During the early decades post India’s independence, Moosa Raza, a young IAS officer hailing from a small village in Tamil Nadu, was tasked with governing huge, diverse and complex territories in the newly formed state of Gujarat. Raza had the distinction of heading four districts (today’s seven) as district magistrate and collector in Gujarat, and rose to become principal secretary to the chief minister of Gujarat. This book is an elaborately layered account of Raza’s experiences and encounters with maharajas, politicians, tribals, tigers and a variety of other inhabitants of the country. With tongue-in-cheek humour, Raza details his head-on collisions with public figures, gold smugglers and bureaucrats, and his attempts to deawith them with tact while trying to hold his own. Raza describes well-known figures, including C.V. Raman, Morarji Desai, Indira Gandhi and others, with a lot of wit, honesty and empathy—they live again in these pages. Drawing on his experiences in the Indian public sector, Raza throws light on the workings of varied industries, such as fisheries, textiles, chemicals and fertilizers. His first-hand account of the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition, in his capacity as Advisor to the Governor of Uttar Pradesh, reveals the travails of maintaining social order in a chaotic and unpredictable country.