7 Memoirs Every Serious IAS Aspirant Must Read

Every once in awhile, it might serve you good to set the customary Lakshmikanths and the BipinChandras aside and slip into reading something less overwhelming (and more encouraging).

Catch up on these memoirs (of sorts) written by civil servants (IAS/IFS/IPS), both old and new and get a sneak peak on “life on the other side of the fence”. Click on the titles to buy them from Amazon.

#1. And What Remains in the End


In an interview to The Hindu, Robin Gupta reminisces

“Bhaskar Ghosh once divided the civil servants into 3 types: nuns, loyal wives and prostitutes, and I agree with him. Nuns are those who keep on doing what is right irrespective of who is in power; loyal wives are ones who pick one party and keep serving it and are ready to suffer for it as well. The prostitutes have no qualms about changing sides.”


#2. The Insider’s View: Memoirs of a Public Servant


Javid Chowdhury tries to give an earnest and evolved picture of his 40 years as a public servant and though he has a neat turn of phrase and some juicy stories, specially the one on three Parsi police officers controlling a riot, it is his integrity and values that come across strongly. Boy! If this was what civil servants were like once, the country was in good hands.

Ref: The Hindu


#3. An Outsider Everywhere: Revelations by An Insider


The book is a compilation of a bureaucrat’s candid revelations about his various tasks, his close brush with politicians, thereby revealing their insecurities and egos and his zest for not toeing the line blindly despite all odds.

Kaw is a 1964-batch Himachal cadre IAS officer, who acquired a wide array of experience in several prestigious departments and retired in November 2001 after putting in 42 years of service.


#4. Walking with Lions

K. Natwar Singh is a well-known author, diplomat and politician. He has been ambassador to Pakistan. He was attached to the office of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from 1966 to 1971.

Shashi Tharoor reviews this book here,

Walking with Lions is his account of his encounters with those remarkable men and women. It is not a conventional memoir but rather a series of vignettes, each of which has previously appeared as a newspaper column. This makes for easily digestible reading.

#5. Not Just an Accountant

Not just an accountant is an incisive, no-holds-barred account of India’s eleventh comptroller and auditor general and a symbol of the anti-corruption movement, Vinod Rai.

#6. Driven: Memoirs of a Civil Servant Turned Entrepreneur

Jagdish Khattar has had an astonishingly diverse career, a trained lawyer who became an IAS officer. He was an agent of change in Uttar Pradesh through his roles as district magistrate, and head of the cement and transport corporations. He also helmed India’s Tea Board in London and played a key role in the steel ministry. Finally, at the age of sixty-five, Khattar turned entrepreneur with Carnation, India’s first multi-brand car sales and servicing network.

#7. Poor But Spirited in Karimnagar

This is an unusual entry to our list but it’s worth a good read because of the theme it explores. In this book, Sumita Dawra recounts her experiences as collector in the district of Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh.

The field notes recount a period between 2001 and 2004 when the author, a 1991-batch IAS officer, was collector in Andhra Pradesh’s Karimnagar district. But analytically, in terms of statistics and argument, the book is up to date.

Ref: India Today

User Avatar

By Root

Caretaker @civilsdaily

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥FREE for 24 Hours Prelims Notes
This is default text for notification bar