In conversation with IAS officer Kiran Soni Gupta

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Geetanjali Minhas | January 5, 2016


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A 1985 batch IAS officer, Kiran Soni Gupta is also an artist, writer and photographer. Selected by Harvard University for the prestigious Mason fellowship to study public policy, governance and public administration at the Kennedy School of Government, she was also awarded a scholarship for a masters in public policy at the Maxwell School Syracuse. Winner of many national awards, she has been recognised by the National Productivity Council and NABARD for her administrative and development initiatives. Besides holding 37 solo shows and 75 group exhibitions she has been a part of 15 art residencies.​Her paintings have been exhibited at Le Louvre museum and Carrousel de Louvre, Paris. Her articles have appeared in leading newspapers. At present Gupta is additional secretary and financial advisor in the ministry of sports and youth affairs and the ministry of skill development. 

 
 
Administration, painting, writing, photography… – what I enjoy most is: My official work because it’s very challenging. Our decisions impact a large number of people. Humanisation of administration is also its greatest challenge. Painting is my passion, it’s part of my life. But it has always come after my work as an officer. Administration inspires me and provides me with themes for painting. Painting is ‘feeling’ for me. Unless I am deeply touched by something I will not be able to paint. My writings also are more on issues I confront and deal with in my work. Empathy and keen observation are a commonality between art and administration.  

I manage to multitask by: Being organised and managing time.

I start my day with: Many cups of tea, reading newspapers and getting on with my files. 

Painting to me is: Visual meditation, a moment seized. 

My favourite painting is: My copy of a painting by the great artist Thakur Singh from Amritsar. 

Art means: Science and philosophy of life. Art must become part of life. It is de-stressing and meditation to me. It is an expression of soul and freezes time. You can judge a nation by the art it has produced. 

Memorable moments of my life: Watching my sister paint, I commenced my own art journey. Encouraged by my father I started painting for him till I had my own body of work.

The strongest influence on me is: My father.

My inspiration comes from: The environment.

My desire is: To transform India with the smart city concept and make it the cultural capital of the world.

The best decision of my life: To appear for the public service exams.

My favourite holiday destination: Hawaii. 

My weakness: I am moody.

My strength: Perseverance. 

I de-stress by: Reading, writing, painting, music, travelling, my thought process.

Good governance to me means: Not just going hi-tech but also making the administration humane and more user-friendly so that people can manoeuvre their lives easily. 

These days I am busy with: Settling in my new posting. I am also working on an art book which is an updated compilation of my paintings.

I want to be remembered as: An icon like MS Randhawa, a bureaucrat and a cultural icon.
 
(As told to Geetanjali Minhas)

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