The Insider’s View

The Insider’s View

Memoirs of a Public Servant


In this illuminating memoir Javid Chowdhury shares his varied experiences over four decades in the IAS: the years in training when he imbibed the service’s ethos and values; his initiation into the rural universe as the District Development Officer and the District Magistrate; and further on, to his handling of the infamous Bank Securities and Jain Hawala scams as Director of Enforcement and Union Revenue Secretary. With a light pen, Chowdhury describes the changing social profile and attitudes of entrants to the higher civil services; the nepotism, in many garbs, that he encountered as Establishment Officer; and the stranger-than-fiction tortuous investigations of crimes. He also offers his nuanced reflections on the dubious legacy Gujarat acquired as a result of the communal carnage in 2002. Chowdhury further examines how policymaking within government came to be whittled away under the neo-liberal theology, with key scrutiny being left to external expert think tanks and ad hoc groups. As a consequence, he perceives that public accountability came to be inordinately diffused, resulting in the roller-coaster governance that we witness today. Sharp and insightful, replete with telling anecdotes and amusing sketches of icons, colleagues and ministers, The Insider’s View is a compelling portrait of the author, a self-confessed welfare socialist, besides being an X-ray of the innards of the bureaucracy.


324 Pages | ISBN13 9780670085859
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Javid Chowdhury
Javid Chowdhury
"Javid Chowdhury, born in Khambat, Gujarat, in 1942, spent his childhood in Dehra Dun. He was educated at Doon School and St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. Chowdhury has been a career civil servant in the Gujarat cadre of the Indian Administrative Service (1965-2002) and has experience in several key sectors of public administration. He has served as the Union Secretary in the Ministry of Food, Department of Revenue and the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. He lives in retirement with his son and daughter in Delhi. Presently, he is active with NGOs working in the domain of Public Health."
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