A memoire is a reflection on past events etched in memory. In Virtus in Arduis, Parthasarathi Shome—popularly regarded as ‘India’s Taxman’ and internationally known as a ‘Taxation Rock Star’—looks back on the course of his professional growth to bring to the interested reader an account of exceptional brilliance, integrity and perseverance, combined with a thirst for challenge, and, in simple words, to recount how ‘Partho Shome came from there to here’.
As one who has travelled to some forty countries as fiscal adviser to governments and academic research, and to as many more out of plain curiosity, Shome’s is a life driven by constant change and variety, and one rich in experience, personal and professional. Fluent in Spanish, he has been part of global policymaking at the International Monetary Fund as Chief of Tax Policy, been Adviser (Minister of State level) to former finance minister P. Chidambaram, and Chief Economist for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, UK Government.
As an economist who has published in top-notch international journals and authored several books, taught and researched extensively in India and abroad, a practitioner who has investigated many a tax law and its subordinate legislation, and a tax administrator who has implemented tax law in the field, Shome’s insights, interspersed with glimpses of the manifold challenges he faced and some lighter moments of that experience, are extraordinary.
While he focuses primarily on his career graph and academic life, allusions to the personal side—delightful, wry, poignant: remembering vital lessons learnt in childhood, his love for Latin America, his trip to Okavango River Delta, visiting his ancestral home in Bangladesh, and many more—make this memoire a fascinating and engaging read