About the Book

On the Loom of Time portrays the life and times of Shiva Kant Jha who has acted and thought in many worlds. It resembles, in its structure, the holy vilvapatra that is offered to Lord Shiva: it is a triplet of ‘The Fragrant Years’, ‘A Cog in the Machine’ and ‘Illusion & Reality’.

‘The Fragrant Years’ recaptures the fragrance of the years in which, as a bud on the twig of a family with a recorded family-tree of about 700 years, he grew up in a family of freedom-fighters, and was shaped and conditioned by the rich cultural ethos of Mithila.

‘A Cog in the Machine’  reflects on his   more than three decades of life   when he was a cog in the machine, we call ‘government’: the years when he played his role, as a member of the Indian Revenue Service, dealing with the raw realities of our public administration. This Book gives a critical account of   the circumstances that led to the constitution of the Iyer Commission, the imposition of the infamous Emergency, the JP Movement, and the Fodder Scam, and many other events which should never be forgotten

‘Illusion & Reality’ explores the illusion and reality of the world we live in. This Book would tell you about the poetry expressed through the imageries at the Supreme Court, about what makes Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad, Marx and Gandhi the most creative and enlightening figures in human history shaping our worldview;   about the sacrilege of debasing and defiling our Constitution; about the state of our ‘democracy’, and our Republic, about the loot of our nation, and about the realm of darkness wherefrom vampires swoop down on us to suck our blood. It tells you about the dominant worldview, the crisis of civilizations, ‘democratic deficit’ and ‘moral deficit’ which Shri Jha noticed, with pangs. “Illusion & Reality” would show how our most cherished illusions have got dashed to pieces on colliding with reality. He has touched in his Memoir many shores, and has passed through many worlds inviting you to share his perspective, and to see things from his observation-post.

AN OVERVIEW OF THE BOOK

(as drawn up at page 532 of this book)

[Extracted and published by Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial Academy of Administration, Mussoorie in Memoirs (Civil Service Batch of 1964)

‘The Fragrant Years’ broods over what could be the best in love that suffused my early years the fragrance of which has continued in mind to save me from the torrents of negative feelings, and to sustain me even when life cast me in some sort of gas chamber. Those moments have spread before my mind’s eyes the rich rose petals on which I have read and enjoyed the lyrics which my Destiny composed. ‘A Cog in the Machine’ appears to me the years when, like the Earth, I had two movements at the same time: one trying to bear the heat and burden of the Revenue Service of our country, and the other, attempting to study men and manners, laws and morality, the earth and the galaxies, myself, and my maker….. During this period of my life, I was enriched on seeing life in the raw: I felt my several illusions stood pricked. Delight and distress came in varying proportions. I experienced enormous joys, and deep distresses. I shared the agony when my heart broke both literally and metaphorically. The slings of misfortune pierced often most unkindly making me realize the relevance of what Dante said in his Divine Comedy (Inferno V.121): “There is no greater grief than to recall a time of happiness when in misery”. ‘Illusion and Reality’ traps me in the continuous intercourse with realities, rough and inclement. I had many moments when ‘illusions’ seemed ‘real’, and ‘reality’ turned ‘illusive’. The Bhagavada Mahapuran tells us (in Canto 11) how Krishna sat in silence under a peepal tree. He was struck by a hunter’s arrow. It is difficult to think what verdict he might have passed on his life in those final moments. But whenever I reflect on my life with fidelity, I get absorbed counting my life’s yellow leaves, some fallen, some yet to fall, some severed from the twigs but still dancing in the breeze before acquiring rest on the soil. I have marked their beauty and rich poetry. I have my reasons to marvel, and to get amazed, at my Destiny’s choreography of my life. I have enjoyed many pursuits but what has delighted me most is that ‘noiseless sound’ of the cavalcade of events about which I have written in this Memoir. When I hear this ‘noiseless sound’, I recall the words of Keats in his poem ‘I Stood tip-toe upon a little hill’:

A little noiseless noise among the leaves,
Born of the very sigh that silence heaves.

***

On this Second Edition of the book

The Second Edition of ON THE LOOM OF TIME the portrait of my life and times is a thoroughly revised and substantially enriched edition. Whilst at most places substantial additions have been made, Chapters 29[1], 30[2] and the Postscripts[3] to the Second Edition are wholly new. Most other Chapters have been updated: viz. ‘The Problem of the Black Wealth stashed in Foreign Jurisdictions’ in Chapter 26; and   the exposition of the issues pertaining to the Judicial monitoring of income-tax investigation by our superior courts. The Index of the book has been revised and enriched.

[1] 29. The Portrait of our Time

Introduction to the Chapter, Towards Corporatocracy : An Overview of the Western Political Thought – When the Republic comes on the edge: Abraham Lincoln’s apprehensions – When crooks shake hands: G.K. Chesterton tells the story of Pilate and Herod – Capitalism, Corporate imperium and Corruption go

together; When Greed is Good: the Black Magic of Capitalism -When Mammon Reigns – ‘Corporatocracy’ rules the world – ‘Capitalism’ and ‘Corruption’ go together – ‘Corruptions’ in our country ; Bound upon the Wheel of Fire : Wealth clouds one’s sense of Duty – Karna’s dream : –Conclusion

[2] 30. A Miscellany of my Ideas from my Personal Journal                  

This Chapter is the compilation, from my Personal Journal, of my comments on diverse topics of general interest. These are :

‘Time debateth with Decay’;  Grammar of Existence: DHARMA; The Rocks speak : Inscriptions in the Parliament House;  Idea of Secularism and Dharma; Whether to be spiders, bees, or artists; Polity, Politics and people’s Duty ; If our Parliament goes on Shavashana;  Parliament’s decline both in England and India; Prime Minister, the Sun or the Cipher ; All for the Holy Grail, FDI; FDI for whom ? for what? ; Learning from the Treaty of Allahabad ; Parliament at work ; Technique of Creative Delay ; Political Parties revisited ; Strategies of the Corporate imperium ; ‘Reforms’: the ‘Mohan Raag’ that deceives ; Setting up political trajectory in our villages ; Restructuring our polity ; Political Parties and Democracy ; Invocation to act; A Note on Charitra (Character)

[3] 31.There are seven postscripts: (i) Further Reflections on our Anti-corruption Movement : Challenge and Response; (ii) Some of my Recommendatory comments for our Government and Citizenry to consider; (iii) What I BELIEVE; (iv) SIT on black money: the first decision of the Modi Government; (v) The Destiny of our Nation: the advent of Shri Narendra Modi; (vi) Reflections on the Constitution of India: Ambit of the Constitutional Restraints on the Treaty-Making Power; and an Appendix to PS vi:  ‘Global Economy : A Deal with the Devil.

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