Deepak Gupta’s book is not a quickie, neither to read, nor would it appear, to write, from the diligent research that has gone into it. The best read book in this genre has been Phillip Mason’s The Men Who Ruled India (1954) — a racy account of the British administration in India, by one of […]Read More Book Review : Keeping the barbarians at bay
It is a fashion of the times that officers of the elite Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Foreign Service join political parties and get elected to public office. The civil service conduct rules, which require an officer to be apolitical, no longer apply once (s)he leaves government service. This approach is congruent […]Read More Are elite civil service cadres becoming training schools for politicians?
Our style of governance remains “provincial”. Of course nothing wrong in that. The French, despite being the last word in art, films, fashion and style – and now fighter planes – exult in the provincial core of their culture. The dapper President Sarkozy first became a mayor of a charming French commune – through the […]Read More Babus as default tycoons
Khichdi – Risotto if you prefer the Italian version – is a traditional palliative for Delhi belly. But Delhi’s khichdi style political governance systems are guaranteed to give anybody the runs. So bad is the mess that it is difficult to find out who rules Delhi. The Delhi Government, a contender, appealed against orders of […]Read More Who rules Delhi?
The great Mughals (16th to 18th century) found it more difficult to manage their extended zenanas than to conquer fractious Hindustani kingdoms. The insidious politicking and power struggles of the women in purdah are well known. Less well appreciated are the strength, stability and support that the zenana afforded to the emperor, as a […]Read More India’s elite bureaucrats – unshakably resilient
Last week’s “revolt” by senior income tax officers, meeting in Mumbai, against alleged micro management by the Union Revenue Secretary is unlikely to bother the average citizen. If anything, citizens would welcome glitches in tax collection behind which they can hide. Mind the growing gap But the revolt deserves attention because it illustrates a growing […]Read More The tax collectors’ revolt
A picture is worth a thousand words. Even the Oxford dictionary has conceded as much by admitting the emoji “tears of joy” as the first ever “pic-ord” which sums up the prevailing worldwide emotion of relief at even small mercies. This emoji must have resonated with the 10 million employees and pensioners of the Union […]Read More Sarkari pay: Too much love