‘The civil servant who spoke truth to power’.Ramachandra Guha
M.N. Buch, known as the architect of Bhopal, was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2011. He studied economics at Cambridge University before joining the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1957.
He famously wrote five letters to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh-ranging from the deterioration of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to Indo-American relations and how India must not be deferential to the US, and to assert the country’s right to help rebuild Afghanistan.
This book is a collection of twenty articles that have been divided into six major themes, namely the IAS, reforms (police, judiciary and electoral system), economics, social challenges (health, corruption and reservation), and governance and environment. Original and thought-provoking, this is a must-read for those concerned with the idea of India and how change can be brought.
About the Authors
MAHESH NEELKANTH BUCH was an urban planner, statesman and writer who focused on issues of governance and administration in India. He joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1957. An alumni of Pembroke College, Cambridge University, he was Parvin Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School of the Princeton University. He opted for voluntary retirement in 1984, when he was principal secretary with the government of Madhya Pradesh. He founded the National Centre for Human Settlements and Environment in Bhopal and remained its chairman until his death in 2015.
He held several important portfolios, including vice chairman of the Delhi Development Authority, vice chairman of the National Commission on Urbanization, chairman of the Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone Committee of the Government of India and chairman of the Empowered Committee for the New Vidhan Sabha building in Madhya Pradesh.
He received the Aga Khan award for architecture in 1998 and the Padma Bhushan in 2011. Known as the architect of modern Bhopal, he wrote on wide-ranging issues and chalked out the way forward for effective legal and policy implementation. He published a number of books on governance, planning and environment, besides regularly writing for journals and newspapers. He is survived by his wife, Nirmala Buch, and son, Vineet Buch.
N. RAVICHANDRAN retired from Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad in October 2018 after serving there for thirty-eight years. He was also director of IIM Indore from 2008 to 2013. His areas of interest include operations research, operations management and business strategy.