New Login   

When All Desire Dissolves

Lakhan Mehrotra

By B.S.Das
Tata McGraw Hill, Delhi, 2010, pp. 232, Rs.550.00


Writing Memoirs is not an easy undertaking, especially for one who is well past 80 when human faculties become frail, the will falters and memory fades. Layers over layers of experience stored in the consciousness get dusty and vague, emotions overtake rationality and a realistic reading of one’s own past becomes difficult. One tends to be more subjective than objective as age advances. However, that is obviously not the case with Mr. B.S.Das, author of Memoirs of an Indian Diplomat. His rendering of his life’s ups and downs in a world that itself is in a constant flux is very faithful, driven as it is by a sharp memory, intellectual honesty and a touch of humility which help in discerning the kernel of truth from a confused mass of detail. His subtle sense of humour further lends to his tale a special flavour, making his Memoirs all the more attractive. B.S. Das was born in the mid-twenties of the last century in a traditionally Provincial Civil Service family in Uttar Pradesh. His grandfather had entered the PCS in 1865, not much after the British Government took control of East India Company’s governance structures and converted the territorial gains of the latter into the most important colony of the British Empire. His father followed suit as also his three brothers out of ten siblings his father had, but Brij aspired for something higher. He joined the University of Allahabad in 1942, the year of the Quit India Movement and plunged himself headlong into it. Even as he was completing his Masters in Political Science in which he topped the list, he was selected for the Indian Air Force and later for the Indian Army but he declined to join them. Instead, with the help of his father’s contacts in British circles, he joined the BurmahShell, one of the most prestigious British companies of the time. However, soon enough he quit it finding himself totally out of tune with its burrahsaheb culture. Das returned to his alma mater for yet another Masters degree, this time in International Affairs. When the doors opened for all India services in 1948 post India’s Independence, he competed for them. He failed to make it to the IFS, his dream service, by a few marks but qualified for the Indian Police Service. Even the recommendation of Shrimati Vijaylakshmi Pandit, U.P.’s Chief ...

Table of Contents >>
Please or to Read Entire Article

Free Access Online 12 Back Issues
with 1 year's subscription
Archive (1976-2011)
under construction.