I became a ‘Babu’ in 1956 when I joined the IAS and Uttar Pradesh became my cadre. In those days, we were taught that a civil servant should be politically neutral, and always give correct advice without fear or favour. My early years in UP reinforced my belief in this maxim. I will never forget one case where the chief minister, the late C.B. Gupta, wanted to promote someone, and I objected  to his recommendation thrice in writing. My superiors, including the chief secretary, supported me. Each time, the CM overruled us. Far from being transferred, I was promoted in turn.