Revolution and Champaran go hand in hand. In 1916 when Mahatma Gandhi initiated his satyagraha from the undivided Champaran, it changed the course of India’s political set-up.
In 2013, a district magistrate (DM) in West Champaran, too, is trying to be quite a revolutionary in his own small space. His revolution though is against jeans, T-shirts and flip-flops, which district administration officials often choose to wear to office. DM Abhay Kumar Singh issued an order last week asking the government employees to wear “decent clothes” to work. Not following the order might lead to a second “civil disobedience” in the land where the first satyagraha was called.
The directive has not only left the public servants of the district fuming but also created a flutter in the state’s bureaucratic circles.
Singh reportedly got furious after seeing some government employees wearing jeans and round-neck tees at a review meeting held at Yogapatti block office, around 230km northwest of Patna.
He gave a dressing down to two employees for coming to the meeting without being properly dressed.
Sources said the DM was so angry that he asked the officers present not to attend his meetings in such “idiotic dresses” in the future. “You should be properly dressed to work and not wear something that doesn’t suit your profession,” he reportedly told the officials at the meeting.
“Yeh to hona hi tha (this was bound to happen),” said an employee posted at the Yogapatti block office. He added that defying the directive would be construed as “insubordination” and may lead to disciplinary action against employees. “As a result, employees preferred to stay mum over the dress code,” he said. The DM, however, denied issuing any official order in this regard.
An official with the general administration department said a 1954 dress code outlines what officers of the state should wear to work on specific occasions. “The dress code only talks about clothes that government officials should wear at official functions such as Independence Day or Republic Day. The code doesn’t state anything about employees posted in districts. This is why there is confusion over the dress code,” he said.
General administration department principal secretary D.S. Gangwar said: “I can’t comment on the issue as I am out of town.”