I am usually not a person who would take up a New Year resolution. However, this year I wanted to be very keen on resuming my interest in reading books. One of my dearest friend, suggested me to start by a book written by the Pavan. K Varma titled Being Indian. Now, there might be many reviews over the internet to access. Nevertheless, I personally took the agony in writing one, because the book turned out to be one of the most brilliantly written piece of work that explains and splice every essence of being an Indian.

Let me be very short and crisp about my article today. The behavioural sycophancy of every Indian explained in the book took all the attention. Flipping pages after pages hysterically giggling and smiling over every analysis – the communicative outline of a sycophant in India won all my appreciation. Allow me to quote the exact quote –

Chadte sooraj ko sab salaam karte hain’ – Everyone salutes the rising sun. If hierarchies are secure and unchallenged, the person at its pinnacle, and those who are perceived to be within his orbit, receive unquestioned loyalty. Once again Tulsidas puts his finger on the pulse: ‘Samartha kar nahin dosha gusain, ravi pavak sursari ki nahin: The powerful can have no faults; they remain as pure as the sun, the fire and the Ganga.’ But when the hierarchy unravels, there is unmistakable glee at the discomfiture of the fallen.”

To those who do not know what sycophancy is, it is an insincere behavioural pattern to arguably win favours with someone higher in social status or authority. For a kid, it can be a teacher’s pet, for an employee it can be a boss’s pet. A sycophant is anyone who goes by the YES MAN concept at work or anywhere who bluntly agrees to whatever hocus-pocus a boss addressed without even countering its core basis. The author in the book says, the pursuit of this behaviour comes because of the hierarchy of power. True! In a society like India, sycophancy is a socially acceptable goal to offer loyalty to the absolute in power. The proclivity of sycophants in an organization is created for the thirst of social acceptance in terms of status that comes with pride, honour, and again the power of position.

Personally speaking, sycophancy has my utmost annoyance and I dislike any such practices revolving around me. With all the professional experience I have gained so far, sycophancy had never rewarded me with anything but a mockery to my self-respect. Although I had seen many such narcissistic behaviour throughout my life, I always tend to stay aggressively away from them.

This book is a stark reminder of my journey so far in the ocean full of pathological sycophants. I laughed with all the unbiased analysis of Indian characteristics in the every sentence written with absolute accuracy. It is a rare read to witness an author not just wanting to sell his book for mere money, rather to give a highly informative knowledge to all those to wishes to know what being an Indian in the 21st century is. Lastly, Varma spoke about many such “Indian” issues and elaborated many incidences from his own life. Although those chapters were a bit lost in its own world, however the topics he chose were beyond any extraordinary measures. Once again, the little pleasurable hilarity I had at the episode of sycophancy won my heart with nothing but admiration.


–         Dr Ashwani Lochan

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