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Legacy to Bureaucracy: Musings of an Indian Civil Servant

VP Sawhney
Lancer Publishers & Distributors
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From Amazon: "More than personal memoirs, this book is an excellent commentary on the inflections of pre-independence and post-independence India. The author has a parental legacy that could be an envy of many. It is refreshing to run through the snippets of his father's writings that cover an amazing range of the contemporary environment, his sensitivity to the political developments of the day, and the personal values which he sought to imbibe. Partition again was a watershed for millions in the sub-continent. Many families were made or marred. The author's description of his journey from childhood in Lyallpur (now in Pakistan) to his struggle later as an adolescent is a vivid run of the tragic events that had then unveiled; and his resurgence by and by as a young man of promise in the Brave New World. Much has been said about the unique character of the Indian Administrative Service. The author fills many details about the preparation for the competition; the selection process and the in-house training. The many-sided natures of the assignments handled by him provide rare and absorbing insights into several events and personalities that were involved in the evolving contours of our nation. The author's concern that all was not well with the system is well taken. He cites some disturbing instances of the rapidly shrinking space between the politician and the bureaucracy. Altogether, the book is a very good read. It offers a sumptuous fare for empathy and introspection. Not to miss also the delectable dessert that he offers with the wit quill through the piebald! The author VP Sawhney, more commonly known as Gullu Sawhney, was born in Lyallpur in the Punjab province of undivided India. After Partition, his family migrated from Pakistan to India. He studied at St Stephens College and University of Delhi. After completing his post graduation in Physics, he worked briefly as a Research Assistant with Professor DS Kothari. He joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1958. In a span of over 35 years, he had a variety of postings under the State and the Central government, and also served for some years in the UN system. The diarist in him and his father has ended in this kaleidoscopic compendium of advice, observation and experience. The content is holistic and the relevance is universal. It may have a special appeal for students of contemporary history in politics, and in domestic governance. There is also a broad and sumptuous treat for those who take good wit and humour at its face value."