The incident happened with a deputy collector when I was posted as Branch Manager at Deoghar Branch of SBI between 1993-95, a district HQ Branch having staff strength of 80+. Have you heard the name of Deoghar? Those who are from eastern part of the country, they should know the place but people from other parts of the country may not be aware. It is famous for a temple of Lord Shiva. It is one among the twelve Jyotirlinga temples in the country. About this Jyotirlinga, there is a story, as follows:
Ravana through his continued prayer satisfied Lord Shiva who in turn, agreed to go with Ravana to Lanka with a condition. As per that condition, Ravana would not put Him on earth during the entire journey but if he failed to do so, He would not move further and stay back there. As we all know, Lord Vishnu who runs the World, had His own plan. Accordingly, He took that opportunity to squash Ravana’s plan. He instructed God Varuna to enter Ravana’s abdomen. The result was instantaneous as Ravana felt nature’s call. He was at his wit’s end and didn’t know what to do with Lord Shiva on his head. But luckily enough for him, he found a Brahmin boy (Lord Vishnu in disguise) coming towards him. On his request, the boy became ready to hold Lord Shiva till such time Ravana came back. Ravana started reliving himself but without an end. By the time he came back, nobody was visible there and what he found was that Lord Shiva was on the earth. He tried to take Him out but in vain. In utter frustration, he put a huge blow on the Shiva Lingam. As a result, you will find that almost the entire lingam is inside the earth. It is said that because of urination by Ravana, a huge pond, named Shivaganga, was created at that time.
The mythology apart, I would like to narrate the story that happened with me thereat. It was a Sunday night. Entire day, my wife and myself had a very hectic programme because of fete organised at the behest of Rotary Club of Deoghar. It was drizzling throughout the day. We put a stall for Dosa, Idli, etc. and by the evening, we became very tired. After reaching home, my wife organised some quick dinner and we went to bed at around 10.00 p.m. Around 2.30 a.m., we woke up due to continuous ringing of doorbell. We were completely alarmed as we were staying on the 3rd floor of the Branch (Having Currency Chest) building. Without any clue, at first we thought that there was some attack on the Chest though it was highly unlikely as Superintendent of Police used to stay across the road and Chest was being guarded 24 x 7 by armed Police / Home Guards. As there was no lift in the building, switch of the doorbell was on the ground floor and we could watch the person(s) standing near the entrance from the third floor balcony. I came to the balcony and saw three persons below, one of them being an armed Home Guard. He told me, “Sir, ye sajjan (unko dikhakar) kisi pariksha ki question papers rakhne ke liye aye hain. Hamne bataya ki aavi ye sambhab nahin hai parantu e mante nahin hain.” (Sir, this person (by showing a person) has come to deposit question papers of some examination. We are telling him that it is not possible now but he is not ready to listen.)
Hearing that, I told the person very politely from third floor, “The Chest is handled by two officials who stay in different places. At this point of time, it is neither possible nor advisable to open the Chest as it contains huge amount of currency notes. We can arrange to keep the question papers around 7.00 a.m., at the earliest. Till such time, the vehicle will be kept in the campus of the Branch, being guarded by the armed guards.” As soon as I finished my words, the person became restless and said to me, “Aap niche utariye. Main aapko arrest karunga.” (You come down. I shall arrest you.) I became very much annoyed but by maintaining my cool, I asked him to come upstairs to discuss on the matter. To that end, I dropped the key of the collapsible gate (As there was no lift in the building, frequent going up through staircase was difficult. That was the reason for such an arrangement.). When he arrived, I found him fully drunk. I, however, asked him to take a seat and told him the reason for my inability to keep question papers once again. It appeared that he (a Deputy Collector) became convinced and left the place.
While I understood the reason for the misbehaviour on the part of the person, a few staff members were apparently very much annoyed with the behaviour of that Govt. official (I was wondering how did they came to know about the incident.). They came to my chamber and suggested that we should close down the operation of all three Branches in Deoghar town to protest against the maltreatment meted to me last night. I told them to sit and listen, “We must take some appropriate steps to lodge our protest against the incident but we shall not take any drastic steps by which we may lose public support as they do not know the background. As you know, one needs to be cautious while flying a kite; he should release the thread to the extent up to which he has the control to bring it back.” They understood it and left the decision with me to take appropriate actions.
I then discussed the entire episode with the Superintendent of Police who happened to be a good friend of mine. As suggested by him, I wrote a letter to the Commissioner, Santhal Paraganas Division narrating the entire happenings and a copy marked each to the Deputy Commissioner, Deodhar and SP, Deoghar. I also met the Deputy Commissioner, Deoghar and briefed him about the incident including the sentiments of the staff. He was apparently unhappy and assured me that he would look into the matter and take appropriate action. Meanwhile, I wrote to the SP to change the guards deployed at the Bank premises citing their failure to restrict entry of trespassers into the premises at the dead of night. Whatever be the reason(s), it was a case of dereliction of duty.
I was awaiting response from the DC as the staff members were insisting on some immediate steps to satisfy their sentiments. Incidentally, they wanted an unconditional apology from that Deputy Collector who misbehaved with me. Three days passed in between. The guards were changed by the SP. But DC was trying to resist such change apparently not to highlight the episode. However, on fourth day I got a call from DC. He wanted me to come to his chamber wherein he proposed to call that official to say sorry to me in his presence. It occurred to me that he was not very comfortable to ask that official to beg apology to me for that incident. Anyway, I told him again the sentiment of our staff members and what they wanted. Their demand was that the official would say sorry in presence of 3/4 members of staff. DC said to me, “Let me see”.
Very next day, I got a call from Deputy Development Commissioner (DDC), Deoghar who was a thorough gentleman. He said to me, “Boss, aapke sath aisa unfortunate ghatna ho gayi mujhe pata nahi tha. Mereko DC Sahab aaj hi bataye hain. Aap jaisa chahate hain, main us padadhikari se maafi mangwate hai.” (Boss, I am not aware that such an unfortunate incident happened with you. DC Sahab told it to me today. I will ensure that the deputy collector beg your pardon in the way you desire.)
After another two days, I got a call from DDC around 3 o’clock in the afternoon. He requested me to come to his office along with 3/4 of my colleagues. He also told me, “There will be 2 other government officials present in his office. The officer concerned will say ‘Sorry” to you in presence of everyone present and we all will have a cup of tea and snacks.”
As per the programme, we reached DDC’s office on time. That deputy collector said sorry to me and we shook hands. Then we had a cup of tea and some snacks and left the place with a happy note. In the evening, I got a call from DC when he asked me whether I was happy. I told him yes, I was happy. He then requested me to ensure that the incident should not go to press. I assured him that even though a few Reporters were aware of the incident, they would not write on this. He thanked me and the matter ended there. However, to my utter surprise, Deoghar edition of Hindi Daily “Aaj” covered the entire episode on the front page (spread over half page). I was apprehending a call from the DC and it happened. However, I told him very firmly and politely that I did not have any clue as regards paper coverage. Whether he believed me or not, I do not know even today but I could gather subsequently that it was covered by the News Paper at the instance of SP, Deoghar.
I joined SBI as a Probationary Officer in 1981. Since then, I have worked in various capacities as Branch Manager, Regional Manager and Deputy General Manager at different places. My specialised areas are Credit and General Banking.
I also was Chairperson of Reserve Bank of India Working Group on Evaluation of Feasibility of Aadhaar based Biometric Authentication as Additional factor of Authentication for card present transactions and related issues.
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