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Anil Swarup’s Ethical Dilemmas of a Civil Servant: A moral guidebook for fellow officers

Anil Swarup’s journey to becoming an IAS was long embryonic in his father’s dream of seeing his son in this much hallowed post. This was when Swarup hardly knew what being an IAS meant. But 38 years in service, and his outlook underwent a sea change. This is evident in the last chapter of his first book ‘Not just a Civil Servant’, where he says if reborn, he would choose to be an IAS officer all over again.

“Being an IAS not only provides one with the enormous opportunities to have new experiences but also to do well unto others. Unlike other opportunities this role gives me a choice to do or not to do, a choice which I rarely find anywhere else. For instance, we know about the Rashtriya Sastha Bima Yojana which has impacted more than 35 millions of people. Similarly the best thing about IAS is that it has given me an endless number of opportunities to help people and change numerous lives through my efforts and work,” informs the seasoned IAS.

Anil Swarup IAS

His second book “Ethical Dilemmas of a Civil Servant”:

During the launch of his first book “Not just a Civil Servant”, he visited different countries and as he started visiting the academies and interacting with the officers from different senioritis, he discovered that the officers joining the service remain enthusiastic at the beginning, but as time passes, a sense of dilemma creeps in based on choices and thoughts.

His first book ” Not just a Civil Servant” which got a huge response among fellow IAS officers

“That is when I discovered that it is time, I should address the issue and pen down my thoughts in a structured manner which might help others to comprehend that dilemmas and second thoughts will always be there, but it is our clarity of thought which will determine how to handle situations. The main thing boils down to the fact that, there might be unprecedented situations but if you want to encourage yourself, then push yourself forward and look up to the officers who faced hurdles but did not give up.” advocates Swarup.  

Inspiration behind the book

Inspiration came to Swarup from his interactions with fellow officers whom he met during the professional journey, individuals who were struggling with their choices and dilemmas. “In my second book, the chapter “ethical dth”, talks about the diverse situations I faced and the hurdles I crossed in my journey. I just want to show my fellow officers the path that helped me stay on the right track, the decision to follow or not is solely their own. That said, the fact remains that one cannot blame others for the problems they are facing. The ultimate solution has to be found by individuals themselves; I can only present some guidelines. In fact, the last chapter of my book says, you have to be competent, confident and capable to have the instrument in hand which will help you handle dilemmas and emerge out of it successfully,” puts forth the long-serving officer.

Hurdles and challenges

Hurdles and challenges, as we know, are normal in every field and in every person’s life irrespective of prevailing situations. The important part is to handle the situation and overcome the hurdles. The field Swarup works in is particularly replete with these roadblocks, and often come in the form of political disturbance and interference, fund crunch in implementations of projects, or from the society and its people.

“What happens is you gradually understand the situation and act accordingly. In fact in my second book “Ethical Dilemmas of a Civil Servant”, I have written that if an idea has to be accepted in the country it has to be politically acceptable, socially desirable, technologically feasible, financially viable, and in terms of administration, should be doable and traditionally tenable. Basically, these are not the hurdles, rather the ground reality. Accordingly, one’s language should be curated and articulated in a manner so that it fits in all the above mentioned criteria. Initially, I, much like other officers, also faced difficulty in understanding the politicians’ language and their ways but over a period of time. Then there came a point when I started understanding their limitations and problems and that is when we do not compromise, but try to accommodate and it is always mutual. “What is important is providing adequate solutions which are always technologically feasible,” elaborates Swarup.

He launched his second book ” Ethical Dilemmas of a Civil Servant” for the aspiring civil servants to help them get rid of their dilemmas regarding their choices

Writing books – passion or recreation

Writing is pure passion for this civil servant and he is a regular contributor of articles and columns to different national dailies. “Post retirement the best thing that has happened is, I get a lot of time to read, write, speak and spend the hours of my days fulfilling my wishes,” enthuses Swarup.

Words of wisdom

According to Swarup, the veteran civil servant, there will be times when situations will be tricky and we will lose control over life and things around us, but we must possess enough self control to fall back on. “Every one of us needs to evolve in such a manner, that we do not start blaming others for our circumstances. We need to evolve well as individuals, so that our role as a civil servant can be an exemplary one which makes us a true leader who leads by example,” signs off Swarup

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