Tracking the holiday howler

A couple of months ago, it was reported that Shaheed Bhagat Singh had not been declared a martyr in official records. It seemed a routine faux pas originating from an overzealous officialdom. Adherence to official records or a clerical mistake at times overrules issues of common knowledge. Col Avnish Sharma (retd) writes.
HT Image
HT Image
Updated on Dec 26, 2013 09:46 AM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times | ByCol Avnish Sharma (retd), Chandigarh

A couple of months ago, it was reported that Shaheed Bhagat Singh had not been declared a martyr in official records. It seemed a routine faux pas originating from an overzealous officialdom. Adherence to official records or a clerical mistake at times overrules issues of common knowledge.


In such cases, bureaucrats let the head rule the heart. It reminds me of an interesting incident some years ago.

Through a routine post, the army unit I was serving received, from the headquarters, a list of holidays to be observed in the ensuing year. The unit head clerk religiously highlighted these days on the table calendar of our commanding officer and the adjutant, who happened to be yours truly.

Everything carried on as usual till my quest to finalise the unit training schedule brought me head on with the month of October on the calendar. The 3rd of the month had been highlighted as a gazetted holiday on account of Gandhi Jayanti. I called for the head clerk and asked him to amend the date on the calendar with a slight sarcasm in my voice. After all, who forgets Gandhiji's birth anniversary!

On checking, we found the same mistake in the commanding officer's calendar. A nonplussed head clerk dug out the concerned correspondence giving the list of holidays and dutifully put it up to me duly highlighted. He stood in front with a victorious smile as I double checked the list.

A junior clerk remarked, "Sir, like Id and other festivals, this year Bapuji's birthday may be on the 3rd and not 2nd." I decided against an intellectual debate on the issue.

Nevertheless, in an endeavour to impress the commanding officer with my eye for detail, I promptly brought the matter to his notice. In a characteristic soldierly stance, he asked me to seek an amendment from the headquarters and pending clarification not to effect any change in the calendar.

Dutifully, a letter was dashed off requesting for an amended list of holidays. The letter presumably set off a scurry at the headquarters, which in turn set the correspondence in motion with their higher headquarter till the matter reached the Army Headquarters in Delhi.

With no LANs or WANs, the movement of the mail was through the good old department of posts and telegraph. No one wanted to get in a telephonic duel with the superior HQ on such a sensitive issue. The clarification did filter down, but much after the due date.

The commanding officer, a brave man that he was, took a calculated risk and observed October 2 as Gandhi Jayanti but not before cautioning all officers against spreading the word around lest it gets construed as disobedience of orders. Meanwhile, a young clerk at one of the intervening headquarters was quietly issued a verbal reprimand for committing a typing error of a grave nature as this.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • One of the 14 Mughal-era gateways to punctuate the Walled City’s wall, the graceful Ajmeri Gate today is like a queen without her palace.

    Delhiwale: This way to Ajmeri Gate

    This venerable stone gateway originally signposted the way to the aforementioned pilgrim town. One of the 14 Mughal-era gateways to punctuate the Walled City’s wall, the graceful Ajmeri Gate today is like a queen without her palace.

  • Mahesh Choudhary, 45, went missing on April 4, 2007 and the case was registered five days later, after his son, Rakesh Choudhary, then 22, filed a missing complaint. (Representation purpose)

    Delhi: Cop’s hunt for kidnapper ends after a 15-year wait

    Assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Sanjeev Tomar’s quest ended on May 28, when he and members of his team arrested a man named Hari Om for abducting and killing Choudhary. Tomar, 47, now posted with the crime branch, was a constable at the Badarpur police station when the crime took place in 2007.

  • DFS chief Atul Garg said, “The addition of 89 new firefighting vehicles will help us improve our response time across Delhi”. (Photo by Amal KS /Hindustan Times)

    89 new trucks to help DFS speed up rescue operations

    The approval for purchasing 89 new fire trucks was sought against the condemnation of 60 fire trucks, which have diesel engines and have reached their expiry time of 10 years, and have to be taken off service.

  • Delhi minister Satyendar Jain. (ANI FILE)

    ED arrests 2 more in money laundering case against Delhi minister Satyendar Jain

    Vaibhav and Ankush were arrested under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). ED said both are directors of Ram Prakash Jewellers Pvt Ltd, which was raided on June 6. After the searches at premises linked to six people including the jewellery firm’s five directors, ED said it recovered 2.85 crore and 133 gold coins, alleging that the gold was from “unexplained sources” and was “secreted” in the properties.

  • A MCD official said enforcement teams seized 689.01 kg of plastic items and issued 368 challans on Friday.

    Problem of plenty: Ban no bar, Delhi markets struggle to get rid of plastics

    Following the latest notification of the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2022 in February, the central government directed all states and union territories (UTs) to phase out SUPs in a planned manner by July 1, 2022.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, July 02, 2022