Discovery of Truth and Nothing but Truth: Memoirs of a Civil Servant
Discovery of Truth and Nothing But Truth: Memoirs of a Civil Servant’ is not an autobiography in the conventional sense. It is primarily an issue based work. It is about a few facets in the life and career of a sensitive author spanning over 50 years (1964-2014). These have been woven around issues of land to the tiller, creation of a literate and learning society, elimination of indebtedness and bondage, custodial and juvenile justice, poverty and economic backwardness of KBK region in South Odisha, industrial sickness, migration, a few dimensions of human rights and social justice with truth as the pole star. It is also about the trials, tribulations and vicissitudes in the life of an honest and upright civil servant who placed service to humanity above self, did not mince towards when it came to stand up and revolt against tyranny, injustice and oppression and always adopted and unconventional and unorthodox approach to deal with genuine issues of human concern with total empathy and sensitivity to offer solace and relief to those who needed them most.
The book apart from these revelations rests on certain fundamental premises such as:
- There should be no occasion for any conflict of interest between representatives of the people and bureaucracy in as much as both exist for health, safety, morale and total well-being of the people;
- Government may have many organs but in essence it is one indivisible whole which will be known by how it serves the poor and what it delivers;
- An honest and upright officer should not be penalised merely because the conclusions reached by him at the end of an inquiry are found inconvenient to a particular individual or power centre;
- It is always possible to adopt a systematic and methodical approach, cut down red-tapism and delay and ensure timely justice and relief to the common man for which both government and bureaucracy are jointly accountable;
- It is possible to combine ruthless discipline of a firm and principled administrator with a passionate commitment to relieve the poor of their distress and suffering;
- There is an essential unity in all religions and that unity lies in treating mankind as a united whole despite diversity with love, kindness, compassion and consideration;
- In the ultimate analysis, development to be meaningful has to be pro-people, pro-poor, pro-Nature, pro-gender and pro-children.
The book is essentially about respect for human dignity, decency, equality and freedom and the quintessence of human rights. It deals exhaustively with the consequences of poverty, economic backwardness and deprivation, how to grapple with these forces and eventually overcome them to lay the solid foundation for a just, free, fair, decent and egalitarian social order.
Dr. Lakshmidhar Mishra is a former IAS officer who occupied several important positions including that of Union Labour Secretary in the Government of India and Senior Adviser to ILO. His work in many key social sector projects at the central level as well as in the State of Odisha span from the National Literacy Mission and labour welfare to land reforms and poverty alleviation. As a Commissioner of the Supreme Court he investigated into the working and living conditions of workers in the stone quarries of Faridabad.
After retirement he pursued his commitment to the cause of the marginalized by working for the National Human Rights Commission as Special Rapporteur and as Special Adviser to National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights. Currently he is a Senior Independent Adviser, International Justice Mission, New Delhi an international NGO. He has won many awards for his work including the Nehru Literacy Award and the Mother Teresa Human Rights Award. A prolific writer, Dr. Mishra’s publications include Child Labour in India (1999) and Human Bondage: Tracing its Roots in India (2011).