Public Sector

Vignettes from my Tanzanian Experience

Bapu Satyanarayana, born 1932 in Bangalore, retired as Chief Engineer, Ministry of Surface Transport. At present, he is the presiding arbitrator of the Dispute Adjudication Board appointed by the National Highway Authority of India. He lives in Mysore and enjoys writing for various newspapers and magazines on all sorts of subjects, including politics and civic issues.

I went to Tanzania on foreign assignment in 1975. When I reported for duty at Dar-es-Salaam, I asked for a white sheet so that I could hand in my joining report. The duty officer looked quizzically at me and said there is no need for any formal report and that he had seen me in person. He merely recorded my presence in his register. That was my first surprise. Totally different from India.

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Destiny triumphs over fate

Bapu Satyanarayana, born 1932 in Bangalore, retired as Chief Engineer, Ministry of Surface Transport. At present, he is the presiding arbitrator of the Dispute Adjudication Board appointed by the National Highway Authority of India. He lives in Mysore and enjoys writing for various newspapers and magazines on all sorts of subjects, including politics and civic issues.

This is my story of triumph when death was waiting at the corner to escape as soul soaring to the unknown to join the hierarchy of souls (Same Soul, Many Bodies by Brian Weiss) and leaving the body to be interred with the earth but for a benign and unknowable power that shapes our destiny. I was inspired to tell my tale by the account of Dr. Javeed Nayeem under the caption A Stent for the Stuntman in Star of Mysore, January 2015.

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Alwar and my childhood

Prakash Chand Mathur (1940–2015), nicknamed ‘Titi’ by his dadi and called ‘PC’ by his friends was born in Alwar, a constituent Princely State of the Rajputana Agency since 1832, on June 1, 1940 in a diasporic family of civil service Kayasthas drenched in the Mughal-Muslim culture of Old Delhi. He retired from a senior academic position at the Department of Political Science, University of Rajasthan. After retirement he kept up a continuing passion for academic activity ‘To see Rajasthan better, To make Rajasthan better.’

The twilight of what was once referred to as “Indian India” (in contrast to “British India”) had already arrived when I was born in 1940 in Alwar.

A small but prosperous Princely State which came into existence in 1776, Alwar was situated in close proximity of Agra and Delhi, the capitals of the Mughal empire (1526-1858). Yet, it was not so near to Delhi; its large population of rebellious communities always foiled Mughal plans for extension of imperial control. The British “Company Sarkar” as well as post-1858 Crown Representatives also left Alwar well alone. Alwar (unlike, say, Udaipur Mewar, Jodhpur, Marwar, Kota, Haduoti and other Princely States of Rajputana Agency) was always open to change.

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