Is the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) still the most appropriate institution to govern twenty-first-century India? Should a cadre of generalists head organizations as complex and diverse as industrial units; museums and rural development boards? If it had to be replaced; what is the best alternative? Drawing on his experience of thirty-six years in the IAS; Bhaskar Ghose addresses these and other major questions regarding the role; relevance and effectiveness of India's long-established but often controversial system of state administration in The Service of the State. Ghose argues forcefully that the IAS is still the best option and one moreover that substantially fulfils its functions—and fulfils them well. Though its once sterling reputation has been tarnished by allegations of corruption; political subservience and declining standards of efficiency; there are still sufficient numbers of dedicated public servants. These administrators; spanning diverse social backgrounds; seniorities and regional profiles; draw on established traditions of duty and of cooperation within the service to deliver—to the best of their ability and often in the face of considerable odds—the goods of development. This reflective and luminous memoir is not only a portrait of a lifetime's service to the state; it is also a timely and persuasive argument for a system of governance that has had a critical impact on India since Independence.