NOTE: This S.K.Jha was the Commissioner of Income-Tax for Vidarbha at Nagpur during 1986 to 1992. This article on him came out in Nagpur Times after his transfer to Calcutta in 1992. This contains his ideas on Man, Life and Death, God, economics and taxes. Thus he yoked together important, even discordant ideas, arbitrarily together. The sublime and the ridiculous come close! I feel that though more than two decades have gone, Time has yet not made those comments stale. [ Shiva Kant Jha on Oct. 5, 2013].
The Nagpur Times, Nagpur
NAGPUR, MAY 13, 
S.K. JHA – A multi – faceted personality
By Anju Hirani
NAGPUR, MAY 13
A calm and cool man, with intelligent eyes and serenity writ large on his face. An Income Tax Commissioner, a lecturer, an advocate, a voracious reader, a man who compares God with a calmpose tablet, who can speak for hours on any subject under the sun, his desk scattered with books on various topics, ranging from on various topics, ranging from City of Joy to Shri Aurobindo’s Upanishads.
You put all the things together and what do you get — a man of moods. Mr. Shiva Kant Jha, the income Tax Commissioner of Nagpur who has recently been transferred’ to Calcutta after six years of stay in Nagpur. He shared his memories, experiences, likes and dislikes with Nagpur Times.
Life in Nagpur
“My graph of life in Nagpur had a lot of ups and downs. I was promoted to the post of Commissioner of Income Tax when I came to Nagpur. My daughter got married in Nagpur. I had two grand children here. Man’s wish to be immortal is fulfilled through this process and the graph peaked during this period. Then I suffered a massive. heart attack and the line dipped low. My son topped his LLB. exams. and the line turned upwards once more. My indifferent health made the line plunge low again.”
“Initially when I came to Nagpur, I wanted to go back. After a year, I developed a liking for it, and two years I started enjoying my stay here”.
“Nagpur has special place in my heart. People oF Nagpur are by and large law abiding, peaceful and quite affectionate. But they are less responsive to challenges. Their psychology is that, if things are going in a particular way, then let them continue that way. The people in Nagpur are happy and satisfied lot. Some more endeavour should be made to make the people more dynamic, more assertive for bettering things rather than be happy with what they have”.
“This is necessary for developing the economy of Vidarbha. In 1991, the revenue collection in Vidarbha was 100 crores and in 1991-92. It was 125 crores so the growth process is there but there is substantial scope for further growth”.
Talking about Vidarbha, he said that “it is here that Gandhiji floated his Charkha policy. Gandhiji’s idea of Charkha was the more revolutionary idea than any economics in the world has known”.
“The Charkha provided meaningfulness to life, and dignity to an individual Charkha in every household would have made every household a centre of productivity, This is what is needed in India, a creative process of nation building”.
“If there is productive activity going on in all households, then the young boys and girls won’t engage in unfair means practices and so on”.
“We should put the Principles of Mahatma Gandhi in practice. The Gandhian thought should be an important component in forming our economic and fiscal policies.”
Plus & Minus Points
He smiled when I asked him his plus and minus points. I have so many minus points that if I be the judge, I’d sentence myself with heaviest punishment It is persons of Gandhiji’s caliber who could list their follies for others to benefit from, but ordinary individuals like me cannot expose them to others I don’t were my heart on my sleeves for fools to stare at “. Mr. Jha srnilingly quoted Othello.
“As far as my points are concerned, I am on incorrigible optimist. I am happy with whatever life has given me. I believe human potentialities are infinite. I have explored a little and would like to keep on exploring till the curtain falls”.
“Who would you like to be reborn as? The question had him in deep comtemplation for a long time before he slowly said, “I never thought of it because I never believed in it I believe in modem physics. I believe that whatever is right in me will remain so even after my death. Something in me may become the smile of charming young girl, and something else in me may become the frown of a ferocious tiger”.
“I have never been able to convince myself that there is rebirth, though my father and mother believed in it”. After heading around a lot, he said. “I would like to be born as a human being, but no human being appears to me to be a model who can be accepted without any modification. The liberty to design myself, I keep as my sovereign right”.
“He’s voracious reader. Tulsidas and Shakespeare have impressed him the most, though he finds Shakespeare more inviting, and feels more at home in his world.”
“The world of Tulsidas is one of faith, profound conviction and infinite dedication”, he says, “We live in a world of waste and destruction Thus we have so many friends in the world of Shakespeare, and none in the world of Kalidas, after Shakespeare He made every story a metaphor and that is something very remarkable.”
“Out of all Shakespeare’s work he prefers the Shakespeare tragedies, “Macbeth”, Othello”, “Hamlet” etc. They represent the pcak of his creativity. His other favourites are the “Old testament, and the “Ramcharitra Manas”.
View on God
“Do you believe in God? I asked him. “It’s a very tough question”, he mused. “At times I feel Gods are the most magnificent creations of human eings. Whether they exist or not, they do have impact”.
“In moments of distress I get solace when feelings are ruffled, I get Peace. When all is lost I feel profound is still surviving when everyone is gone, something very personal is providing company”.
“I feel without faith in God, it would be difficult to live as life’s pangs and sufferings would be unbearable without faith in God. Hope cannot survive and without hope, life cannot be worth living. So I do feel that the most intense creative human imagination created God”.
“Remembering his days in the hospital, he said: “When someone is placed on the operation table for some serious operation then one acquires serenity of mind and hope by surrendering oneself to God.”.
“I perceived my doctor as that and surrendered myself to him. It is this which sustained me. I believe it is your faith which sustains you. This faith in God is something which supports when all supports are gone”.
“He compared God to a calmpose tablet saying that both give you peace of mind. He never realized, I suppose that an overdose of the latter leads one straight to God.”
“Answering a querry on alleged corruption by revenue collecting authorities, Mr. Jha said: “There is no country in the world where in some measure corruption is not present There are lot of reasons for it, besides the economic reason.”
“Despite the efforts by the department to eradicate corruption the problem is very much there. Various agencies of the department are functioning to look into the public grievances. The Grievance Cell in Commissioner’s Office, Central Board of Direct Taxes in New Delhi, Vigilance officers, besides various other government agencies, are investigating into complaints of corruption.”
“The general level of performance in dept. is fine though there is scope for improvement. This year a lot of stress is being given for improving our public relations.”
On Direct Taxes
“The national revenue from Income Tax is just one or two percent. Why isn’t it just done away with? I asked.”
“This issue was considered in United Kingdom also. I feel we should not do away with direct taxes. The indirect taxes hit all. Direct taxes are imposed on those capable of bearing the burden. By making them tax payers we make them conscious partners in the development of Nations. So they should not be done away with.”
“Getting a wee bit emotional in the end, he said “when I first came to Nagpur in 1965 as a Probation Officer, I wrote an article in Nagpur Times on Jean-Paul Sartre who had refused to accept the Nobel Prize for literature. It’s a wonderful coincidence that now when I am leaving Nagpur, Nagpur Times is featuring me”.