Goodbye to all that
Remember you read it here first! Our man in Thimpu, Pavan K Varma, has resigned from the Indian Foreign Service to fling himself wholly into public life and to what seems to many as his real love – writing. Varma has just finished his new book “Chanakya’s New Manifesto – To Resolve the Crisis within Modern India” which will come out in January next year. The process of writing the tome perhaps also helped crystallise his decision to put in his papers and seek greater involvement in the themes that he holds dear in public life.
It is difficult to pin down Pavan Varma’s many achievements in the manner of a regular career graph. There is of course the diplomat who, after joining the Indian Foreign Service in 1976, rose through the ranks to become an Ambassador. But along the way he grew the more familiar persona of a sharp and insightful author of such well-known books as “The Great Indian Middle Class” (1998) and its sequel, “Maximise Your Life: An Action Plan for the Indian Middle Class” (2000), and dozens of others. Pavan may well be one of few remaining Renaissance figures in contemporary Indian culture (and in the often moribund world of bureaucracy). From introducing the renowned Urdu poet Ghalib to an English-speaking audience to discussing the havelis of Old Delhi, Pavan has come to epitomise the antithesis of the babu that few others could manage.
In a sense Pavan is retiring while he’s at the top of his game, a lesson perhaps for others in the vast babudom who are contemplating similar moves – often with good reason and hopefully with good effect. While “Dilli Ka Babu” does know about the possible landing spot within the political firmament that Pavan has in mind, as is our well established norm, sometimes we choose to keep silent, because after all sources like you, dear babus, are ultimately the resources we depend upon crucially.
Renu Sharma, a 1988 batch AGMUT cadre IAS officer currently posted in Mizoram as Secretary, Finance and Planning, has been named to take over as Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) in the Indian embassy in Brussels. However, her appointment is subject to the condition that she will rejoin her cadre at the end of her tenure.
Meanwhile babus looking for foreign postings have reason to hope. At present there are two ‘heavyweight’ vacancies in Europe meant for IAS and other ‘A’ category service officers. One is for the post of counsellor in the Indian Mission at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva while the other is for Advisor on Agriculture at the Embassy in Brussels. Not surprisingly the Government is expecting to be inundated with applications!