To Hell With Logic : Rules or No Rules

by DP Sabharwal
Rules are important; but can they be blind to logic. Whom would you blame for the rules that defy logic - The irrational rule-maker or the mindless implementer?  Some food for thought – for the logical thinkers!
He joined the Indian Army. After completing the rigorous training, he was posted to a battalion. An occasion came when during his course of duty, risking his life; he shot down militants holed-up in a deserted house in the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir. For his bravery, he was awarded the prestigious Sena Medal for gallantry. The significance of this award can be gauged from two facts: Firstly only about 50 or so out of an estimated 11, 76,000 strong army-men receive Sena medal on Republic day. Secondly the recipient is entitled to Rs 1000 pm stipend for life. 

The army man under reference was discharged on compassionate grounds after about eight years of service. But recently when he applied for a job that included reservations for ex-servicemen in respect of relaxation in upper age-limit, he was told that he does not qualify as ex-serviceman, as per the Army rule-book.  You may say it defies all logic: he served in the Army, hence he is a serviceman; and since he has left it he becomes an ex-serviceman. You are right logically but no, you are wrong as per rules; which might be wrong, but are right!

Reading the news-item, I was reminded of another case where rules defied logic. After pre-mature retirement, I applied for membership of Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme. During scrutiny of my papers, the desk-clerk told me that my application was incomplete since I had not attached the proof of my commissioning. I mentioned that I was not in possession of any such certificate and my discharge certificate on the basis of which I was drawing monthly pension was proof that I was a commissioned officer. This however was not acceptable to him and he asked me to contact his superior.

I went to the next desk and then next-to next as well, but the demand was same: attach the proof of commissioning. Finally I went to the top boss thereby literally completing what I had heard so far but never experienced: going from pillar-to-post. I explained my position, but the post was unmoved! As a last resort I tried to convince him with a real-life happening. I told him that last year my father had expired and for various formalities in banks and transfer of property, only his death certificate was required. No one had demanded his birth-certificate since his death was proof that he had been born!  The anecdote did two things: It brought a smile on his otherwise stiff and sullen face and he appreciated the logic.

Trying to strike the iron when it was hot, I requested him to forward the application with suitable comments on the basis of my logic. But, no he would not do anything contrary to the so-called rules, right or wrong, and remained steadfast in the necessity of attaching the proof of commissioning.

There is yet another case where logic is brazenly dumped in the burial ground. Chennai Super King (CSK) franchise was recently transferred from Indian Cements to Chennai Super Kings Limited and the valuation was a mere Rs 5 lakh, cheaper than a small car, as reported by the national daily the Hindu. This was apparently done to avoid paying 5% of the valuation money to the Board of Control for Cricket in India. How this valuation was done defies all logic in the face of a simple fact that just one aspect of the franchise; buying and retaining 23 players at IPL-2015 auction cost Rs 21 crore which included buying two players at Rs 1.5 crore each.

Cabinet ministers at the centre, Chief minsters and minsters in Indian States travel in a convoy of cars varying in numbers from 5-25 and in some cases even more. Traffic is stopped to let their convoy cross. Is it that they are so unpopular that they think people would kill them, hence the camouflage and the isolation from the public whose servants (supposedly) they are! Is there any logic, well no, nothing of that sort! Yet another case of: to hell with logic.
Wg Cdr DP Sabharwal (Retd) is a post-graduate in Aeronautical Engineering from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He worked in the Indian Air Force for 25 years on fighter (Hunter, MiG-21, MiG-29) aircraft and helicopters (Chetak, Cheetah, Mi-8). He sought voluntary retirement in 1995 to pursue a career in teaching and writing.
A Fellow of Institution of Engineers and the Aeronautical Society of India, Sabharwal is visiting professor at engineering and MBA institutes and a Corporate Trainer on behavioral skills. Author of 22 books including 'A Finer You' a book on personal grooming, manners and etiquettes; he is settled in Bangalore (India) and can be contacted at aerosaby@gmail.com