After a hiatus of 13 years, comes a book by Robin Gupta, retired financial commissioner of Punjab. The book, And What Remains In the End — the memoirs of an unrepentant civil servant, was launched at UT Guesthouse on Saturday.
“It is a very open book,” says the author, who had penned A Bouquet of Thoughts before the memoirs. Gupta says, “It’s an autobiographical book that reads like a novel. It captures my long journey as a civil servant while serving in the province of Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab during my terms. But don’t expect it to be revealing any state secrets.
Rather it is very humorous. You won’t feel that it is heavy. It is through jokes that you will come across various things.”
Is it the writer’s great sense of humour then that has brought about the book? “Call it the great sense of absurd,” quips Gupta taking the focus on the undercurrent of the book, which he says is “very sad”.
The tragedy, he says, is how could a country like India, with a rich civilization, has the worst government; people are starving — from UP, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and parts of Punjab.
A huge population of Punjab is addicted to drugs, he says.
“I tried to contribute wherever I could — whether it was about laying down the principles of eco-tourism or suggesting the government to start an airport police for the civil aviation departments; I gave suggestions to every department. I even wondered where was the need to have 27 financial commissioners,” he says.
“In the book, there is unhappiness about India’s present and apprehension about India’s future,” says Gupta who has dedicated the book to his mother, his guiding force.
Gupta used to live in a village Mogi Nath near Morni Hills. “I stayed there even when I was a government official.”
There is an eagerness to ask this third-generation civil servant if the book talks about his decision of being single. “My grandfather and uncle were also civil servants. It’s a sad thought that the long glorious tradition will end with me. But yes, the book does talk about my personal life,” says Gupta.