Square Nails In Round Holes

  • Published on April 25, 1908
  • By Staff Reporter
This article / write-up appeared in Svadesabhimani. Svadesabhimani.com has not made any changes.

We are not able to suppress a smile at the suggestion made by a correspondent in the Western Star of the 9th instant, in " An Open Letter to the Dewan". The correspondent suggests the name of Mr.S.Padmanabha Iyer M.A., to fill up the vacancy that is to be created by the retirement of Mr.P.Ponnambalam Pillai, Excise  Commissioner. Mr. Iyer is a man of " vast experience (where?), administrative power, extraordinary ability, and indefatigable physical power". He is getting only a 900; make it a 1000, and make him the "Head Dewan Peishkar of the State ", and put in charge of the Excise too ( why? the settlement is over), for sometime as an experimental measure at least"-(experiment in an important Revenue Department!) Of course , this will " meet with the  approbation of the enlightened(?) and unprejudiced (?) public". Fine suggestion indeed! The Durbar Physician was on leave for sometime. Dr. Perkins a highly -paid official is again on leave . May we ask as to why Mr. Aiyar's  name was not suggested. Mr. Bourdillon, we hear, is about to retire, and one Mr. Rama Row is appointed Conservator of Forests. It is a grand pity that this discovery of Mr. Iyer's " all-roundness"  was not made before Mr. Rao was appointed. There is nothing strange in this suggestion. Experience and technical education and knowledge were not the guiding  principles of selection in Travancore. ....... as a District Magistrate and Peishkar . A technical knowledge of Law is not, while a technical knowledge of and experience in surgery and medicine is a necessary qualification for Judicial and Magisterial appointments in Travancore . We have all round men in the service here. Once a man enters in the service he becomes fit for everything , a veritable Jack of all trades and master of none. The correspondent admits this when he advices the Dewan to make an "experimental " operation upon the very heart and core of revenue. A highly paid official of 5 or 6 hundred is waste , mere waste , when there is to hand ready a low-paid officer drawing only 900, who could be approached and persuaded to take up the onerous duties for a pittance of an increase of one or two hundred with the title " Head Dewan Peishkar" , to provide against the contingency of any short periods of acting for the Dewan himself. Of course, the " Head" will carry with it all the inherent evils and consequences. What an innocent suggestion! More innocent than milk and honey itself. Above all, the Excise Commissioner is the Head of an important department, in the State , having so much of patronage . Should it not be our ambition to see that the fittest man is appointed? Experiment ? Aye! What is the revenue from exercise? Can we afford to leave the Excise revenue for experiments by the in-experienced? Experiment connotes want of experience , and experience is what is wanted most in the "Head".

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