Review- Public Administration

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Public Administration: Organization, Process and Retrospect-Author: Abdun Noor Publisher: Bangladesh Institute of Islamic Thought (BIIT) Dhaka-1209, Bangladesh, September 2006]

As an academic discipline in the university level public administration is not so new. In the 70’s and 80’s it started as a separate department in the various public universities in Bangladesh. Now it is a very popular subject among the students. The syllabus of the subject is highly time-oriented. The text and reference books that are studied in the departments are all in English. Few scholars of Public administration both in Bangladesh and India tried to write books on the discipline in Bengali. But these are very few. Recently Professor Abdun Noor of the department of Public Administration in the University of Chittagong has taken an attempt to publish a book on public administration in Bengali. The title of the book is Lok Proshashon: Shangathan, Procria abong Anuchintha (Public Administration: Organization, Process and Retrospect). “Anuchinta” in Bengali means retrospect or look back. What is public administration? What is its philosophical basis? How do the trends of intellectual evolution advances? In the developing countries like Bangladesh how far public administration is successful to fulfill the aspirations of the nations? Why do the politico-administrative systems based on Western thought and experience is failing to satisfy the national aspirations in oriental societies? Don’t we have any tradition of good governance in

How do culture and tradition influence on a nations’ governance?

These are some of the basic questions raised by Professor Abdun Noor in his recently published anthology on Public Administration. This is a unique work in the sense that it differs with other textbooks on the subject in content and analysis.

Sixteen articles have been grouped into five different chapters, namely: 1) Administrative Thought; 2) Value in Public Administration; 3) Accountability in Public Administration, 4) Education and Human Resource Development; and 5) Discussion on important publications on Public Administration.

In the first chapter the author incorporated eastern traditions and thoughts and the evolution of western thoughts to the study of public administration; the theory, nature and relevance of development administration; and the principles of new public management in administration reforms.

In the second chapter the author incorporated the worldview of bureaucracy; comparative discussion on new public administration and Islamic administration; the Islamic context of the public administration process; the administration of Prophet (Sm.); and social justice and the rules of Islamic administration.

The articles of the third chapter are the modern and Islamic systems of bureaucratic accountability in public administration; Ombudsman in controlling administrative intractable; and ethics in public administration.

In the fourth chapter the added two articles. These are the Islamic context in the development of education and human resources and ideology, development and corruption in the context of Bangladesh.

All the articles are highly informative and very much important for the students, teachers, and researchers of social sciences and the politicians and social workers at present in Bangladesh. But in recent times ‘good governance’, ‘transparency’, ‘organization’, ‘local government’, ‘local administration’, ‘rural development’, etc. are some of the important concepts that are comprehensively discussed. There is no article on any of those topics in this book. I think in the next edition of this book the author will incorporate these topics for the betterment of the students of social sciences, especially administration and politics. 

The author, side by side with the Western thought, has highlighted Asian traditions especially, Islamic perspectives in administration. The diagram on the cover page depicts the policy making and implementation process in Bangladesh where the people are seen only at the receiving end, without having any opportunity to provide inputs to administration, nor the bureaucracy accountable to people. On the whole, this is a thought provoking work for Asian scholars.

Though the author in his acknowledgement acknowledges to the proofreaders for their patient corrections, few printing mistakes are found. If we consider these ignorable mistakes I must say it is a very meticulous task. I wish its wide circulation. I hope the teachers, researchers, and students of social sciences, especially politics and administration, and social thinkers and the political leaders would benefit by going through this highly informative and conscientious work and thus, the book deserves to be widely read.

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