Name: Soliloquy of a Small Town Uncivil Servant
Author: K K Srivastava
Publisher: Rupa Publication
The civil services exam or the IAS is the most coveted service in the country and is eyed by lakhs of young men and women in the country every year. With the 2019 results having been declared early last month and the prelims for the next session scheduled in June, UPSC is the talk of the town now.
Soliloquy of A Small Town Uncivil Servant by K K Srivastava who joined Indian Audit & Accounts Service in 1983 and is currently working as Director General in the Office of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India, New Delhi, sheds light on the real life as a civil servant breaking myths of the lal batti and introducing readers to the ground realities of government service in India.
“Power has its own anatomy, its own patterns. Everywhere it is the same. Either in the real or imagined world.”
As the title suggests, the book is like a soliloquy where it seems that the author is addressing himself while reminiscing the past. The book talks about various taboos like casteism at the highest level of bureaucracy, regionalism, etc. The language flows like poetry. I have a feeling that it might remind some readers of the English August.
At times, the author’s intention seems to be to befuddle readers. A contrary sort of fellow, as least from the evidence of this book, K. K. doesn’t want to be too easily or too quickly understood. He wants to provoke reflection, thought and cerebral interaction.
Civil service aspirants might be disappointed reading the book because life after all won’t be as flashy and idealistic after joining the services. However, this memoir or “semi-autobiographical” piece of work as the author refers to it, will be of use to understand the service better and work for those who really want to serve the nation but also has some touch with the ground reality.