A mechanical engineering graduate of IIT-Kharagpur and a member of the elite Indian Police Service (IPS), Amitabh Thakur is the Meerut-based superintendent of police (Economic Offences Wing), Uttar Pradesh. A socially-conscious top-rank police officer, Thakur is also founder-president of the National Right to Information Act Foundation and Institute for Research and Documentation in Social Sciences, Lucknow.
In 2007, Thakur cleared CAT (Common Admission Test), jointly administered by the country’s elite Indian Institutes of Management and was admitted into the four-year HRM (human resources management) fellows programme of IIM-Lucknow. However he had to wage a two-year battle with the state government for the latter to grant him full-time (two years) and part-time (two years) study leave even though the All India Services (Study Leave) Regulations, 1960 permit it. After an epic battle before the Lucknow bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal, Thakur was granted study leave in 2009. Having completed the first part (full-time) of his fellowship programme, Thakur has resumed his duties as superintendent of police even as he continues to pursue his programme part-time.
Newspeg. In February this year, The Fresh Brew: Chronicles of Business and Freedom (Alchemy Publishers, 2011), which tracks the careers of 25 IIM-L alumni who have pursued entrepreneurship or alternate careers, jointly authored by Thakur and Amit Haralalka, was launched in Lucknow. Within a month of its launch, it has made it to the ‘50 All-time Bestsellers’ list of www.flipkart.com.
Objective. According to Thakur, the primary purpose of writing The Fresh Brew was to make B-school graduates aware of alternate career options, especially social entrepreneurship.
Direct speech. “During the two years I lived on the IIM-L campus, I met a number of business management students interested in business and social entrepreneurship. But they were unaware of the risks and rewards of choosing careers off the beaten track. By presenting case studies of IIM-L alumni who have been there and done that, The Fresh Brew provides information, advice and encouragement to B-school graduates to think beyond nine-to-five MNC jobs,” says Thakur. “We have also dedicated the book to Manjunath Shanmugham, an IIM-L alumnus who was murdered in 2005 for speaking up against corruption while working with Indian Oil Corporation. Part of the book’s sales proceeds will go towards the Manjunath Fresh Brew Award for Social Entrepreneurship which we have instituted,” adds Thakur.
Future plans. Not an individual who likes to let grass grow under his feet, Thakur is now working on a book about 30 IPS officers who have made a difference. “I have already given it a tentative title — The Colours of Khaki. Moreover I hope to use the knowledge and skills I learnt at IIM-L for improving efficiency in the police department even as I continue to fight for transparent governance,” says Thakur.
Cynthia John (Lucknow)