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Memoirs of public life find space between covers

- Former IAS officer writes book on subjects ranging from the British rule to devastating 1975 floods

They served India during the British raj but they still used to come together once in a while and shared their memories about the country and discussed the issues which they should work for.

They were the members of the coveted Indian Civil Service (ICS), having been re-christened Indian Administrative Service (IAS) after Independence, who worked in Bihar and Odisha (then Orissa). They had set up an association in London and named it Bihar and Orissa Association of ICS (Bacsa).

The revelation about existence of such an association in the UK has been made by retired IAS officer Abhimanyu Singh who had a chance to attend one of the Bacsa meets in 1980 during his visit to England. Singh, who had served as an IAS officer from 1964 to 2000, has mentioned about the association in his soon to be released book, Public Service and Life Beyond.

The book has one chapter dedicated to one Vincent Davies who was Tirhut divisional commissioner posted in Muzaffarpur when India got Independence. The book vividly describes Davies’s association with the state and how he visited India twice — 1971 and 1984 — and ensured to pay a visit to Muzaffarpur.

Davies, who breathed his last in 2000, during his last visit to Muzaffarpur (in 1984), had said something very interesting just before leaving the city after spending some time at the official residence of Tirhut commissioner, where he had lived for many years. “Muzaffarpur, farewell for the third time,” the book says.

“It is not that his association with Bihar was limited to the old memories, rather Davies also tried really hard to ensure that the war cemeteries of pre-Independence era could be kept in good shape,” Singh said.

The book says that during the 1974 Jayaprakash Narayan movement, Munger superintendent of police D.C. Sinha virtually surrendered before the agitating students in Munger who were hell-bent on bringing down the Tricolour from the collectorate building.

“Sinha had been overawed and dumbstruck by the situation, He, in fact, cooperated with the criminals and neatly folded the flag for them. The flag was promptly torn into shreds,” reads the book by Singh, who was Munger district magistrate then.

It also narrates how Saran Singh, who was chief secretary during the 1975 Patna floods, had sent Abhimanyu, a junior officer then, to Patna railway station for bringing some food as the former was in the secretariat right from the morning and had eaten nothing. The book also mentions that local newspapers had stopped publication for almost a week due to the floods.

Singh said: “The serving officers should not be swayed by the whims and fancies of power that be and adhere to the rules. I hope my experience shared through this book would make things clearer to them.”

Singh’s earlier books are Planning for Developing a Backward Economy (1988), Strategy for Development of Backward Regions (1997), Development Administration Challenges (2008) and We Deserve Better Governance (2009).