My first posting in IAS was at Aligarh as Sub-divisional magistrate (SDM). One always feels very excited about first posting and more so in a job which has public dealing. At that age, one tries his best to help people and at the same time finds it difficult to tolerate any nonsense. As a result, complaints against young officers are received quite often. It depends upon the temperament of the officer as well as upon the wisdom of the boss, how these complaints are taken and used for supporting or correcting the officer.
While such incidents look trivial with the passage of time, they play an important role in shaping the career, approach and ultimately the character of the officer. I have an interesting experience of my first posting to share. After about two months of joining, I received a copy of complaint against me, which was addressed to the District Magistrate (DM). It was sent by a village pradhan who had accused me of caste bias. Since the District Magistrate also belonged to his caste, he expected an action against me. When I saw a copy of the complaint which was endorsed to me, I got a little upset and was looking forward to an opportunity to explain the matter to the DM. There is no need to say that the allegations were totally false and I had given relief to the village by taking action against the pradhan, who had filed the complaint.
Few days later, I got such an opportunity when I was travelling with the DM to some place in the district. When I brought the matter of complaint against me to the notice of the DM and explained my side, he showed no reaction. Perhaps, he needed no explanation from me as he could understand the genuineness of the complaint from his experience and my way of working. But what he said was interesting and also had a message. He said that while he had full faith in me, he also had a complaint against me. And his complaint was that only one complaint had come against me during two months. According to him a young officer like me should have attracted many complaints by then and it showed that I was not doing enough work. He then complemented me for the good work I was doing and advised me to go ahead in the same manner.
Today some of us shun work for fear of complaints. There can be nothing more unfortunate than this. I have always believed in taking decisions and often took bold decisions when my conscience dictated so. This has always brought me goodwill as well as admiration. Sometimes things went wrong also but in that case system supported me and no harm was caused. The laws of nature also work with the same perfectness. May be we need to be a little more wise in the present times.