OutLook Web Bureau 20 Nov 2017
According to the publisher, the book is a fresh perspective on the vexed Kashmir problem from the eyes of a career bureaucrat, who spent more than 37 years in the J&K cadre of the IAS trying to understand its people.
Former IAS officer Sonali Kumar, who has served in Jammu and Kashmir for more than three decades, has written a book in which she reveals how she was transferred for not serving biryani to a visiting delegation.
According to the publisher, Manhas Publications, the book — Unmasking Kashmir: A Bureaucrat Reveals — is an outsider’s journey through the labyrinthine innards of the J&K bureaucracy and what an outsider Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer goes through while serving in J&K.
According to the publisher, the book is a fresh perspective on the vexed Kashmir problem from the eyes of a career bureaucrat, who spent more than 37 years in the J&K cadre of the IAS trying to understand its people, solve their problems, and focus on development, than politics, that many of her more successful colleagues openly indulged in.
Kumar was the first lady IAS officer to be allotted to J&K cadre with a batch of 1979. In the book, the author has revealed that about a “Biryani Episode” where she was summarily removed from the post of principal resident commissioner J&K Bhawan, New Delhi, for allegedly not serving biryani to a visiting delegation.
Her husband, Dr. Arun Kumar, also in the IAS of 1979 batch who as CEO Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, was at the heart of the “Amarnath Controversy” in 2008 that almost split J&K in two.
The book promises juicier scandals such as chief secretary hosting Hurriyat meetings at his official residence. Also, how a serving deputy commissioner embezzled Rs 8 crore of government of India funds, and when discovered, “disappeared” along with his PSO (Personal security Officer), driver, and official vehicle.
How a clerk in the legislative assembly of J&K rises to be the chief secretary and succeeds in creating a parallel cadre to the IAS without even a murmur of protest from GOI.
How a serving chief minister claims he is separated from his wife, but the J&K govt. still keeps on spending crores on the electricity, rent and sundry other bills incurred on the residence that his wife continues to occupy.
How an IAS officer is arrested by the CBI, jailed, then released because all witnesses and victims turned “hostile”, and later becomes chief secretary.
How bribes are sought and taken, and why, therefore, the only industry that flourishes in J&K is the “transfer industry”.
How VVIPs descend for sight-seeing and shopping in J&K in the chapter “Shopping with the President’s Daughter”.
All such incidents are narrated in the book, which is also named as Outsider’s Curse.