Word #chamchagiri (sycophancy) requires no introduction. Even the so called English gentry of our country, understands it well enough. And, in India nothing meaty can be obtained without this art of arts, more precisely the mother of all arts.
During our lifetime we all aspire to become qualified professionals such as engineer, doctor, lawyer, bureaucrat, chartered accountant and the list goes on and on for which we go to professional colleges and even qualify through tough exams. But, for this particular ‘art’ you needn’t go to any University to obtain a degree. Yet it remains the most powerful tool of success in contemporary times.
BUT, WHY CHAMCHAGIRI?
Because, it is a two way requirement and has now become a status symbol. If you call yourself a VIP you must have chamchas around you. Without chamchas you don’t qualify as a VIP. Conversely, to survive, grow and secure yourself also you need to do Chamchagiri. Perhaps, that increases your tailwind and catapults you way ahead of competition.
HISTORY OF CHAMCHAGIRI
It was always there. We have glaring examples of Chamchas operating out of darbars and courts of erstwhile Rajwaras and Kings, in tall Empires, and even in hallowed establishments.
But in earlier times it was considered a menial habit almost close to beggary which has now evolved into a refined and potent art that pays handsome lifetime dividends, which not everyone can learn. Its crafty students are found buzzing around the bureaucratic circles, in corporate corridors, swarming the political circles around parliament and Assembly; and at times it also seeps into the forbidden-the judiciary.
While, some people through chamchagiri have escalated the growth of their career by coining catchy statements like ‘Indira is India and India is Indira’ made by Dev Kant Barua, the then Congress President. Others have shown it through self arrived, trait and gestures. Such as a Chief Minister picking up chappals of Prime Minister’s son and making him wear it again while it slipped out in a muddy field during a political campaign. Some more examples that stand tall in my memory is a Police officer touching a senior netas feet, in full Police uniform. A security personnel cleaning the sandal of a lady Chief Minister, and also the state of art gesture of prostrating in front of the lady Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, Mrs J Jayalalithaa.
But a recent one that I saw looked a little desperate. This Chamcha had a red plate above his car number plate that read, ‘Vidhayak ka Pratinidhi’ (Representative of MLA). Trying to please his master by becoming his representative. Some Chamchas learn this telling art just to make a living and not to catapult their careers which is still understandable like the one above.
I have often thought about the genesis of this disease called ‘Chamchagiri.’ To me it always appeared as a colonial and a feudal requirement for a better survive. But the hangover of it has only increased when it should have gone down with the world becoming more business like.
And, if chamchagiri can get you two square meals I would send calling for the HRD ministry to at least announce a ‘Certificate course’ in the subject to reduce unemployment for now.
By Kamlesh Tripathi
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