Those were The Days My Friend: Reminiscences of a Civil Servant

Samir Kumar Ghosh

Rs. 600 Rs. 510 In Stock

The title of the book Those Were the Days, My Friend is the oft-repeated refrain in a popular English song of yesteryears.

The book is a collection of anecdotes of a civil servant from pre-independence times until the late 1970s, letting in the reader to discover little known facets of public administration in India which have shaped the ethos of our system of governance. The period it spans is formative not only for Bihar, which is the locale of the narrative, but also for other states and the central government in the process of their evolution. Many of the events described here would draw parallels with incidents that occurred elsewhere in different settings, but the discerning reader will not fail to identify the similarities.

The book describes in some detail the insidious influences of caste in administration, the propensity of the political executives to place personal gain over public good, the growing trend among politicians to meddle in routine administrative functions and their disappointment with upright civil servants who resisted their stated or unstated desires. The chapter on the Ramgarh Affair is particularly telling for the depth to which public administration had fallen.

The decline in norms of ethical conduct that began in Bihar has slowly but surely spread its tentacles far and wide. The author is almost prophetic in asserting that the rot that set in in Bihar in the 1960s not only consigned Bihar to the ‘Bimaru’ basket—together with Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh—but was also the harbinger of the sharp descent on the national stage.

The story needs telling, as TSR Subramanian says in his Foreword—and N.K. Singh adds: “It is a valuable account for political and economic historians”.

Samir Kumar Ghosh Samir Kumar Ghosh was born in Madhepura, Bihar, in 1918. After a brilliant academic career, securing first position in the first class and gold medals in both the B.A. and M.A. examinations in History of Patna University, he joined the provincial civil service in 1942 and was subsequently inducted into the 1948 batch of the Indian Administrative Service.

After an eventful career in the field administration and state secretariat, he took voluntary retirement from the IAS in 1974 and spent the next four years as Chairman of the Tripura Public Service Commission.

In his retirement years he was a member of the Jamshedpur Riots Enquiry Commission and offered voluntary service as President of the Bihar Bengali Association and Secretary and Vice Chairman of the Yogoda Satsanga Mahavidyalaya in Ranchi.

His variegated interests in literature, music and the performing arts invested him with a multi-faceted persona.

Contents

► Foreword
► Filial Tribute
► Prologue
► Initiation and Some Foretastes
► Independence and Some Early Trends
► My First Sub-division: A Package Deal
► The Golden Years
► The Descent Begins
► Scenes from the District: Factions in Action
► Kosi Project Department: Some Rare Experiences
► The Night Descends
► United Front Government: The Ramgarh Affair
► Some Experiences of the United Front Government
► First President’s Rule: A Succession of Governments
► From Pillar to Post
► The Land Beautiful and Endless Exploitation
► Waves Upon Waves and a Happy Ending
► In Far Away Tripura: A Fitting Epilogue

 

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