It is hard to tell whether IAS officer Laxmikant Deshmukh is more of a bureaucrat or an author. While he has several innovative administrative policies to his credit,Deshmukh also has the reputation of being a prolific writer with 18 books to his credit,for which he has received several awards including one from the Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad. If that were not saying enough for the man,iconic playwright Vijay Tendulkar had listed Deshmukhs novel Andher Nagari as one of his favourite books.
Now the managing director of Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagri,popularly known as Film City,Deshmukh released a Diwali special issue Ayan,as its honorary editor.
I have loved writing since I was very young. My mother had generated a fascination for the world of books and writing in me. The first time my work was published was in a weekly called Sadhana,when I was in Class VII. I continued penning down my thoughts all through college as a hobby. Some of my writings also received awards that time. But while preparing for civil service,there was a lull in writing, says Deshmukh,who hails from a small village named Murum in Umarga tehsil of Osmanabad district in Marathwada region. He adds that after joining government services he rejuvenated his writing and has never put his pen down since.
While few of his books have already been released this year,including Administration Good to Greatness. A couple more are in the pipeline,including an epistle based on plight of child labours.
Giving a glimpse into his style of writing,Deshmukh says,While holding different public offices,I came across all sorts of people. I got to know about a wide range of issues that affect human beings in one way or the other. All these experiences added to my ideas for my writings. One can say that being a sensitive administrator,I could become a good writer and vice-versa.
A close look at Deshmukh’s literary work substantiates his argument. His much-acclaimed novel Andher Nagari (1996),a political novel which has four editions so far,reflects his observations and experiences from when he was municipal commissioner at Akola. On the other hand,Pani Pani,a collection of stories published in 1998,has its genesis in water scarcity and drought-like situations he encountered while being a district collector in the Marathwada region. He wrote The Real Hero And Other Stories (2008),which is a work of fiction that narrates ups and downs in the life of sportsperson,when he was holding the office of Maharashtra Sports Commissioner. This years release Savitrichya Garbhat Marlelya Leki,which tells touching stories of female foeticide,has deep inspiration in his encounters with inhuman practices faced when he was posted in Kolhapur district.
This IAS officers sensitive mind as a writer also gave birth to some of the innovative administration practices,which got replicated at the state and national level. One such practice was the use of ‘Silent observer’ software for sonography machine to curb female foeticide. Implemented during his tenure as collector of Kolhapur district,the measure resulted in upward rise of sex-ratio in the district from 839 to 876 in the year 2010. The use of SMSs to ensure proper distribution of food grains and vehicle tracking system to track movement of kerosene delivery tankers,is another such example.
A morning person,Deshmukh devotes his early hours to writing. Three days in a week are dedicated to writing. Besides,government holidays prove handy too, he says.
One of the most memorable moments of his literary career,he says,was when noted playwright late Vijay Tendulkar listed his novel Andher Nagari in his favourite books. It was a huge honour, says Deshmukh.