Thursday, August 3, 2017

Shri KN Zutsi Sir

Shri KN Zutsi Sir

It was my only meeting with Shri KN Zutsi Sir in 1982, when I appeared before him for the GPSC Class 1-2 interview. With the help of three scoring subjects: Statistics, Accountancy and Political Science; I was hopeful for the selection. The Chairman was known for his honesty and objectivity. In fact, my written examination score was more than the cutoff of marks of the selection. However that 25 minutes of interview had put a strong mark in my life. I had learned two things from him during that meeting.

I didn't know that his daughter's name is 'Poonam'. Now I recollect the questions. One of the questions he asked was the number of days between two 'Poonam'. This was unexpected for me, and with a hitch for a moment, I had replied 29-30 days. Thereafter, my interest in astronomy and astrology increased. Now I realised that my name Poonam, might had carried a soft corner of him for me in the interview. But his daughter Poonamji denied it yesterday replying the condolence message that: "my father was too fiercely objective to have let my name influence anything, least of all your selection."

But the most important learning was his scoring pattern in the interview. It was a 200 marks interview and he was very meticulous about the selection of the right candidate. He gave the range of 20-30-40 marks to the candidates whom he didn't want in the list and gave 80-100-100 plus marks to those who to be selected. This pattern of marks we came to know after the results were declared by the GPSC. That moment I didn't know how this will help me in one of the decisions of my career. I passed thereafter, UPSC 1984 (IRS) and 1985 (IAS) and joined Gujarat Cadre.

There was unrest going on amongst the ruling party leaders against the then CM late Shri Amarsinh Chaudhari. They had realised the defeat of the party in the assembly elections of 1990. Late Rajiv Gandhi was the PM and the unrest group was camping in Delhi for the change of the CM. One of the issues of the unrest was the transfers of officers including the DDO Mehsana Shri GD Vyas, who was not listening to the President of the Jilla Panchayat Shri Ishwarsinh Chavada. In July 1989, our whole batch (1985) was promoted in Senior Scale but was posted in Sachivalaya may be because of impending assembly elections. The desk officer Harsh Brahmbhatt was also unhappy with our batch because our batchmates were the first in raising voice against his subjective interpretation of the AIS rules. I was posted in Roads & Building Department as Deputy Secretary. Suddenly, on one evening of September 1989, I received a phone call from Shri PK Laheri Sir, the PS to CM to go to his room immediately. The CM was in Delhi. He told me that I have been posted as DDO Mehsana and directed to sign the CTC on his table. I signed the CTC and went to Mehsana to take the guard. With few such decisions, the pressure of changing the CM didn't stop. Shri Madhavsinh Solanki became the CM (for a short period) to face the assembly elections of 1990.

It was very tough time to work as DDO in Mehsana those days. There are many stories to narrate but let me write one story that has linked with my interview meeting with Mr. Zutsi Sir.

You know, District Panchayat Selection Committee does the recruitment of some cadres of Panchayat. The member of the Gujarat Panchayat Seva Pasandagi Mandal is the Chairman of the Committee and the President and DDO are the members. The Chairman of our committee wished to become MLA, wanted a ticket for the seat from the ruling party and the President District Panchayat was to play a major role as he was close to the then CM Shri Madhavsinh Solanki.; therefore, two of them made a union for selection of the candidates. There were rumours in the market about the corrupt practices and Mehsana was famous for buying jobs. I had 33 marks in hand and they had 67. The night before the interview, I couldn't sleep well. How to find out a way to fight with the injustice to the meritorious candidates. When I woke up in the morning, I remember the sweet and loveable face of Shri KN Zutsi Sir and found out the answer of my puzzle. I recollected the scoring pattern of our selection in GPSC in 1982. I had followed his model of scoring, gave 31-32-33 to the bright and meritorious candidates and gave low score below 10 to the candidates who were weak in their academic records and performance during the interview. At the end, when the select list was prepared, 80% of the candidates were found place in the list from my selection. It was a victory of the idea of Shri Zutsi Sir to fight against corrupt practices in the system.

We won't forget you Sir. We pray God to rest the Pious Soul in Peace of Salvation.

3 August 2017


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