India according to T. N. Seshan:
No one escapes T. N. Seshan. Politicians are bad, bureaucrats are spineless and partial, history taught in schools is rubbish, businessmen fuel corruption in politics, public sector is tragic, journalists are the worst of the lot - "sold for a bottle of whisky;" and the judiciary - "I'm not allowed to speak."
Thus spoke the Chief Election Commissioner in a thundering two - hour sermon to the students of the Institute of Management Technology (IMT) at Ghaziabad on Wednesday. Mr. Seshan was invited by the students to speak on the role of business houses in elections. Mr. Seshan reiterated his views on his erstwhile colleagues of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) but singled out those from UP and Bihar.
"They have no moral fibre; from the Chief Secretary down to the Patwari in the village, no one is impartial," he said. "Their backbone is comprehensively broken; and nowhere is it as comprehensively broken as in UP and Bihar."
The former civil servant went on to conclude that brains were not required to enter the privileged service. He then recalled that he scored 190 marks out of 200 in history, more than his score in physics, to qualify for the IAS.
Mr. Seshan took pains to elaborate his bio - data after the hosts declared that the man needed no introduction. He has two birthdays: May 15 and December 15, one of them being the "official birthday". He wrote his school - leaving exam and the intermediate exam twice (the first time the papers had leaked in 1947).
Mr. Seshan recalled his stint at the Planning Commission. The government had earlier found him "unsuitable" for the post of Cabinet Secretary, so he went to the Planning Commission — as OSD, which meant "Officer on Special Duty" (Officer in Search of Duty) !! He felt that "In Mr. Hegde's 11, I was the 12th man."
Once in the Planning Commission, he returned his office clock as nothing began on time; a week later, he returned his office calendar as no meeting was held on schedule.
After the above self - introduction, the Chief Election Commissioner revealed the historian within him, and urged the aspiring managers to be proud for being an Indian. He narrated the wonders of the ancient Indian Civilisation. "India was a great country long before others stopped living in caves. You belong to easily the most unsurpassable culture ... but what passes as history in text books is just rubbish." The medieval history of India didn't have a profound impact on him. "After 650 AD,Indian history reads like Santa Barbara."
The contemporary Indian Society is a sad story for Mr. Seshan. "What is not corrupt in this country? India's central vice is corruption; the centrality of corruption is election corruption; and the centrality of election corruption is the business houses."
He said that a lady had told him that she spent Rs. 55 lakh for an election in Delhi for a constituency of 50,000 voters. "But she was defeated, she came and told me the winner had spent even more."
Another tragedy for the nation, Mr. Seshan declared, was the public sector. "Indian public sector was the greatest management calamity to hit any country ever."
The only bigger calamity Mr. Seshan could think of was the Indian Press. "The journalists are sold for a bottle of whisky." When a student said that it was the same press which had told the world about his greatness, Mr. Seshan said, "If my chastity is being proclaimed by prostitutes, I don't want such chastity."