Rare honour for a civil servant 08/03/2011

Padma Vibhushan for C R Krishnaswamy Rao Sahib

“Rao Sahib richly deserves the PadmaVibhushan Award…”

“The award is a recognition of the qualities he stood for – honesty,sincerity and integrity…”

“He is one of those rare civil servants who held his head high…”

“He should have got the award much earlier, but we are happy that they have thought of him at least now, though it is nearly two decades since he has retired from the civil service…”

These were some of the reactions of Rao Sahib’s colleagues, friends and relatives when they saw his name among the Padma Vibhushan Awardees which were announced on the Republic Day.

Two things, however, surprised them – they noticed among the photographs of the Padma Awardees that appeared in the newspapers which carried the news , Rao Sahib’s photograph did not appear; and, secondly, excepting for a lone mainstream newspaper that carried a story about him, the media seems to have missed doing a story about the only civil servant who not only belonged to Chennai but made Chennaivasis proud by being awarded the Padma Vibhushan , the second highest among the Padma Awards.

When I went to meet RaoSahib to congratulate him , what struck me most was his simplicity and self effacing manner. An alumnus of P S Higher Secondary School and the Presidency College, Rao Sahib joined the civil service in 1950.

He has the rare distinction of having served under three prime ministers – Charan Singh, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi – before retiring as the Cabinet Secretary in 1985.

His wife is Lalitha who is a graduate in Sanskrit from Presidency College and their daughters have settled down in the US with their families.

N Meera Raghavendra Rao


One thought on “Rare honour for a civil servant 08/03/2011

  1. V Raghavan

    The simplicity of great souls is amazing! Please see the correspondence I had two weeks ago with Palle Rama Rao. If I recall correctly, Palle is a place near Hyderabad, from where some of your ancestors come. I think the awards ceremony was today. Raghavan

    Dear Professor Rama Rao:

    I recently heard that you have been bestowed with Padma Vibhushan this year. Please accept my hearty and sincere congratulations. Even after so many years of retirement, you have been quietly contributing to the advancement of science in this country, which is well worthy of recognition.

    Also, congratulations on your forthcoming Dr Antia Memorial Lecture. You have chosen a good topic for the talk. Even though I would not be attending, my thoughts will be with you on that day.

    With best regards

    V Raghavan

    Dear Professor Raghavan,

    Thank you very much for your kind letter and the words
    of congratulations.

    I am looking forward to delivering the lecture bearing the
    name of a great stalwart who was also my well wisher. I am
    also aware how much he admired you.

    With best regards,

    P. Rama Rao

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