Book review: Parameswaran Iyer, Method in the Madness: Insights from My Career as an Insider-Outsider-Insider

AuthorChitra Mishra
Published date01 December 2021
Date01 December 2021
Subject MatterBook Reviews
668 Book Reviews
In its last chapter, the book offers an overview of globalisation and its
dissatisfaction at a macro level in terms of weakening of the sovereign state,
deregulation, liberalisation, privatisation and marketisation. It also analyses as to
why marginalised people took to protest, discussing four case studies: (a) damming
of Narmada River (MP), (b) sale of Neera River with Deogarh dam (Maharashtra),
(c) drying of Kosi River (Uttarakhand) and (d) closure of Muhane-Nonai
River (Bihar).
Unfortunately, some economists have reduced the scope of development as
quantiable, measurable, big in size, visible in open market and so on. The author
marks it as Dominant Development Discourse (DDD) that is one dimensional,
narrow, exclusive, rigid, hegemonic, top-down, casual and temporary. And hence,
he prescribes an alternative development model, namely, Real Social Development
(RSD) which is inclusive both in intra-generational as well as inter-generational
people. It is also multi-faceted, exible, socially equitable, economically viable,
ecologically sustainable, politically participatory, organisationally transparent
and culturally acceptable to the local people. He further emphasises the need for
people’s participation in letter and spirit at all stages of planning, execution,
monitoring and evaluation for the development to take place in real sense. The
author implicitly underlines here the development discourse that suits the real
needs of the people.
It seems the writer has missed to add ‘list of tables’ with the Contents page
inadvertently, although more than fty tables are meticulously prepared and duly
inserted in the relevant chapters in the present book. Besides, the book is well
researched and nicely written, as reected in the narration of his work experiences
as a bureaucrat in different positions involved in various developmental
The endeavour made by the author is an extremely valuable contribution to the
subject which at present is ercely debated within and outside the country. The
book is useful for the students, academicians, practitioners, planners involved in
development discourse and its implementation, and also the people of the different
sections of society who have desire to be aware of the development dichotomy.
The author and publisher both deserve kudos for choosing an important and
timely topic.
Yatish Mishra
Shyamlal College (eve.), Delhi University
Parameswaran Iyer, Method in the Madness: Insights from My Career
as an Insider-Outsider-Insider. Noida: HarperCollins, 2021, 274 pp.,
`370.00 (paperback), ISBN: 9789390327560.
DOI: 10.1177/00195561211045812
Parameswaran Iyer is an ex-IAS (1980 Batch, UP cadre officer) who is presently
the Global leader for Strategic Initiatives in the World Bank’s ‘Water Global

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