Former civil servant Rajan Kashyap has come up with another book. ‘Beyond the Trappings of Office – A Civil Servant’s Journey in Punjab’, a memoir by Rajan Kashyap, former Chief Secretary and ex-Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) of Punjab, was released at the Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration (MGSIPA), Sector 26, Chandigarh.
The book was jointly released by Justice SS Sodhi, former Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, and Gurbachan Jagat, former Governor of Manipur.
The book, ‘Beyond the Trappings of Office’ which is set to hit the shelves in a big way, documents the growth story of the state of Punjab, and the good and bad times and the key events to which he was an eyewitness. The book also puts on record the role of the who’s who of political spectrum among others, who shaped agrarian state by pushing unprecedented development for a period spanning over half a century.
The author who retired in 2003, joined the IAS in 1965, making him the youngest Chief Secretary across the country.
Speaking about the book ‘Beyond the Trappings of Office’ on hand he underlined how things had undergone a sea change when compared to the times gone by. Emphasizing the need for a positive approach and synergy especially among those helming the affairs and other stakeholders, he underlined the need for forging a close coordination between civil servants and the police force, a sentiment that was duly endorsed by Justice SS Sodhi and Gurbachan Jagat in their observations.
In an interaction held on the occasion, Prof BN Goswamy, an acclaimed art historian and critic, who joined the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in the 1950s, only to call it quits after a short stint to pursue a career in academics, shared some amusing anecdotes surrounding the work ethics of the bygone era. He said mutual coordination between those who mattered in the scheme of things was a key to unlock bigger problems, no matter how complex they might be.
Another prominent panelist Brigadier Sukhjit Singh, a former Maharaja of Kapurthala estate and an erudite thinker, presented his perspective of governance during the times gone by. He painted an interesting picture of governance in the erstwhile state of Kapurthala, saying it had been a smooth run with prejudice towards none. What all we need to do is to work harder and move on to achieve the envisaged aims and objectives, he made a point.
Sanjeev Chopra, former director of Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, pointed out how modern age civil servants were turning way more professional than their counterparts in the past. He said civil servants must write down for posterity about the happening events as they were participants in the evolving history.
Former Education Secretary to Government of India Vibha Puri Das said human considerations played a pivotal role in the discharge of one’s bureaucratic obligations to deliver in the right earnest. She also shared her encounters with the political big wigs, which had been quite amusing, she quipped.
Anirudh Tiwari, Director General, MGSIPA, said better human resource management, skill-specific training apart from eternal values of compassion, empathy, justice and fair play were crucial, adding that the ultimate aim of the civil servant should be the delivery of timely justice and fair play. Former IAS officer Vivek Atray conducted the panel discussion.
(The writer, Ramesh K Dhiman, is a former staffer of The Tribune and freelancer. He has written extensively for leading newspapers and magazines on art, culture, mythology, besides travelogues.)