Mr Joseph Bain D'Souza who has died aged 86, was celebrated as a no-nonsense bureaucrat -- perhaps the sternest in either the BEST Undertaking, the BMC Municipality, CIDCO, the Government of Maharashtra, whose handing down of stiff reprimands and adhering strictly to principles led to occasional calls for his removal by the liberal establishment.
Regarded as one of the bureaucracy's most robust characters, as his name symbolised, his singular blend of sternness and principleship was the bane to many. Now that he has departed, he is the subject and source of numerous anecdotes by his friends and relatives about his obsession for principles.
Born on June 3, 1921, he was originally from Versova, but spent most of his time in Kotachiwadi, Girgaum, before moving to Bandra. He was one of the earliest East Indians to graduate from Harvard.
At one time or other he was Principal, Administrative Staff College, Hyderabad, Collector, Controller, of Bombay, GM-BEST, MD-CIDCO, Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra, Municipal Commissioner of Bombay. A Maths wizard, he earned the Tripod in mathematics which was also his hobby.
In retirement, JB enjoyed something of an Indian summer with his social activities of cheap and urban housing which earned him a wide circle of admirers. JB lived his religion in uprightness and non-corruption.
He abhorred corrupt people, and many are the stories about how he straightened such government officials, while rewarding the honest. From now on, alas, there will be no new stories to recount about him, although happily he left behind enough to last a lifetime.
He leaves behind his wife Neela, two sons and a daughter.
This is as good a place as any to respond to the few requests for a brief bio of JB. Here it is.
BA (Hons) Bombay 1942; MPA Syracuse 1955, MPA Harvard 1956.
Distinguished Alumnus Award, Syracuse University, 1977
Indian Navy 1943-46
Indian Administrative Service (IAS) 1947-79
IAS Positions held (among others):
Collector of Bombay and Bombay Suburban Division
Commissioner, Bombay Division
Commissioner, Aurangabad Division
Director of Relief and Rehabilitation, Chanda
GM, BEST 1966-69
Municipal Commissioner, Bombay 1969-70
MD, CIDCO, 1970-74
CMD, HUDCO, 1975-76
Chief Secretary, Maharashtra, 1976-77
Secretary, GOI, Works and Housing Ministry, 1977-79
After retirement from IAS:
Principal, Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad, 1979-82
Urban Management Adviser, World Bank, Washington, 1982-85
MD, Indage, 1985-86
Chairman, Bombay Development Plan Advisory Committee, 1986-87
Chief Executive, Jaslok Hospital, 1992-93
Chief Executive, Nagari Nivara Parishad, Goregaon, 1993-2007