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…”
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