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NL Interview: Ashok Lavasa on his book An Ordinary Life and being an election commissioner in India

‘You have to have a clarity of purpose. What is it that you want to do?’

WrittenBy:NL Team
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Ashok Lavasa is a former election commissioner of India and a retired IAS officer. He previously served as India’s finance secretary, civil aviation secretary, and environment, forests and climate change secretary, among other roles. He speaks with Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri about his new book, An Ordinary Life: Portrait of an Indian Generation.

Ashok says he was inspired by this question to write the book: “If you look back at the past, can you find a few things which can then influence your future and generally have a better society or a better quality of life?”

He also explains the conflict faced by a public servant who is honest, saying, “You have to have a clarity of purpose. What is it that you want to do? You want to work in the interest of the people you are expected to serve, you want to do a good job of what has been entrusted to you. So, you need to have clarity.” If you have conviction, he adds, “you can find your way through the dilemma”.

The discussion also spans Ashok’s father being a man of principle, his experience of being election commissioner, his opinion on EVMs, and a lot more.


Text by Utkarsh Tripathi

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