I don't exactly know whether Sri Gautam Goswami was from Bihar/Jharkhand or not but since he belonged to the Bihar cadre and had remained posted at so many places in Bihar that he had almost become a Bihari, for so many practical purposes. Repeating the good, bad and the ugly of his life would be nothing more than a repetition of facts we all know so very well. That he was a brilliant student, that he was a qualified MBBS doctor from a prestigious institution, that he married a medico girl of equal abilities, that he succeeded in the Civil services examinations to get into IAS, the crème-de-la-crème of Indian government services, that he was a successful IAS officer for most of the initial part of his career, that he rose to dizzying heights and became a nationally known personality through the Times achievement award and that later he got tainted, was even arrested and remained a secluded, isolated and completed heart-broken person are now the matters of folklore in Bihar and elsewhere. I don't want to make any comment upon these facts. But, I would certainly like to tell that Sri Goswami was no ordinary IAS officer. He was not one of those run-of-the-mill stuff who join the service, get many important postings, remain there doing good or bad, then reach senior positions and then retire to lead a peaceful life. He had something in his personality and in his stars that always kept him in public eyes. All through his career he remained a talked-after officer. Different people had different opinion about him. But no one could simply ignore him. And then came the Patna posting which spread his fame and infamy far and wide. He was among the most well-known IAS officers in the country. Even common people knew him by his name. And now that he is dead, he remains forever the Patna collector. I had one occasion to meet him when he was the DC of Bokaro, the place where my parents live. I had gone to meet him. If anyone asks my opinion about Sri Goswami, I would only have praises for him. He was highly courteous, decent, down-to-earth, simple and an engaging conversationalist. I remember his chubby face which remained smiling most of the time I was with him. He carried a very relaxed demeanor which was also rather assuring. I am sure these traits would have helped him a lot in pushing his career ahead. While there could be many interpretations as to his later rise and fall, to me it seems that it was simply because things were already decided in his case. He was one more typical example of being a "Child of destiny". Things started taking place in the pre-destined and pre-designated manner where he had lost all the control. Thus, first he rising to the dias on the Gandhi Maidan to stop Sri Advani's meeting, then the TIME award, then the flood scam, then the FIR, arrest and finally his succumbing to cancer. His was a tumultuous and eventful life and though Sri Goswami died young, he had succeeded in making an indelible place for himself in Bihar and in the Indian bureaucratic sphere- for good or for bad. His life also shows the fickleness in all its glory. At the same time, it also shows the disgusting, frustrating and hateful aspect of human nature. Wasn't it the same people who lapped him in their arms when he was a winner- in life, in service, in achievements and laurels. And did not the same set of people dumped him like hot potatoes the moment his time turned to frozen realities. I shudder to think how lonely this once-jovial man must have been in his death. At this hour of his departure, I remember him with all the somberness and pray for the departed soul as find myself stood in all my sympathy with his wife and the bereaved family. There is not a Gautam Goswami in bureaucracy every other day- for many reasons.
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