Dilip Cherian | Ram Lalla to be recipient of one retired babu's bhakti bonanza

Update: 2023-11-29 18:30 GMT
The former Union home secretary and 1970-batch IAS officer has willingly parted ways with his life's earnings, a whopping Rs 5 crores, donating them to his deity at the grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya. (Representational Image: PTI)

In a gesture that blends the spiritual with the sensational, a retired babu, S. Lakshmi Narayanan, has elevated his devotion to Lord Ram to an unprecedented level. The former Union home secretary and 1970-batch IAS officer has willingly parted ways with his life’s earnings, a whopping Rs 5 crores, donating them to his deity at the grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya, which is scheduled to open its doors in January 2024. He has reportedly also donated all his movable and immovable property to Ram Lalla.

Despite Mr Narayanan’s inclination towards maintaining a low profile and shying away from public acknowledgement, news of his extraordinary donation was revealed by the Temple Trust. Apparently, after the consecration of Lord Ram, Mr Narayanan plans to top off his generosity by committing to commission a hefty 151 kg Ramcharitmanas, priced at Rs 5 crores. This colossal work, featuring 10,902 verses, will be etched on copper pages dipped in emerald and adorned with 24-carat gold letters. The resultant work will be reverently placed near the feet of Ram Lalla. To fund this magnum opus, Mr Narayanan is gearing up to liquidate everything he owns, from properties to bank accounts.

Interestingly, Mr Narayanan, who once donned the hat of chairman in a major finance company, has now exchanged his material accoutrements for divine bliss. It’s a plot twist that could rival a cinematic climax!

Centre’s strategic shuffle in J&K

In a surprise move, the Centre took the unexpected step of repatriating Atal Dulloo, the Union secretary for border management, to his cadre state, following a request from the Union home ministry. The timing of the decision, just days ahead of the retirement of the current chief secretary of Jammu & Kashmir, Arun Kumar Mehta, hints at a larger strategic manoeuvre by the Centre, potentially positioning Mr Dulloo as the frontrunner for the coveted post.

For several months, insiders speculated about the extension of chief secretary Mehta’s term, and the possible succession by Raj Kumar Goel. However, the Centre once again displayed its penchant for surprises by redirecting Mr Dulloo to his cadre state. This choice may bring about a fresh perspective to the governance of J&K.

Some senior babus believe that the Centre might have a different role in mind for Mr Goel within the Government of India, possibly at an apex scale post, even as the decks have been cleared for Mr Dulloo’s appointment as the union territory’s top babu. This adds an intriguing layer to the narrative in Jammu & Kashmir, even as the Centre keeps its cards close to its chest. The decisions made in the coming days will not only impact the state leadership but also reveal the Centre’s larger vision for governance in this strategically significant region. Watch this space for updates.

Whistleblower forest officer praised for legal acumen

A veteran of several court battles with the government on corruption and other malpractices, whistle-blower Indian Forest Service (IFoS) officer Sanjeev Chaturvedi has earned the respect of the public and, now, even the courts.

A recent court hearing added another laurel to the Magsaysay Award winner’s career when the chief justice of a high court acknowledged Mr Chaturvedi’s legal acumen. The Chief Justice praised Mr Chaturvedi stating that he was better-versed in law than the other counsel. Such open praise from the high court underlines Chaturvedi's deep understanding of the legal complexities that often accompany his battles.

Mr Chaturvedi first hit the headlines when he was posted in Haryana where he took on corrupt politicians and senior bureaucrats involved in mining, illegal felling and poaching scams. After several years of harassment and court cases, he was moved to Delhi as the chief vigilance officer of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), where too, he exposed large-scale corruption, which led to his removal. At present, he is in Uttarakhand, after a long protracted legal battle to get his cadre changed from Haryana to Uttarakhand.

In these times tainted by widespread corruption, Mr Chaturvedi emerges as a beacon of righteousness, undeterred by the heavy price he pays for his steadfast stance. This fact is now recognised even by the judiciary.


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