Sociological scholars talk in detail about status and broadly classify status in two types- ascribed status and achieved status. While the former comes through birth and hence can't be changed the latter is achieved through individual's recognition by society. For example, male is a ascribed status and for that matter even hot male is an ascribed status, while doctor, engineer, loafer, thug are all achieved statuses. Caste, in India, is the most prominent example of an ascribed status, which some say, was originally an achieved status but later got morphed into an ascribed one. So, if you were the son of a learned scholar who is a brahmin, you would still be a brahmin even if you were far from knowledge. However, this flaw in our caste system has long been realized and decades of struggle to correct this anomaly has resulted in marginal improvement. The struggle is long and although economic and political opportunities are being opened up, social equality is still a far fetched goal.
I was of the view that my being an engineer, or a manager or an officer of the IAS are instances of status achieved through performance and not ascribed to me by birth. But the fraternity that I now belong to convinces me everyday that now I am born in the IAS and nothing can take that away from me. I am asked to protest when other Central Services ask for pay parity because then IAS would lose its edge. And that edge has come to us because we scored more marks than other civil service examinees. It does not matter whether I am a better or a worse officer than my Revenue or Railway colleague. Even the best Revenue Officer or the best Police Officer is a notch below the worst IAS officer - this is what I must believe. Like caste, you cannot become an IAS later in life. You can only be born into it once, through the Civil Services Exam, which like the Swarnagrabha yagna or the Upnayan Sanskar, transforms a common person into an IAS and then that twice-born person becomes different from everyone forever.
I am also to feel superior to all private sector professionals. A consultant at McKinsey or a manager at Google cannot be seen as better than me, because he doesn't know how to build toilets in a village or how to manage five MLAs of different political parties. And hence I am "entitled" to all the top Policy making positions in the government. Why can't the McK or Google guy do that? Because he wasn't born into this caste. And one cannot change his caste by just being smart, right? Hence whenever someone allows a low caste person to a reputed temple, we should protest and say, "How can you allow lateral entry at Joint Secretary level? He is not even born as a Brahmin, how can he touch the idol of the God?" And we must protect our turf come what may, or else as Brigadier Pratap says in the movie Shaurya, "these termites will devour us". These central services, state services, these private sector guys, these NGOs, these low-born individuals did not wear the Janeu that is given in the Administration Academy at Mussoorie nor did they learn the sacred mantras that are only taught in rural district postings and hence they shouldn't be allowed to disrupt the sacred caste system of the bureaucracy and like the Brahmins who stood firm against the social reformers, the IAS must also stand firm against the so called service reformers. Hail !!