How can Imran Khan have 524 servants?

Khan plans to have only two servants instead of 524 reserved for a sitting premier.

A little history. Grandpops went off to Pakistan (then West Pakistan) to build their Air Force engineering college after independence. Ended up with 33 servants.

So, cook, housemaid, gardener. The gardener needs a boy, the cook a scullery maid, the housemaid an assistant. So there needs to be a laundress, soon we get to the point that we need a cook for the servants. Who needs an assistant, meaning a laundress for the servants, who then needs an assistant and……that’s how two people need 33 servants.

11 comments on “How can Imran Khan have 524 servants?

  1. Anyone who’s read C Nothcote Parkinson or been in a business that’s grown very quickly won’t be surprised by your example.

    My own favourite was what was to become Orange. I joined not long after they had won the licence and was building the organisation. They hadn’t acquired any sites and even if they had they wouldn’t have been able to equip them because none of the telecoms manufacturers had got the GSM standard working, let alone started manufacturing the base stations, BSCs or switches needed to make the system work. It was going to be another 4 years before they could launch.

    Despite that they had more marketers and sales people than engineers and site acquirers. When Hutchison Whampoa bought it not long after I joined they had a massive and brutal cull, just before Christmas. IIRC over half the staff were made redundant and then they started a massive recruitment campaign for the skills they needed.

    My view is that the skills were needed in the regions but most of the recruitment was controlled at HQ in Bristol where heads of marketing and sales had a direct line in to HR.

  2. Tend to recall we had a cleaner, cook and a nanny when we lived in India in the early sixties. However we did live in an expat compound (glorious Calcutta) so the gardeners didn’t count. Also I was only 3 so there might have a been a few spare lying around somewhere…

  3. No doubt a certain number of them are ‘Security’, which being a 24/7 occupation needs multiples so that they can work in shifts.

  4. An old biddy I knew, returned from India in 1945. She said “Of course the servants stole things. But then again, we didn’t pay them anything…..”

  5. Imran Khan isn’t having 524 servants, that is what previous premiers were entitled to. How many of the servants were pre-pubescent boys and girls?

  6. Hotels in India used to have a boy whose sole role was to pass you your bill after the receptionist had pressed ‘print’.

    NN and DocBud: very droll!

  7. Grotesque over-manning is a feature of low-capital, low-productivity economies. In fact, to a large extent, they cause each other. When I was first in Costa Rica, to buy something in a hardware store, you asked the floor bod, who wrote it on a chitty and passed it to the warehouse bod who got it off a shelf in the back and gave you an invoice, which you then took to the cashier bod or bodette and paid, who then gave you a receipt which you took to another warehouse bod who gave you the stuff the first warehouse bod had fetched from the back. You don’t see that anymore except in places selling trouserable, high value bits and bobs like computer peripherals, and that’s to stop wastage more than anything.

  8. Depends what you define as staff as opposed to servants. The Executive Office If ghe President in the USA employs about 1900; of those about 500 are employed in the White House. Now many are security staff, others ushers, tour guides, chefs, switchboard operators, florists, barbers etc – but which are servants, and who pays them?

    Whilst the number of “servants” goes down, I doubt the number of staff will – just their titles and direct employers – and with the state still picking up the bill.

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