A Few Good Men

Perhaps the only time in history that a bureaucrat's job has been glamorous was during the British Raj. In the course of a typical day, an officer of the Indian Civil Service (ICS) might have been called upon to judge a case in which a jealous husband had chopped off his wife's nose, arrange for rice to reach a famine-stricken town, meet a local maharajah for tea, and then wind down by heading off into the jungle to shoot a panther. Then again, everything about the ICS was extraordinary—not least, the immense power wielded by an astonishingly small bureaucracy: in 1901,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!