Of Photos That Inspire

The Jaykar Library study room in Pune University, renowned centre for union and state public services studies, is a perennial home to hundreds of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) aspirants, what are often seen scrambling for space – physical and otherwise. This centre has over the years produced scores of IAS, IPS and other union and state service officers.

These students, who study 12-14 hours a day with rare exceptions, are usually seen pinning some photos on their desks, books or in their pockets, for inspiration, memories or moral support. Each student has a different inspiration, some keep photos of their parents doing odd jobs, some of Gods, some of their girlfriends waiting for them back home while some even have Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.

After the Bollywood film, ‘Singham’, Vishwas Nangre-Patil’s (IPS) photo was famous among the rural male students while Manisha Mhaiksar (IAS) was a hit among the female aspirants. While it generally takes a good two to four years to crack the UPSC or MPSC exams and get a decent posting, once the exam is cracked and students leave for their respective academies, the good old photos are often forgotten.

The initial enthusiasm is lost amid the luxury of the academy. Very few like Central Railway’s chief PRO Narendra Patil still hang photo frames in their cabins for inspiration. One of the three walls of Patil’s cabin on the ground flour of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), a British-era heritage building, is full of his photo frames, accepting awards from GMs and ministers.

In every posting, Patil applies his desi ‘fundas’ and some engineering tricks to make things easier for the public.

Now it is hoped that General Manager Central Railway Sunil Kumar Sood, who is a retired Brigadier from the Territorial Army (TA), puts up his photo in the olive green uniform with the glittering national emblem and three stars in his cabin, so that his juniors are inspired to fill the seat left vacant by him in the TA, the least-known armed force.

Published in Afternoon Dispatch & Courier on Tuesday, January 13, 2015

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