Harish Jharia

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08 September 2012

Sycophancy (चापलूसी) : the Dirtiest Practice Followed in Indian Civic Life

© Harish Jharia

Sycophancy (चापलूसी) is another immoral stigma widely practiced in Indian civic life, after corruption and Indian apartheid of Dalit caste system. The different synonyms of sycophancy are: adulation, obsequiousness, servility, insinuation, flattery, cringe, blarney, blandishment, खुशामद, चापलूसी, चमचागिरी, चाटुकारिता, जीहुजूरी, ताबेदारी, लल्लोचप्पो etc.

We find sycophants in all the fields of civic life like politics, film industry, government offices, corporate offices, sports & games, society and now on internet also.

Sycophancy on Internet:

Let me start from Internet sites where the users are paid for their postings like articles, reviews, referrals and expert comments. In these sites the webmasters, site coordinators, senior editors and moderators are also the beneficiaries of the payment granted by the sites. If you are a common user you might earn about 500 to 700 rupees a month, provided you work full time for the site. Nevertheless if you are a sycophant and keep the above mentioned officials in good humor, you will be elevated to the post of an editor or moderator or even to a yet better position depending on the level of the sycophancy practiced by you. 

Once you become an admin guy, you will be empowered to grant payments to the users and to the admin guys for their postings. At this stage you will have to become a part of some gang of the admin guys the job of which would be to take care of the payment granted to one-another. If you are a sycophant you might get double or triple the amount, a common user gets for an article of say 700 words and of a particular quality.

You would experience the worst part of this sycophancy if you happen to be an intellectual. Your articles would be evaluated by a class 10th school boy appointed as an Editor.  He will grant you a marginal payment as less as Rs 10 for your articles and might sometimes reject your creative work or even delete your post on the pretext of being a spam. This happened to me while working with more than one internet sites those I left three years back.  

Sycophancy in Bollywood: 

Sycophants enjoy the best possible treatments and contracts in the film industry in India. Most of the Bollywood celebrities including film stars, directors, music directors and choreographers use to favor their favorite people who keep them in good humor by practicing sycophancy. 

Casting couch is also a filthy form of sycophancy that is practiced in the showbiz in India. There are many cases of different female artists who kept attached to some celebrity or the other, for most of their lives and usually cross their marriageable age. The lives of these women usually end-up in being unmarried for the rest of their lives. Some lucky women out of them, of course, get married to the aged celebrities. Yet, only few of them are lucky enough to become mothers in their lifetime. 

Sycophancy in Politics:

The Indian political sector is the safe haven for sycophants. Indian politics is peculiar in nature and different from that in the rest of the world. Here, the political sector is dominated by wealthy people like former kings, royalties and village heads. There are other politicians who are big businessmen and rests of the leading politicians are wealthy professionals like lawyers, doctors and former civil servants and service personnel from armed forces. They may or may not have experience and qualification in Political Science. 

These politicians are financially strong and usually establish their own political parties. They lead the parties and become the heads of the governments whenever their parties come to power. They always continue to be the Presidents of their parties and keep the treasury of the party under their own control.

There are instances of popping up of factions in the parties. The factional feuds are usually settled by sharing power (grabbing ministries of profitable portfolios in the governments). Nevertheless, if a particular party is not in power, the factional feuds end-up in formation of a new political party under the leadership of a politician who controls a substantial share of the party’s treasury. The numbers of supporters of any politician depend on his share in the party’s treasury under control of that politician. 

These political leaders command enormous powers, so much so that, they can do anything, any time in the party that is possible under the sky.  Obviously they become godfathers for their supporters. The stature of godfathers leads to emergence of sycophancy in political parties. Almost all the politicians other than the family members of the godfather and a few exceptions will have to become sycophants for their survival in politics. 

There are many instances when personal secretaries of godfathers become leaders overnight. There are instances of reporters of press or electronic media also, who turn into power-brokers and eventually become cabinet ministers and chairmen of organizations like sports authorities, simply following the path of sycophancy. 

Sycophancy plays the main role in encouraging dynastic rules of political families in India. In India there are many families of politicians that are continuing in power for many generations, at the all the levels of democratic governments like Panchayat, Municipality, Corporations, state governments and at the level on government of India. 

Sycophants play dynamic roles in projecting and promoting the sons and daughters of the godfather politicians. The offspring of these godfathers need not make efforts or struggle in the least before they are appointed National General Secretaries of their political parties.

The sycophants then shout slogans in support of the sons and daughters of the godfathers to join the governments as ministers and ensure that they (sons or daughters) become part of the government. After becoming ministers these sons and daughters then have to just wait and watch without making any efforts to become the Chief Ministers or Prime Ministers.

Sycophancy is such a powerful tool with the help of which a man or woman of average intellect, minimal education and common persona can become the head of a government as Chief Minister or Prime Minister in India.

Public servants becoming ministers from IAS, IPS and IFS cadres, has become so very common in India because, by doing so, they are rewarded for their services rendered to the governments in power during their tenures in government services. All the above examples are the cases of sycophancy; because the benefits enjoyed by these people are not based on their qualification, quality and compatibility.  

Sycophancy is also practiced in other fields like government services, corporate offices, Manufacturing and production units, educational institutions and in many other organizations where people have chances to achieve success out of the way and just by following sycophancy. 

Sycophancy is as harmful, dangerous and deadly as corruption and terrorism are. Many incompetent people have grabbed key positions in the highest echelons of various sectors of Indian governance and corporate sector. India will have to strive yet harder to remove sycophants from the key positions and replace them with right people who deserve to achieve that position. 



  1. I have changed 24 jobs in 24 years as every organisation I joined faced this menace of Chamchagiri.