LK Joshi: The bureaucrat who was a class apart

Lalit Shastri

Lalit Kumar Joshi (73) was one IAS officer, borne on the Madhya Pradesh cadre (1970), whom I will love to call the “Last of the Mohicans” as he was a true braveheart. Such officers, who are most professional and totally dedicated to the national cause and common good, are rare to find these days. He could be counted on finger tips as one of the very few who did their best during their tenure to save the edifice – the steel frame of Indian bureaucracy – from crumbling and turning into a mangled heap through the machinations of the self-serving bureaucrats who come off as most arrogant when dealing with the common public but are always too ready to bend in every direction to serve their political masters and for whom the only priority is sinecures of office and the perks and benefits tagged with them.

The news of the passing away of LK Joshi on Saturday 2 May came as a shock to his friends and well wishers and he had a large circle of friends and admirers both within the IAS fraternity and the big wide world outside.

LK Joshi had touched the pinnacle of glory as an IAS officer and had held the important posts of Secretary in the Ministry of Personnel, Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways and was also Member Admin (Secretary equivalent) National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).

Serving his parent Madhya Pradesh cadre, Joshi played a long innings as Commissioner Public Relations. I had the opportunity of seeing him perform from close range, first when I was associated as in-charge Public Relations for the Medical Relief Gas Victims’ Project of the Indian Red Cross in 1987-88 when the then President R Venkataraman had come to Bhopal to inaugurate a hospital set up by the Indian Red Cross exclusively for gas victims and then while heading The Hindu Bureau in Madhya Pradesh.

At the drop of the hat, Joshi was ready to travel with me to different parts of the State for news coverage. Each time, he was the facilitator and I as a journalist was the chief investigator. That used to be our equation when we were on job. I remember travelling with him to the tribal district of Jhabua, the western-most point of Madhya Pradesh, to study the progress of Rajiv Gandhi Watershed Mission and then our journey together to Sagar district headquarters for a news Coverage on the dredging of the Sagar Lake to increase its water storage capacity, a job accomplished with huge public participation at a time when the State was facing unprecedented water crisis.

I recall, once when Joshi was in his chamber at Mantralaya (Vallabh Bhawan), I had sent in my visiting card to meet him. He immediately called me and asked why this formality of presenting the card…I told him because I respected his privacy. I was clean bowled by his brilliant and quick wit when he responded with a smile and said: “I would welcome your piracy.”

After Joshi left Bhopal and went to the Centre, the “early morning meetings over a cup of tea” at the State Public Relations headquarters – a daily routine with a close group of mainstream journalists, became a thing of the past.


Click for tributes (in Hindi) by Ram Bhuwan Singh Kushwah, senior journalist

Click for tributes by Raghuraj Singh, retired Additional Director, Public Relations, Government of Madhya Pradesh

Poor Zafarul who took “LeLi gyanis” too seriously

Rajiv Lochan

Poor Zafarul-Islam Khan. He desperately needs a jadu ki jhappi (magic hug) rather than a slap on the face. Right now he seems to be up for the high jump with people insisting that he has done a grievous wrong by requesting Arab countries to intervene to save and protect the Muslims of India.

72 years of age, from one of the most privileged families, long-time owner and editor of one of the most readable of weekly journals brought out for the Muslims of India, completely overwhelmed by what he imagines is the oppression of the Muslims of India. Lives in an imaginary world of his own in which, according to his imagination, his powerful and revengeful friends, the Muslim Arabs, will step over and give the presumably hurtful Hindus a hiding, teach them to not oppress Muslims.

Poor Zafarul got carried away by all the hatred being spewed by the Leli gyanis (Left-Liberal intellectuals). He took it for real when the LeLi manufactured false stories about how Muslims in India are oppressed. In his old age Zafarul could not understand the pernicious agenda of the LeLis. They want to break up India. They want Hindus and Muslims and Christians and Sikhs and tribals and non-tribals to kill each other. Then the LeLis could tut tut over those killings. When everyone starts attacking everyone else the LeLis would also get a chance to run their protection racket once again, the protection racket that allowed the Congress to rule over India for a good 60 years.

All through the 1980s till day before yesterday, the LeLi gyanis were telling us that there is nothing called a ‘Hindu’. The Indian LeLi, not particularly bright, desperate to find approval with the LeLi white people, eagerly created an imaginary structure of India in which Hindus did not exist but still oppressed sundry minorities. For the LeLis, minorities was merely a code word for Muslims.

Then Indians elected Narendra Modi as PM. It became impossible to continue to hold the view that there was no entity called Hindus. Since then they have begun a sustained hate campaign against Hindus. This hate campaign is much simpler in its parameters. It insists that Hindus are bad because they exist. Till now Hindus were considered to be bad because they had something called ‘caste oppression’ and were supposed to ‘ill-treat’ their women. If you recall your lessons of history from school, this was also the content of the so-called Indian Renaissance of the 19th century– that Hindus do caste oppression and ill-treat their women. The ideal form of existence, of course, was England/America/France.

Look at poor Zafarul and his unfortunate rant. He is 72, is the son of a very privileged family, yet when he wants to seek justice, the only thing he can think of is the Arabs intervening in India. He can’t even imagine himself, his Muslim friends, standing up and telling those who are ill treating them to not do so. After all, when they do make that statement they will have to actually spell out the nature of the ill treatment. And, surprisingly, there is none.

Postscript (Newsroom24x7):  A first information report (FIR) has been registered against Khan under Indian Penal Code sections 124 A (sedition) and 153 A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.

Khan gad earlier posted on social media the following:


The author, Rajiv Lochan, a JNU alumnus, is a renowned historian, academician, and scholar.