HarperCollins announces the publication of an unsparingly honest and forthright memoir

NEW DELHI, April 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — HarperCollins is proud to announce the publication of an unsparingly honest and forthright memoir, An Intent to Serve: A Civil Servant Remembers by Tejendra Khanna. The book will be releasing on 12 May 2022.

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In a long and distinguished career as a civil servant, Tejendra Khanna served, most notably, as Chief Secretary of Punjab, Secretary of the Union Ministries of Food and Commerce, and Lieutenant Governor of Delhi (twice). In An Intent to Serve, along with the highs and lows of other prominent postings, Khanna writes extensively about his tumultuous years as LG, Delhi, with two Chief Ministers—Sahib Singh Verma and Sheila Dikshit—and the at-times-fraught relationship between the two offices. Unsparingly honest and forthright, he also talks about the law-and-order problems in the capital, including the serial bomb blasts and subsequent Batla House encounter in September 2008, and the horrific Nirbhaya case in 2012, as well as the challenges faced while organizing the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010.

As a member of the Yoginder K. Alagh Commission constituted to propose changes in the recruitment to the higher civil services, including the Indian Administrative Service, he offers candid observations on the significant shortcomings in the services, and the ways in which Indian democracy’s ‘steel frame’ can be strengthened.

An Intent to Serve is an insider’s look into the workings of Indian bureaucracy, with fascinating details about the way government business is transacted on the ground—the politics, the pressures, the lack of resources—and the constant balance a civil servant must maintain while trying to get things done.

In An Intent to Serve, I have shared several examples culled from my own experience, of the positive and public welfare-oriented use of powers vested in the civil services. They demonstrate how a civil servant can use his or her position to advance the public good and provide legitimate relief to fellow citizens, while staying true to the core values of honesty, courtesy and equity, and refraining from any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed or religion. Reading this book can provide a measure of reassurance to our countrymen regarding the potential for better outcomes from our systems of public governance and public service delivery.–  Tejendra Khanna, the author.

For most Indians, government is either a largely inaccessible yet dominating power that impacts crucial aspects of their lives or it is a convenient punching bag for whatever is wrong in the country. Few of us understand how government actually functions. Tejendra Khanna has had an exemplary career in the Indian Administrative Service, one that was inspired by the words in the book’s title. By talking candidly about his own life in government, he provides us with a rare insider’s view into how it is possible for an upright civil servant to function without fear or favour, and work for the greater good. –  Swati Chopra, Executive Editor, HarperCollins Publishers India.

About the author:

Tejendra Khanna is a 1961-batch IAS officer. He was Chief Secretary, Punjab, during 1991–92 and conducted the 1992 assembly elections as Chief Election Officer, which brought back an elected government in the state after a long period of President’s Rule. He also held important positions in the Government of India—as Commercial Counsellor, Indian High Commission, UK (1975–77); Chief Controller Imports and Exports (1989–91); Secretary to Government of India, Ministry of Food (1992–93); and Commerce Secretary (1993–96). On his retirement in 1996, he was appointed the Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi and served in this capacity up to April 1998. He served as Delhi’s LG once again from 9 April 2007 to 8 July 2013.

About HarperCollins Publishers India

HarperCollins India publishes some of the finest writers from the Indian Subcontinent and around the world, publishing approximately 200 new books every year, with a print and digital catalogue of more than 2,000 titles across 10 imprints. Its authors have won almost every major literary award including the Man Booker Prize, JCB Prize, DSC Prize, New India Foundation Award, Atta Galatta Prize, Shakti Bhatt Prize, Gourmand Cookbook Award, Publishing Next Award, Tata Literature Live Award, Gaja Capital Business Book Prize, BICW Award, Sushila Devi Award, Prabha Khaitan Woman’s Voice Award, Sahitya Akademi Award and the Crossword Book Award. HarperCollins India has been awarded the Publisher of the Year Award four times: at Publishing Next in 2015, and at Tata Literature Live! in 2016, 2018 and 2021.  HarperCollins India also represents some of the finest publishers in the world including Egmont, Oneworld, Harvard University Press, Bonnier Zaffre, Usborne, Dover and Lonely Planet.

For more information, please write to Aman Arora at [email protected]

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