Soul and Structure of Governance in India is a path-breaking work of a profound thinker who has the practical experience of having served the nation as Lt. Governor/Governor for about ten years, Member of Parliament for about fourteen years and Union Cabinet Minister for about five and a half years.
The book builds up, against the backdrop of history and contemporary events, both national and international, a case for an ethical state and ethical governance machinery which rest upon three main foundational planks — a rekindled mind, a reawakened soul and a set of redesigned and revitalized institutions. It underlines that such a state and such a governance machinery alone can enable India to attain its full potential, and if it fails to do so it could soon find itself writing another grammar of anarchy, adding another inglorious chapter to its history of about one thousand years of darkness.
The author underlines: "The task of implementing the blueprint is a formidable one. It would call for courage, commitment, insight, historical perspective and creative and constructive powers of the highest order — the order to which post-1947 leadership has so far come nowhere near. Today, a truly historic challenge stares us in the face."
Jagmohan concludes by making an impassioned plea: "Let history not condemn us. Let us not be written about as unworthy people who did not have the perception to see the challenge, or having seen it, did not know how to tackle it. Let it not be said that we were hollow men and women, who were made of poor clay, who nursed shallowness like a treasure, who made only pompous declarations, who betrayed a great heritage, who invariably opted for soft options and left dangerous infections in the roots unattended. Let it, on the other hand, be recorded that we were aware of our potential and strained every nerve to use it to the full. The worst verdict of history could be that we did not even attempt to set our fundamentals right and solve problems of far reaching consequences for our future."
Shri Jagmohan is a truly many-splendored personality. He has been an outstanding civil servant, Parliamentarian, Union Minister and original thinker and writer. Throughout his long and illustrious years in public service, he has worked, with an unmatched passion, for creating a model of fair, just and effective governance by fair, just and effective means. His zest for constructive work is well- known. So is his capacity to stand firmly against vested interests. He has earned a justifiable reputation for producing spectacular results on the ground.
Shri Jagmohan was the youngest Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi and the only one who held this prestigious office for two terms. During his second term, the capital had the unique distinction of successfully organising the Asiad, CHOGM and the Non-Aligned Conference (1982-83). Earlier, he served with great distinction in a number of key assignments, including that of Chief Executive of Delhi Development Authority for over seven years, and as Lt. Governor of Goa, Daman and Diu.
Shri Jagmohan has also the rare distinction of being nationally honoured twice by the President of India. He was awarded the Padma Shri for "making significant contribution to the formulation and implementation of the Delhi Master Plan and for playing a pioneering role in planning and implementation of projects". He was also awarded the Padma Bhushan for his "exceptionally meritorious services to the country". He was conferred the degree of Doctorate of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) by Kurukshetra University as well as by Guru Nanak University, Amritsar.
Shri Jagmohan was given a cultural award by the Australian Government. In the mid-sixties, he travelled around the world on a fellowship granted by the Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi. He also attended several United Nations Conferences on 'Human Settlements', 'Habitat', Tourism, Culture etc. Shri Jagmohan's published work include over 300 articles in leading newspapers and journals and four books : Rebuilding Shahjahanabad : The Walled City of Delhi; Island of Truth; The Challenge of Our Cities and My Frozen Turbulence in Kashmir. The last publication has so far seen six editions. It has been translated into many regional languages of India.
Shri Jagmohan's intellectual and literary standing can be seen from the fact that his book My Frozen Turbulence in Kashmir was described by Mr. Michael Foot. who was once the Shadow Prime Minister of Britain, as "a great book indeed and it tells me much more about Kashmir than I ever learnt from any other place". On the same work, Dr. Mulk Raj Anand, a noted literary critic, wrote: "It is a brilliant work, written with verve which derives its power from the author's addiction to truth". His Sardar Patel Memorial Lectures, which were subsequently published under the title 'Challenges of Our Cities', became a classic of Indian urban life.
Shri Jagmohan has held the office of the Governor, Jammu and Kashmir, twice. He also formulated and carried out the historic reform of the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine. A household name in the country, Shri Jagmohan remained Member of Parliament for about fourteen years and Union Cabinet Minister for about five and a half years. He held charge of such significant portfolios as Communication, Urban Development, Poverty Alleviation, Programme Implementation, Tourism and Culture.
At the end of the first edition of this book, I had observed: "If India is not soon visited by a 'season for inward and outward revolution' and if she does not 'attain her highest wisdom by daring', only a bleak future awaits her and she would waste her potential of creating an elevating design for life. Thick clouds with turbulence and torrents tucked in their bosoms are already hovering over her skies".
I am sad to note that the wind is not blowing in the right direction. Some of the developments that the nation has witnessed in the period intervening between the publication of the first and this edition are rather disconcerting. This should be evident from the Appendices H to VI that I have added to the new edition. Appendix II shows how India's poor continue to be side-tracked by the post-1991 Economic Reforms. Appendix III indicates the rising tide of Naxal violence. Appendix IV deals with the transformation of terrorism into mega-terrorism. Appendix V deals with the ULFA's challenge to the country's internal security and Appendix VI shows how even the Supreme Court's efforts to effectuate police reforms, ensure the rule of law and improve general governance are being frustrated.
It would be unrealistic to expect that the culture of superficiality that has seized the Indian State and society would loosen its grip in a short time. But the tragedy is that no one among the leadership or in the intellectual arena is even thinking of the fundamental transformation that we, as a nation, need to undergo. I am convinced more than ever before that if we continue to move without rekindling the power of India's mind, without fertilising her dry soul, without invigorating her institutions and without improving the clay of her people, only an uncertain and unedifying future awaits us.
I am bringing out the second edition with the hope that someone amongst those who have read the first edition or may read the new one would be inspired to acquire a sense of mission and initiate the process of putting the nation in the higher orbit of thought and action.
Good governance involves profound questions of the structure and soul of the governance-machinery. But, in our country, they have been, and are still being, dealt with in perfunctory manner. The roots of the issues are seldom identified and taken care of. Only nuts and bolts of the outer frame have been occasionally attended to and that, too, without any touch of originality. No serious attempt has been made to go beneath the surface, tap the hidden potential and re-orient and refertilise the underlying forces that shape individual attitudes towards honest work and create the right kind . of motivation and commitment in the society as a whole. Nor has it been realised that unless governance-leadership makes simultaneous and sustained efforts to improve the quality and character of the governed, humane, enlightened, just, sound and dynamic governance would not come about. These aspects have been highlighted in the book.
That the system of governance, as it has operated during the past 57 years, has let down the Indian Republic on many a front would hardly be disputed. Apart from the need to remove its existing flaws, changes in the system are called for to meet the manifold challenges that are being thrown up by far-reaching social, economic, political and cultural forces that are being let loose by the process and pace of globalisation. Apart from the mind-boggling dynamics of change, the civil society and public institutions are acquiring a new architecture. Even the basis of absolute and exclusive sovereignty of the state is getting eroded and the number and influence of non-state actors are daily increasing.
Clearly, a vast array of complex problems that are arising cannot be tackled by the state alone or by any other single agency. But could they be tackled by what has been called a diffused, inchoate pattern, spread in a multi-centred world, over a variety of amorphous 'ethno-scapes', 'media-scapes', ‘Ideo-scapes', ‘techno-scapes', 'finance-scapes'? And could the same pattern that’s suitable for the rich developed countries be suitable for poor or developing countries as well, particularly a country like India which, at the peak of its cultural ethos, had evolved its own design for life, its own spiritually elevated value-system, and which, because of its civilisational heritage, has the potential of exploring superior alternatives? These crucial questions, which are usually ignored in the current discussions on governance and structural reforms, have also been discussed and answered in the book.
The term good governance is so loosely used these days that few could explain its meaning in clear words. If you ask those who, parrot-like, go on talking about it ad nauseum, what it really implies, they would either start struggling for expression or blurt out words like 'de-regulation', 'privatisation, etc.
Governance is not the exclusive preserve of the Government. It extends to other realms also, such as civil society and the private sector. It encompasses, in essence, every institution and organisation, from the family to the state. It involves exercise of political, economic and administrative authority to manage the affairs of a nation. It denotes a 'steering' and 'rowing' capacity of a social system as a whole. It has many forms — visible as well as invisible, formal as well as informal, 'state-centric' as well as 'society-centric' and centralised as well as decentralised. It is, thus a multi-faceted phenomenon and admits of no precise or clear-cut definition. Much depends upon the predilection of the definer and his purpose in defining it. While the World Bank defines governance as "the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country's economic and social resources", the UNDP puts it as "the complex mechanisms, processes, relationships and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their rights and obligations and mediate their differences". The Tokyo Institute of Technology makes the definition still more wide when it refers to it as "a complex set of values, norms, processes and institutions by which society manages its development and resolves its conflicts, formally and informally; it not only involves the State but also the civil society — economic and social actors, community based institutions and unstructured groups — at the local, national, regional and global level".
Role of the State
In the context of new concepts of governance and the fast and complex changes that are taking place both in the internal and external environment of nations all over the globe, the question is, what role should be assumed by the state and other components of the governance system to produce the best results? Two views are generally expressed in response to this question.
One view is that the state should 'row' the boat of governance and play a direct role. The other view is that best governance comes about only if the state plays a limited role of 'steering' the boat, leaving the task of 'rowing' to other actors, such as market forces, transnational corporations, non-governmental organisations etc. In the first view, the state manages and acts as a provider. In the second view, the state regulates and acts as a facilitator. The first view is encapsulated in the present-day political parlance as 'old governance' and the second view as 'new governance'.
The difference between the two views is not so deep as it appears on the surface. 'Whether the state 'rows' the boat of governance or `steers' it, the state remains the captain of the boat, the overall in-charge, the real decision-maker. It is the state that evolves the framework of steering. It is the state's willingness to assign some roles to other actors that enable them to play their part unhindered.
It is the state that makes the rule; it is the state that changes the rule; it is the state that maintains a collective order; and it is the state that sets national goals and strives to attain them. The state cannot, as some commentators would make us believe, be thrown into the dustbin of history.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Item Code: NAR771 Author: Shri Jagmohan Cover: HARDCOVER Edition: 2007 Publisher: Allied Publishers Pvt. Limited ISBN: 9798184242101 Language: English Size: 9.60 X 6.60 inch Pages: 556 (14 Color Illustrations) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 1.02 Kg