By Sabyasachi Amitav
BHUBANESWAR: It must have been a difficult decision for Dr Pradeep K Singh, Director of CSIR-CIMFR, to apologise following outrage over the pictures of Jagamohan repair works of Jagannath Temple in Puri went viral on social media. Despite evidence available on video, the organization maintained that the ‘imprudence’ of one of his colleagues, the photographs taken inside the temple premises were posted on Facebook. Eventually, in the face of persistent public outcry, the Organisation’s head felt that it was better – because it was cheaper- to apologise.
The apology came few hours after Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) chief, Pradeep Kumar Jena wrote to the Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI) demanding an explanation over the issue.
In his letter Singh mentioned that it was due to the ‘imprudence’ of one of his colleagues, the photographs taken inside the temple premises were posted on Facebook.
“I sincerely appeal for the apology on behalf of the Institute, for unintentional act of my colleague. I assure you that we shall take utmost care so that such acts will not be repeated in future,” Singh stated.
Despite being a laudable – and an inexpensive – option, apology remains unpopular because it signifies weakness. In politics, an apology can elevate a leader to greatness, but few have the courage to take the risk for fear of looking weak or losing face. It is more expedient to let a dispensable head roll when a mistake comes to light. Usually, it is a civil servant on whom the responsibility can be fixed. In cases where a bureaucrat is indeed responsible for a bad decision or policy, it is pointless to exact an apology. A civil servant, on his part, doesn’t apologise and expects to be defended by colleagues and underlings.
In the world of business, apology is even more uncommon, partly because an apology does not end the matter. The head of CSIR-CIMFR has apologised but the organisation will have to face a court case as well. May be the apology came too late. Delay dilutes the element of sincerity. They take enormous time to weigh the consequences of an apology, thereby diminishing its effectiveness.
One scientist Sadanand Sharma – who along with the experts ASI and officials of state works department carried out an inspection inside the shrine’s sanctum sanctorum – had uploaded the photos on his Facebook account in September last year.
According to Section 30-A (4-C) of Jagannath Temple Act 1953, devotees cannot take camera into the shrine. When mobile phones with cameras came into the market, the state-run temple banned mobile phones into the shrine. Violation of the Act is a punishable offence and attracts imprisonment up to two months and Rs 1,000 fine.