Few civil servants, few indeed, left an indelible imprint as V. Ramachandran. His contributions to the economic development of the state, in the last 60 years, will ever be remembered.
He could legitimately be considered the aimed at effective planning and implementation of our economic and social priorities, to which he remained steadfast.
My acquaintance with him, an awe-inspiring neighbour, started from 1966, long before I joined the Civil Service.
I was greatly impressed with his in-depth study, simplicity, devotion to duty as a justification to one's existence, and, above all, an unflinchingcommitment to society.
After his brilliant academic attainments, he chose the IAS, with a determination to do his mite towards the overall progress of the nascent Republic — to bring it on a par with developed nations of the world.
As a Civil Servant, he was fully sensitive to the needs and aspirations of the people.And, he strived tirelessly to meet those expectations. "Be the change you wish to see in the world", was his quiet motto.
In his attire, words and demeanour, he lived a true Gandhian, simple living and high thinking his hallmark. Humility without surrender of personality or compromise on views and decisions, made him unique. Although non-performance, all-around, annoyed him, I could never see him get angry with anyone, ever.
In every position he adorned, he championed the cause of good governance. The report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission of India, in which he served as Member, and later Chairman, is in fact an exposition of his concern on corruption that has been sapping the vitals of this country.
The chapter Ethics in Governance looks as if he wrote it from his heart: "Finally, there should be ethics in citizen behaviour because such behaviour impinges directly on ethics in government and administration and, therefore, governance."
V. Ramachandran was a living legend. None to equal him, is perhaps a short summation of his career. None could have performed so gracefully in the PMO in such a pivotal position — under Indira Gandhi and Morarji Desai, with equal justice to both and with equanimity.
A grateful nation honoured him with Padma Bhushan. Mens aequa in arduis (a steady mind in tribulation) would perhaps be the best epitaph for him.
(The author is a former IAS officer; firstname.lastname@example.org)
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