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Madhav Godbole, Union Home Secretary, had to seek premature retirement in March 1993, nearly eighteen months before he was due to do so. This event was widely reported and extensively debated in the media.
Ending all speculation, the author, for the first time, narrates in his memoirs the events that prompted his decision to resign from government service. In a narrative that is both candid and absorbing, the author, a civil servant known for his integrity, takes the reader behind the scenes, to the world of Indian bureaucracy and realpolitik.
Tracing his career from his days as Assistant Collector in the districts of Maharashtra, Madhav Godbole gives the reader an honest and meticulous account of his association with the Indian Administrative Service. In his long and eventful career, the author experienced the perils and pitfalls of opposing a minister’s say in the award of contracts and of antagonising the powerful house of the Ambanis. He recounts the days of the Emergency, when certain politicians were bent on subverting the Constitution, making senior civil servants pawns in the game of power-brokering. The book also takes the reader through the painful events that led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid, and its aftermath. While commenting analytically on the world of Indian politics, he shows an insider’s concern and dismay at the dilution of standards and norms in the civil services.
The flows and counterflows of the narrative between the world of bureaucracy and the author’s personal world, make the book both unique and interesting for civil servants, political thinkers, and the general reader.
Madhav Godbole (1936–2022) received his M.A. in Economics from Bombay University (1956); he had an M.A. in Development Economics and Quantitative Programming from Williams College, Mass., USA (1968) and a Ph.D. in Industrial Economics from Bombay University (1976). Having joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1959, the author rose to the position of Union Home Secretary—the post from which he took premature retirement in March 1993. He was Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, and Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India. He also worked with the Asian Development Bank, Manila, the Philippines, for five years as Senior Industrial Economist and Senior Development Policy Officer. In addition, Dr Godbole worked as Private Secretary to Y. B. Chavan, Union Home Minister and Union Finance Minister from 1968 to 1972. He was also Secretary to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra for some time during the Emergency.
During his tenure with the Government of Maharashtra, he worked as Principal Finance Secretary and Chairman of the State Electricity Board.
The author was closely associated and involved with several major national issues, the most prominent being the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.
Dr Godbole was the author of Industrial Dispersal Policies—A Case Study of Maharashtra (1978), Public Expenditures in Maharashtra (1988), and Rural Employment Strategy—A Quest in the Wilderness (1990).