Thursday, August 13, 2009

babuz aaj kal: India’s most powerful civil servants are being spotted; Indian PM too has Kissinger-type master bureaucrats

IN THE process of finalizing babuz, or the most powerful bureaucrats in the country today, babu blogger scanned through some of the major international news items which talked about powerful bureaucrats around the world, and finally spotted a very interesting titled "Nixon designs new bureaucracy" published in the St. Petersburg Times, on November 22, 1972. The news report said how then US president Richard Nixon was quietly but stubbornly designing a radically new federal bureaucracy which will centralize power inside the White House to a degree never attempted before. The paper in its seemingly breaking news, 37 years ago, further said that the proposal was to create four or five new Kissinger-type master bureaucrats working directly under the President. They would exercise fully as much control over their old-line departments as Kissinger exercised over the State Department through National Security Council. Nixon wanted to take direct control of the sprawling and often immovable bureaucracy into his own hands, operating through his new master bureaucrats, the report added. Mr Nixon (1913 –1994) was the 37th President of the United States (1969–1974) who had earlier served as Vice President of the United States (1953–1961). Significantly, Henry Kissinger is a German-born American political scientist who served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the Nixon administration. During the Nixon and Ford administrations, he was a flamboyant figure and according to Wikipedia, he described himself as perhaps the only National Security Advisor to have a fan club on his own. Any clue who should top the list of babuz, or India’s most powerful bureaucrats? Write at


  1. To be honest, India has hardly produced a bureaucrat of the calibre of Henry Kissinger. First of all Kissinger came from the world of academics and during his tenure as the National Security Advisor to President Nixon, career bureaucrats of the US State Dept were sidelined and "technocrats" working under Kissinger at the National Security Council were given a lot of responsiblities and powers. I guess it was due to Kissinger's endeavours that the US could engage in track II diplomacy with China and bring an end to the Vietnam war. Amongst the top 4 bureaucrats you have listed till now, I hardly see any one of them possessing the intellectual caliber of Henry Kissinger. I am still waiting for the day when we have someone like him. I like your blog a lot, its very interesting, Iguess it has carved a niche for itself because I haven't come across a single blog/website which discusses the bureaucracy of our country in such detail as you do. Best of Luck for all your endeavours

  2. Well said...Our archaic crown inspired bureaucracy does have its flaws as the incumbents are more attached to the myriad mindset of working in a cocoon, which severely hampers a more dynamic and sometimes unconventional attitude for administration. Well after all when the great arthasastra claims its origins in our lands who needs kissinger as a watermark