IAS officers have dedicated themselves to the nation, and the nation expects them to serve it well. This can be better understood through books written by IAS officers. These books provide insights into an IAS officer’s role and how to be an effective civil servant/member.
IAS personnel have written a number of books & reading these books will help you develop a better understanding of what life is like as a Civil Services officer.
You will learn about the daily routines and problems that they face while working towards their goals. You will also learn how they deal with all kinds of situations that may arise during their service.
Any aspirant can study these books to learn more about how the “system” operates. These novels are frequently published by former diplomats and bureaucrats. These publications are highly recommended since they offer unvarnished assessments of what it takes to be an IAS official.
Since the authors of these publications have already walked in your shoes, they are aware of what it takes to succeed in this area. You can increase your knowledge of working as an IAS officer by reading these books.
In this article, we’ve listed the top 13 books for your reference for you to go through & read.
- 1. "Bureaucrazy Gets Crazier: IAS Unmasked" – M.K. Kaw
- 2. "The Honest Always Stand Alone" – C.G. Somiah
- 3. Narendra Jadhav's, "Untouchables: My Family's Triumphant Escape From India's Caste System"
- 4. Bhaskar Ghose's, "The Service Of The State: The IAS Reconsidered"
- 5. Sumita Dawra's, "Poor But Spirited in Karimnagar"
- 6. Vinod Rai, Author of "Not Just an Accountant: The Diary of the Nation's Conscience Keeper"
- 7. "Why I Am Not A Civil Servant" – Ajay Singh Yadav
- 8. "And What Remains In The End: The Memoirs Of An Unrepentant Civilian" – Robin Gupta
- 9. "The Steel Frame: A History Of The IAS" – Deepak Gupta
- 10. "The Insiders View: Memoirs of a Public Servant" – Javid Chowdhury
- 11. "An Outsider Everywhere: Revelations By An Insider" – M.K. Kaw
- 12. "Walking With Lions: Tales From A Diplomatic Past" – K. Natwar Singh
- 13. "Driven: Memoirs of a Civil Servant Turned Entrepreneur" – Jagdish Khattar
- What are some common themes in books written by IAS officers?
- Are these books only relevant to people interested in the Indian government and bureaucracy?
- Are these books mostly written by retired IAS officers?
- Are these books only available in India?
- Can these books be used as study material for the IAS exam?
13 Books Written by IAS Officers
1. “Bureaucrazy Gets Crazier: IAS Unmasked” – M.K. Kaw
This book titled “Bureaucrazy Gets Crazier: IAS Unmarked” sold out within 30 days after its initial release in 1930. From an insider’s perspective, it exposes how civil services function. It discloses the system’s flaws from the highest to the lowest levels.
It got named “Afsarshahi Benaqab”, meaning “officership unmasked” while being interpreted into Hindi and Punjabi. The demand for Bureaucrazy 2 has grown over time. The latest revised edition has 15 more chapters in addition to the original 31 chapters.
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2. “The Honest Always Stand Alone” – C.G. Somiah
Somiah, an IAS official from the 1953 graduating class, left her position as India’s Comptroller and Auditor General in 1996.
This book provides information on Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure as India’s prime minister at that time. This book reveals the exclusive details of the top-level political deliberations of that era.
“The Honest Always Stand Alone” portrays the journey of an individual who remained steadfast in their commitment to honesty, as the title aptly indicates.
It is worthwhile to read this book since it does a great job of describing the fairness and honesty of a civil servant.
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3. Narendra Jadhav’s, “Untouchables: My Family’s Triumphant Escape From India’s Caste System”
Narendra Jadhav was born into a Dalit household & grew to become an IAS official. The problems, adversities, and torture his family experienced are detailed in this book. It also discusses the family’s effort to free themselves from the caste system’s control.
He eloquently depicts his parents’ life and unflinchingly captures the hardships that
untouchables endure, including hunger, severe humiliation, unrelenting fear, and brutal torture.
This eye-opening book, “Untouchables,” tells about the 165 million Dalits in India. The fight for equality for these people is still going on.
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4. Bhaskar Ghose’s, “The Service Of The State: The IAS Reconsidered”
Ghose addresses issues such as the Indian Administrative Service’s applicability and
importance in contemporary India. In this field, he had 36 years of expertise.
This insightful memoir titled: “The Service of the State: The IAS Reconsidered” serves as both a contemporary and compelling argument for a form of government that has significantly impacted India since independence and a depiction of a career of devotion to the state.
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5. Sumita Dawra’s, “Poor But Spirited in Karimnagar”
Between 2001 and 2004, Sumita was in charge of the district of Karimnagar in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
She talks about her time in Karimnagar in the book “Poor but Spirited in Karimnagar“. This book demonstrates the significant disconnect between policy development and actual implementation.
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6. Vinod Rai, Author of “Not Just an Accountant: The Diary of the Nation’s Conscience Keeper”
The 11th Comptroller and Auditor General of India was Vinod Rai.
He exposes the truth about significant frauds including Coalgate, Air India, and the Commonwealth Games in the book “Not Just an Accountant: The Diary of the Nation’s Conscience Keeper.”
Read all about the roles and responsibilities of the Comptroller and the Auditor-General of India in our blog on Article 377 Of The Indian Constitution.
7. “Why I Am Not A Civil Servant” – Ajay Singh Yadav
This book is titled: “Why I am not a Civil Servant” authored by Ajay Singh Yadav. This book has received excellent reviews, including the reality of Indian Civil Services, which has been called one of the best books published by Ajay Singh Yadav, a former IAS official.
Everyone should read it to gain a glimpse of reality.
8. “And What Remains In The End: The Memoirs Of An Unrepentant Civilian” – Robin Gupta
A civil servant who has served in four Indian provinces—Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab—along with a significant amount of time on deputation with the Central Government—wrote this book.
The book titled: “And What Remains In The End: The Memoirs Of An Unrepentant Civilian” offers fascinating insights into the life of an IAS officer.
Readers can learn about the socio-historical and economic changes that have taken place in India over the past 40 years. In this book, a detailed account of an advancing country and the people who have dedicated their lives to helping India is discovered.
It is a thoughtful, philosophical, and historical narrative of India’s development as a country and the crucial part Indian civil officials played in achieving it.
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9. “The Steel Frame: A History Of The IAS” – Deepak Gupta
The book “The Steel Frame: A History Of The IAS” was written by Deepak Gupta. He was the Chairman of UPSC from November 2014 to September 2016, and this is an awesome book that every Aspirant must read.
One of the defining aspects of the time of the British government in India was the growth and function of the Indian Civil Service. The transformation of individuals working for a commercial corporation in a foreign country into the most powerful civil service on the planet is remarkable.
Additionally, it was the first modern public service where hiring was done without favoritism through an open competition. Despite receiving a lot of criticism, it created its own traditions and personality.
It is quite remarkable that a service like this, which has been described as the “steel frame” on which the fortunes and survival of a vast empire depended, has maintained virtually the same structure, traditions, and together with administrative processes created over a generation, into an independent democratic India.
Even though a lot has changed, the Indian Administrative Service still possesses some fundamental traits from the past. In India, the evolution of the political system is a fascinating one.
Deepak Gupta examines developments from history, its present, and the fortune of the IAS in a lecture that is thoroughly researched and detailed. Additionally, he makes some recommendations for how it may reinvent itself to fulfill the significant function that our Constitution’s framers had in mind.
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10. “The Insiders View: Memoirs of a Public Servant” – Javid Chowdhury
Javid Chowdhury discusses his rich experiences from his four decades in the IAS in this insightful book titled “The Insiders View: Memoirs of a Public Servant“.
He recounts his formative years of training, during which he absorbed the principles and ethos of the service, his introduction to rural life as a District Development Officer and District Magistrate, and his subsequent management of the infamous Bank Securities and Jain Hawala scams as the Director of Enforcement and Union Revenue Secretary.
He writes with a light touch as he discusses the shifting social structure and attitudes of recruits to the upper civil services, the nepotism he met as an establishment officer, and the unusual, drawn-out criminal investigations.
Additionally, he provides his nuanced thoughts on the questionable legacy Gujarat gained as a consequence of the sectarian violence in 2002.
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11. “An Outsider Everywhere: Revelations By An Insider” – M.K. Kaw
M.K. Kaw examines his own life, beginning with an article on how he came to have the name Kaw, which in Kashmiri means “crow.” Text laced with fragments of a childhood poem that honored the feats of Delhi truck driver Natha Singh.
He makes reference to the phenomenon that caused some of his younger colleagues to take great pleasure in the moniker “Kawboy” in one of the chapters.
M.K. Kaw, the famous author of the book Bureaucrazy, is renowned for his satirical writing and humorous writing style. Kaw had bravely avoided the urge to preach eloquently to the helpless juniors in the congregation. Instead, he offered humorous aphorisms that were disguised as pearls of wisdom as his closing statement.
No matter what your UPSC Preparation Strategy is, delving into the pages of these books is bound to augment your understanding.
12. “Walking With Lions: Tales From A Diplomatic Past” – K. Natwar Singh
“Walking With Lions: Tales From A Diplomatic Past” is a memoir written by a former Indian diplomat and politician.
The book offers an inside look into the author’s diplomatic career and the major events and international relationships in which he was involved.
Through personal anecdotes and reflections, the author shares his experiences and insights into the world of diplomacy and international relations during his time serving as India’s Foreign Minister and as a representative of India on the global stage.
The book provides a unique and fascinating perspective on the inner workings of diplomacy, as well as the challenges and triumphs of negotiating on behalf of a country at the highest levels of government.
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13. “Driven: Memoirs of a Civil Servant Turned Entrepreneur“ – Jagdish Khattar
“Driven: Memoirs of a Civil Servant Turned Entrepreneur” is a memoir written by Jagdish Khattar, an Indian business leader and entrepreneur.
The book chronicles the author’s journey from his early years as a civil servant to his eventual transition into the business world, where he rose to become the managing director of Maruti Suzuki, one of India’s largest automobile companies.
Throughout the book, the author shares personal stories and reflections on the lessons he learned, the challenges he faced, and the strategies he used to succeed in both the public and private sectors.
He also provides insights into the Indian business landscape and the broader economic and political context in which he operated.
In a Nutshell
As can be observed, memoirs make up the majority of IAS literature. Such memories of the past are significant, particularly as they were written by some of India’s most capable government officers and provide, often unintentionally, insights into the thinking of the administrator.
Civil Service aspirants should read these books as it showcases how the Indian Bureaucracy works.
FAQs about Books Written by IAS Officers
Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about books written by Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers:
What are some common themes in books written by IAS officers?
Many books written by IAS officers offer a behind-the-scenes look into the workings of the Indian government and bureaucracy, as well as the challenges and opportunities faced by civil servants in India. Other common themes include leadership, personal growth and development, and navigating the complexities of Indian politics and society.
Are these books only relevant to people interested in the Indian government and bureaucracy?
While these books can certainly be of interest to those specifically interested in Indian politics and governance, they also offer insights into more universal topics such as leadership, career development, and personal growth. Many IAS officers have had rich and varied careers and life experiences, making their books a source of inspiration and wisdom for a wide audience.
Are these books mostly written by retired IAS officers?
While many books by IAS officers are written by those who have retired from government service, some are written by current or former officers who are still in active service.
Are these books only available in India?
Many books by IAS officers are available for purchase and reading in India, but many are also widely available internationally through online retailers or bookstores.
Can these books be used as study material for the IAS exam?
While these books may offer some insight into the experiences and perspectives of IAS officers, they are not typically used as study materials for the IAS exam itself. Those preparing for the exam are encouraged to study official government resources, textbooks, and other study materials specifically designed for the exam.