Friday, January 10, 2014

T. S. Eliot Prize winner poet George Szirtes on Abhay K's 'Seduction of Delhi'

 T. S. Eliot Prize winner poet George Szirtes on Abhay K's 'The Seduction of Delhi'

'One may visit a city and one may live in it. To experience it as a presence and a history is more than either, and to experience it as poetry is sublime. Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities shows us Venice in many fantastical transformations. Abhay K. Kumar’s Seduction of Delhi is not so much a city transformed as tenderly opened up and invited to commune with the world around it in both time and place. So, in the Places section of the book, the poem on Nehru Park presents us with a ‘blue moon in full bloom / birds transmuting into humans’ on a spot where ‘Nehru is in dialogue with Lenin / and the universe’ while among the Portraits we meet the ubiquitous auto rickshaws, each ‘a triangle-on wheels’ that criss-crosses Delhi like ‘a kite soaring against the wind’ that carries the city on its wings.
The transformations are gentle and humane: the history is deep and lightly worn. This is a beautiful way to be introduced to a great city as both specific and essence.'
-George Szirtes

Friday, January 3, 2014

Life in the Indian Foreign Service

-Abhay K.

Indian Foreign Service (IFS) is unlike any other Civil Service such as the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) or the Indian Police Service (IPS). An Indian Foreign Service officer spends most of his/her time abroad ( two-third of his/her career) and only one third of career in India at the headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) in New Delhi.

After joining the Indian Foreign Service, for which one has to be generally at the top of the ranking order in Civil Services Examination (CSE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) of India, one is sent to the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussorie for training for a period of three months where he/she is known as Foreign Service Probationer/ Officer Trainee. 

After completing three months of training, comprising training in multiple disciplines including a foreign language, horse riding and trekking in theHimalayas, a Foreign Service Probationer/Officer trainee moves to the Foreign Service Institute located in New Delhi for further training.

At the Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi, which is located on Baba Gangnath Marg near Jawaharlal University (JNU) campus, a Foreign Service Probationer undergoes training for a year in modules of International Relations, Indian Foreign Service Pay, Leave and Compensatory Allowances (IFS-PLCA) Rules andForeign Trade. One also travels to  the neighbouring South Asian countries or the United Nations to understand the functioning of an Indian mission. An officer-trainee undergoes attachments with the Army, Navy and the Air Force, with the district and the state administration as well as the corporate sector.