Civil Services is not a Joyride
- Indian Masterminds Bureau
- Published on 18 Aug 2020, 7:48 am IST
- 4 minutes read
One would do well to listen to the advice given by this woman IAS officer. Civil Services is mainly about serving people, and making small things count.
- Dr Akanksha Bhaskar
Life is not a bed of roses- nor is it meant to be. Ask Dr Akanksha Bhaskar, a successful medical practitioner till 2015 when she joined civil services, and she still remembers a host of comforts and conveniences which she took for granted in her pre-IAS days.
But have their deprivation made Akanksha upset? You bet they have not! In the end, she points out with an easy smile, things balance out, and it’s entirely up to you to pick the aspirations and dreams which matter the most to your life. “As a doctor, I was working in a self-enclosed system. There is nothing wrong in it. It’s a noble profession, still the career of choice for many. But civil services puts you in a different league altogether. Here you become an instrument of change for the society. The satisfaction of seeing your effort bearing fruit, making a large number of people happy, fills your life with joy. It gives you a very special kind of kick, something which you don’t get in any other profession,’’ she says in a video message.
Dr Akanksha states, as matter of fact, “if your expectations are not outrageous, you will be taken care of pretty well. Just don’t expect the moon.’’
Small Steps Matter
In the same breath, she adds a caveat which may sound ominous. But actually, it will make a young IAS officer more resourceful, perhaps more satisfied. “Don’t expect you will change the world. You won’t,’’. she says, and then adds quickly, “but what you will do for the people and community, the small steps you take as a bureaucrat, will go a long way in changing their lives. And hopefully, yours too.’’
A number of such “small steps’’ she took for the people of her jurisdiction as a young IAS officer have meant a lot to her. These include:
- For 20 years, there was no toilet in a girl’s school in her block, due to some local issues. Dr Akanksha took the matter in her hands, sorted out the long-pending issues and the school got the toilet.
- A man kicked out his young wife from his house, snatching their two month old child from her. Effective intervention by her office led to the amicable patch-up for the couple.
- At a Santhal village falling under her block, there was no water supply even 70 years after the Independence. “I followed up the issues with a series of meetings with my staff, dug up old records and within weeks, water reached the colony. Whenever I visit the village, I see happy faces all around me and my heart is filled with joys,’’ says the doctor turned IAS officer.
It Can be Lonely at the Top
At times, life for an IAS can be lonely with no real friends to hang around with. “I still get tagged on Facebook posts by my corporate friends in big cities. At the same time, a colleague of mine is working in a place which doesn’t even have a cinema hall. But like I said, a happy life is a balancing act actually. On one hand, you have extreme loneliness and lack of luxuries. But on the other, you get imbibed with a deep sense of meaning by accomplishing tasks for community which not even a very powerful Corporate honcho can accomplish,’’ she sums up.
It would be unwise to take up Dr Akanksha’s story as some kind of a working manual for aspiring civil servants. Rather, each one of them will have to create their own stories and narratives. Remember Dr. Sheldon Kopp’s bestselling book on psychotherapy, `If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him’? The premise is simple but profound: each one of us will have to discover our own Buddha inside ourselves. If somebody offers us theirs, it will be a false Buddha and should be dispensed with swiftly.
But Dr Akanksha’s story does find a resonance with a number of successful and eminent civil servants; and there is one common thread binding them all. Each one of them is following his or her own distant star, call it the burning desire to bring social changes, work for the alleviation of deprived community or bring justice to a young woman thrown out of her house. In short, they make things happen.
END OF THE ARTICLE