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Civil Service

Brothers in the ICS

Arun Bhatnagar, IAS (retd), New Delhi, February 2016 


Entry into the ICS by competitive examination remained a Herculean task till the last intake in 1943. It is interesting to note that members of the same family, often brothers, won their way into the Service by dint of merit or, on occasion, through nomination.

It is a well-known fact that a majority of the top administrators during British raj and later in (undivided) Pakistan and India had their origins in the Indian Civil Service (ICS). A few even served, albeit briefly, in the newly emerged nation of Bangladesh. 
Sukumar Mallick and SK Mallick joined the Bengal and Assam cadres in the early 1940s through nomination.
Of the three Kripalani brothers in the ICS hailing from Hyderabad Sind, namely, HK, SK and MK, the eldest became the first Indian Chief Secretary of the erstwhile Bombay province, the second served in Punjab as Deputy Commissioner, Jhelum, and Financial Commissioner (Colonies) and the third was in the Bengal Cadre.
Among those who opted for Pakistan in 1947 were the sons of Nawab Mohammad Ismail Khan of Meerut in the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh), a founding member of the All India Muslim League and a leading activist in the Khilafat and Pakistan movements who, in turn, was a grandson of the noted Urdu and Persian poet, Nawab Mustafa Khan Shefta, one of Mirza Ghalib’s closest friends. 
Nawab Ismail Khan’s elder son, GA Madani, joined the ICS in 1937 and went on to establish a formidable reputation in the eastern wing, while a younger son, Ikram Ahmed (IA) Khan, followed suit in the ICS in 1939.
On the other hand, ICS officers Hifazat Hussain and Wajahat Hussain chose to serve in India. The former was a personal friend of EM Forster, the celebrated novelist, essayist and short story writer. 
Sir Girija Shankar Bajpai (ICS, 1915) had a brother in the judicial branch of the ICS – SS Bajpai who was the District Judge, Budaun (UP), in 1934. 
Both Vishnu Sahay (ICS, 1925) and Bhagwan Sahay (ICS, 1927) served in UP and became provincial Governors, as also V Vishwanathan (ICS, 1930) whose brother, V Nanjappa (ICS, 1933) completed his innings as a Secretary in the Government of India.
RP Bhargava (ICS, 1930), Chief Secretary (1962–64) and KP Bhargava (ICS, 1932) were in the UP Cadre as well. Vishwanathan, Bhagwan Sahay and KP Bhargava were the successive Chief Commissioners of Bhopal (1951–56) after the merger of the princely State with the Indian Union.
In the Central Provinces & Berar (later Madhya Pradesh), HS Kamath became Chief Secretary in the fifties while HV Kamath resigned prematurely, entered public life and was a Member of Parliament.
Rajeshwar Dayal (ICS, 1932), who became Inda’s High Commissioner to Pakistan in November, 1958 and his brother, Harishwar Dayal (ICS, 1936) deserve particular mention. The former who was seconded to the Foreign Service had, in an earlier spell as the District Magistrate in Mathura (UP) in the early forties developed a rapport with Muhammed Ayub Khan (later the President of Pakistan) who was posted with the Army at the same station. The then Head of State did not pull rank when he received his old friend’s credentials as High Commissioner, “all protocol forgotten and smiling profusely”.
Harishwar Dayal was allotted to what was known in British days as the Foreign and Political Service. When he died suddenly in May, 1964, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru praised him as a “jewel” of a man who was “an ornament of the Service which he adorned”. A few days later, Nehru himself passed away. 
On a par with the Dayals were Agha Hilaly (ICS, 1936) and Agha Shahi (ICS, 1943) in Pakistan, both born in Bangalore in the then princely State of Mysore, and closely connected with the family of Sir Mirza Ismail, an eminent Prime Minister of Mysore, Jaipur and Hyderabad.
Agha Hilaly and Agha Shahi were diplomats of high calibre and acumen. They represented Pakistan across the globe; Agha Hilaly was the High Commissioner to India in the early sixties and went on to serve as Ambassador to the United States. Agha Shahi had an impressive academic record, having enrolled at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He secured the third place in the last ICS examination and was a successful district officer in Sind, going on to eventually become the Foreign Secretary (1973–77) and Foreign Minister of Pakistan (1978–82). His contemporary in the last batch (who also moved to Pakistan in 1947), Aftab Ghulam Nabi Kazi, a civil servant of distinction, currently resides in retirement in Islamabad.
Prof P Samuels Lall, a widely respected teacher of mathematics and astronomy at the Forman Christian College, Lahore, in the pre-1947 era, had two sons in the ICS: Arthur Lall (Punjab, 1936) who ably represented India at the United Nations and John Lall (UP, 1937) who, post-ICS, was the Director of the India International Centre, New Delhi.
Of the Chettur brothers, KK was India’s first Ambassador to Japan while SK rose to be the Chief Secretary of Madras (Tamil Nadu). PR Nayak and PM Nayak, both Secretaries in the Government of India, entered the Bombay and Madras cadres in 1935 and 1939, respectively.
Two families of the Kashmiri Pandit community also had brothers in the ICS, namely, KN Wanchoo (UP, 1926) who was the Chief Justice of India in 1967–68 and NN Wanchoo (Bihar, 1934) who rose to be a Governor. The Kauls, BK and MG, joined the ICS in 1940 and 1943, respectively.
Of all the brothers among the Indians in the ICS, only one, Vishnu Sahay, served as Cabinet Secretary (1958 – 60 and 1961 – 62).
(Arun Bhatnagar, IAS (MP: 66,) retired as Secretary, Government of India) 


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