Amlar Mon, mind of the bureaucrat, an intimate history of Indian/ Bengali civil services, a book penned by Alapan Bandopadhyay released at the 41st Kolkata International Book fair has created ripples among the intellectuals and readers alike.
People from different age groups particularly younger generation were found browsing through the pages of the book written in most lucid and highly logical language at the stall of Dey's at Kolkata International Book Fair on Thursday evening.
A book written by a bureaucrat in Bengali is not a rare thing. Bankim Chandra and Ramesh Chandra Dutt had written books. In recent past, retired ICS officer Ashok Mitra's autobiography Tin kuri dosh and Tapan Bandopadhyay and Bhagirath Misra's Amlagachi have been accepted well by the readers. But Bandopadhyay's book is not merely an autobiography.
An IAS for the past three decades, he has analysed some important institutions related to bureaucracy. In the past 200 years, Presidency College has produced some of the finest students with brilliant academic record, but only few of them like Bandopadhay are respected for original thinking.
Bandopadhyay became a household name shortly after he joined Anandabazar Patrika as a reporter in 1982. As a young journalist, he was assigned to write the biography of Lady Ranu Mookerjee as a ghost writer.
He took several interviews of Mookherjee who firmly believed that Rabindranath had sketched Nandini after her, the central character of his dance drama Rakta Karabi. Bandopadhyay has raised a question whether Rakta Karabi was Tagore's comment on the setting British bureaucracy.
Bandopadhyay argued that the term "amla" which stands for civil servants should be "banished". The word has been misused and often used "to humiliate the bureaucrats." He felt that the word "amla" can be replaced by "sushil sevak" as used by AKM Abdul Aiual Majumdar in his "Bangladesh Civil Service r itihas".
Bandopadhyay has dealt in details the history of Bengali clerks in the chapter "Sarkari Keranir Antaranga Itish", an intimate history of the clerks in government offices who have been looked down upon for centuries.
As a student of Political Science, he has discussed at length the chapter entitled: "Rastrer Peyada nirman: peon-ardali-chaprashira kibhabe toiri hoye."
Bandopadhyay has described former chief secretary Rathin Sengupta as the "Uttam Kumar of post Independence administration in Bengal."
A student of History of Presidency College, Sengupta like the author had stayed in Hindu Hostel.
A 1955 batch IAS officer, Sengupta was very popular among his service colleagues and juniors and is still regarded in high esteem because of his prudence.
The author through an article has paid tribute to Gurusaday Dutta, an ICS officer, the key person in reviving folk art.
The book is reflection of Bandopadhyay's sharp social sense and during his three decades of service, nothing has escaped the magic of his glance.
Every chapter contains a list of reference books which has added value to the book.