administration. Some Sates like Karnataka, Goa and Delhi have enacted Right toInformation Act. Perhaps, at this stage we will have to build on the legacy of MaharajaSayajirao Gaekwad and go in for greater transparency in the form of Right to Information Act.27When we look at the administration of the Baroda State under Maharaja Sayajirao werealise that one of the key features was effectiveness. The personal interest Maharaja took inadministration in matters both large in policy as well as in details ensured that the results weredelivered. Today, if there is one complaint we can have against our administration is because weare not good at delivering results. This may be due to number of factors. In the Indian context,therefore, I would suggest that if Maharaja Sayajirao inspires us we should think of measures ofhow in today’s context we can give better administration especially in implementation ofpolicies. In this context, I would place before you some ideas.28In order to remove alibis for non-performance, one of the simple techniques that can beadopted is what one of my colleagues in the IAS said many years ago: “We should idiotisegovernment work”. What he meant by idiotisation was that we should simplify the procedures insuch a way that even idiots can run the government. Of course, he used to cynically suggest thatonly idiots would come to work in government. The application effectively of informationtechnology, greater transparency and business process re-engineering are all measures that canhelp to simplify and consequently increase the velocity of business operation. This, in turn, willcontribute to effective implementation of policies.29There have been very successful officers in the ICS and the IAS in the past who havebeen very effective in implementation of policies and also get results. One of the officers whoshaped my career and has influenced me a great deal is L.R. Dalal, ICS who retired as ChiefSecretary of the Government of Gujarat. He was once posted in Pune and in one of the villageshe found that certain lands were not being cultivated because they were supposed to be haunted.He has very humorously described in his memoirs how he used his knowledge of Sanskrit andtold the villagers that he could perform certain pooja and exorcise the ghost from the lands whichwere not being cultivated. He went through the motions of a pooja. This act of his was able toinfluence the villagers and Dalal was successful in implementing the grow more foodgraincampaign of the government by bringing more land under cultivation.30Paul Appleby who was appointed by Nehru to study Indian administration in the 50s saidthat the Indian administration was action shy. It is action shy because primarily perhaps there isno commitment for implementing any policy. This lack of commitment arises because of what Iwill call the vicious cycle of Vittal’s law. My law says that in any organisation those who workget more work; those who do not work get pay, promotion and perquisites. The solution forVittal’s law is to have systems and procedures simplified to the extent of what one of my
Page 10 10colleagues calls ‘idiotisation’. What he meant was that even an idiot can afford to performbecause the procedures will be so clear and transparently designed and it is impossible to avoidaction. Some cynical friends of mine say that government work needs to be idiotised becauseonly idiots will come to work government.31I had a Chief Secretary, V. Iswaran, ICS who used to say: “He is a bad master who keepsthe dog and does the barking himself”. Perhaps if we want effective implementation of policies,we have to make as many officials into bad masters as possible. This is because as Shri ArunShourie points out the impact of organisations like the CAT and some judicial pronouncementshas been to introduce paralysis in administration. If we have to come out of this paralysis, wemust be able to encourage those who are in the civil service to take action.32I find that generally the most vociferous critics of administration are the retired publicservants. All these people suffer from what can be called the power paradox. When they were inpower, they were unaware of the ground realities of our governance. When they came to knowthem as common citizens after retirement, they had no power to change the system. In otherwords, when they had power to improve governance, they did not know the realities. When theycame to know them, they were out of power. This is the power paradox of our public servants.33Accountability can be induced if there is a fair assessment of performance andperformance, which is outstanding, is rewarded and the performance, which is below par ispunished. But Annual Confidential Report writing in government has again become a casualtyof the culture of paralysis. Further, well-intended policies introduced to encourage affirmativeaction to strengthen weaker sections have had their impact on the ACRs also. If any reportingofficer gives an adverse remark in the confidential report of a public servant more than the publicservant reported upon, it is the reporting officer who has to face the consequences. At least, Iknow of a case where an engineer belonging to a particular community made a false TA claimand when the senior took action, the matter went right up to the SC/ST Commission with theresult that the senior officer was asked to pay a fine of thousand rupees.34Perhaps one method of reducing delays is to limit the number of appeals and the stageswhere a bureaucrat can move. Another must be to reduce the protection given under Article 311of the Constitution. A third option may be to abolish agencies like CAT which have proved to betotally ineffective as pointed out in the analysis of Arun Shourie.35Many a time policies are also made which seem to regularise if not encourage non-implementation and non-compliance of government regulations. The Voluntary Disclosure ofIncome Scheme under which black money holders can launder their money into white by paying30% income tax while earlier the honest tax payer was expected to pay 40% is a classic exampleof how government polices themselves ensure that effective tax administration is not achieved.36Rajaji observed that the charcoal we use in kitchen is carbon, the graphite in the pencil isalso carbon and the diamond in the ring we wear is also carbon. If a lifeless substance likecarbon, depending upon circumstances can be a low value item like charcoal, middle value itemlike graphite and high value item like diamond, how much greater is the potential of the sentienthuman being?
Page 11 1137V Krishnamurthy when he was Chairman of SAIL brought about at the organizationallevel cultural changes by systematically exposing a very large number of managers at differentlevels to HRD experts. Jack Welch has achieved the same by his workouts. If we want to getout of the present sense of gloom and doom in our economy, we should systematically focus onbringing about a cultural change, which in turn will also act as a catalyst for more rapideconomic development.38The most dangerous cultural aspect of our country today is corruption. Economic reformsrepresent a conscious shift from socialism to capitalism. Nevertheless, what we have, as C RamManohar Reddy pointed out in a recent article, is corrupted capitalism. According to him, in theaftermath of the East Asian Crisis of 1997, crony capitalism was blamed for the failure. What isbeginning to mature in India is a different and a larger phenomenon that lends to another but lessattractive alternative term, corrupted capitalism. In this uniquely Indian phenomenon, whichunlike in China, Indonesia and Russia is blessed here by the established democratic process,political corruption and market capitalism thrive by feeding each other. Capitalism grows by notthrough competition in the market but by excluding competition through large-scale corruptionof the policy maker and administrator in high places. This is what changing the rules of the gamein the new sector means. Likewise the stunting of the public sector, the sale of state assets topreferred buyers and the provision of subsidized finance to favoured enterprises all for a pricehave been giving a new meaning to capitalism, Indian style in the 21stcentury”.39Our focus on bringing about a cultural change must therefore be an outright attack on theculture of corruption by bringing in transparency. This change can be brought about by the civilsociety using the four instruments that are available with them. The first is judicial activism. Thesecond is the use of anti corruption agencies within the government like the CVC. The third isdirect action like what was done by non-government organization the Lok Satta in AndhraPradesh to check rampant tampering of meters in the petrol pumps in that state. The fourth iscreating public opinion by extensive use of electronic and print media. After all, in a democracyno political party can ignore public opinion.40Fatehsinghrao mentions a unique almost uncanny quality of Maharaja Sayajirao. Eventhough he lived at a time when the British were ruling supreme, he could see in the distant futureabout what was going to happen in the future. It looks almost clairvoyant.Not that Sayajirao made any secret of his real sentiments before those whom he regarded as hisreal friends, so it is not at all necessary to depend on guesswork or the Residency's reports torealise the extent of Sayajirao's sympathy for the nationalists, and indeed to see how far inadvance of his times his thinking was.One of these friends was the Aga Khan, who in his memoirs, speaks of Sayajirao as the man who"possessed a sturdy independence of character, and the awareness that the honour and dignitywhich he had inherited were not only his own personal right but were attributes indissolublefrom the race and nation to which he belonged. For him, India always came first. Neitherfamily nor class nor creed mattered more than this simple, spontaneous and all embracingloyalty."
Page 12 12His Highness then recalls a talk with the Gaekwad of which "he had the clearest recollection"."....in the summer of 1908, he and I were the guests of the Governor of Bombay, Sir GeorgeClark, in Poona. One night when everyone else had gone to bed, the Maharaja and I sat uptalking to a very late hour. 'British rule in India' he said, 'will never be ended merely by thestruggle of the Indian people. But world conditions are bound to change so fundamentally, thatnothing will then be able to prevent its total disappearance'."Small wonder that a man who harboured these sentiments should have differences with LordCurzon who was unarguably convinced that the Empire was a law of future, indestructible."Then he added something very striking," the Aga Khan goes on. "The first thing you'll have todo when the English are gone is to get rid of all these rubbishy states. I tell you there'll never bean Indian nation until this so-called Princely order disappears. Its disappearance will be thebest thing that can happen to India-- the best possible thing: There'll never be an Indian nationso long as there's a Princely order. If Lord Dalhousie hadn't taken half India, abolishing ordiminishing the sovereignty or territorial authority of scores of principalities, then perhapssomething would have evolved along the lines of the German Empire, with considerabledecentralisation and local courts and capitals. But Dalhousie destroyed the possibility of thepossibility of the principalities ever becoming useful, federal constitutional monarchies'."(p. 219-220)41Certainly, the Baroda State ruled by Maharaja Sayajirao was not a rubbish State. Today,if Maharaja Sayajirao were present with us would he call our entire administration as rubbishadministration? Are we running a rubbish India? And if so, what is the way out? Perhaps, theway out is to learn from Maharaja Sayajirao's own glorious example especially his spirit ofdedication, thoroughness, getting into details, continuous learning, caring for the weaker sectionsof society, meeting effectively the basic physical needs of the people like drinking water andhospitals and so on. As we look at the life of Maharaja Sayajirao from the vantage point of the21stcentury on this occasion of his 139thbirthday. We must act on the call of the Kathopanishad,which inspired Swami Vivekananda and which he used to repeat often – arise, awake and stopnot till the goal is reached.Uththistatha, Jagrita, prapyavaran nibhodataha.***************
The Gaekwads, a Maratha clan who were originally the generals of the Peshwas in Maharashtra, carved out a kingdom for themselves in Baroda. Twenty years later, Damaji's nephew Pilaji became the founder of the house of Gaekwad. Although an English Resident was appointed to the Court of Baroda in 1802, the rulers had a good equation with the British. The wealth of the family is legendary, and stories abound of their priceless jewellery and works of art. The city witnessed a golden age when Maharajah Sayajirao Gaekwad came to the throne in the late 19th century. He brought about many reforms in education, medicine, religious tolerance and administration. Sayajirao was one of the three princes who rated and got a 21gun salute.
Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad III (1875-1939) is a legend; he was the adopted son of Queen Jamnabai. He took Baroda through a golden age with the help of an astute statesman - his chief minister, Diwan Madhav Rao. Sayaji Rao began constructing the Laxmi Vilas Palace, naming it after his first wife (a princess of Tanjore).
Baroda can boast of one of the finest palaces in India. Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad commissioned the famous British Architects, Major Mant and Chisolm to work on Laxmi Vilas palace. Designed in the Indo-Saracenic style, it is quite a long drive from the huge wrought iron gates with the mounted royal emblem, to the portico. You look around in amazement as you step inside - the colourful frescoes in Italian style on the walls of the palace surprise you with their splendour. Beautiful statues, marble fountains, Moorish arcades and stained glass windows adorn the structure.
The palace is a marvellous work of eclectic architecture, with a mix of all styles. Built in 720 acres, it was landscaped by Mr Gonderling of Kew. The work started in 1878 and was completed in 1890; it is still the residence of the royal family.
The Fatehsinh Rao Museum, located in the palace grounds, houses the royal collection of paintings, sculptures and other objects of art. Here also existed the Raja Ravi Verma studio, where he painted some of his famous works which today belong to this royal family. A garden house which remains shut today and a dargah (mausoleum) also find place here, (which is also shut); besides a pond with crocodiles. Many cricket ball and limb were lost here, when those playing cricket close by ventured into the pond;. There is an in-house cricket club too.
Massive black bulls with blue eyes stand in the doorway leading into the palace and the grounds,-- real ones, but stuffed ages ago. The gold gilt work on paintings is a sight to behold; models of the palace can be found under the impressive staircase leading to the top floor, where the personal chambers of the royal family are located. Its ornate Darbar Hall has an Italian mosaic floor and walls with mosaic decorations, lie empty since the day the Republic took over.
The convention hall has the entire gamut of carpets, painting, photographs of the royal family, silver, gold, ivory, furniture, Venetian chandeliers, domes and a decorous ceiling, There is a huge garden and a Navlakhi Vav (lucky stepped well) which is dry and covered in creepers said to contain a treasure worth millions, though no one has found it yet. There is a small mandir by the riverbank and the palace is surrounded on all sides by a modern colony - large sections of the palace grounds have been taken over by the government for them.