Flying in High Winds: A Memoir

by S.K. Misra

  1. ISBN: 978-81-291-3960-3
  2. Pages: 272 pages
  3. Date: April 2016


Throughout his career, S.K. Misra has flown in high winds, sometimes with them and sometimes against. As principal secretary to three chief ministers of Haryana, including the formidable Bansi Lal and Chaudhary Devi Lal; principal secretary to Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar; and secretary in the Ministries of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Agriculture, he worked closely with strong political leaders. He also developed close friendships with some of the most iconic cultural figures of the time. Among many other achievements, he directed the Festivals of India, set up the National Institute of Fashion Technology, served as chairman of INTACH and played a crucial role in creating the International National Trusts Organization (INTO). He continues to innovate with ITRHD, a new trust for rural heritage and development. In all of this, he has always maintained one thing—his integrity.

Flying in High Winds chronicles a life well lived, revealing unknown facets of the prominent personalities with whom he interacted, such as Jawaharlal Nehru, M.F. Husain, Prince Charles, Sanjay Gandhi and Ebrahim Alkazi, and behind-the-scenes history of major events in which he played a key role. Candid, enlightening and with doses of tongue-in-cheek humour, this book showcases Indian bureaucracy in a new light.


S.K. Misra was born in 1932. He received his MA degree from Allahabad University and joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1956. He served as principal secretary to three chief ministers in Haryana and later as director general of the Festivals of India, and secretary in the Ministries of Agriculture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. He retired from government as principal secretary to the prime minister, after which he served with the UPSC, and as chairman of INTACH. He has created and nurtured numerous institutions, including the Punjab Agricultural University, the Motilal Nehru School of Sports, the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) and, currently, the Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development (ITRHD). In 2009 he was awarded the Padma Bhushan for Distinguished Civil Service.

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