ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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S R Sankaran: In Memoriam

S R Sankaran, the retired IAS officer, who died on 7 October was an extraordinary person who directly touched the lives of perhaps tens of thousands of people. As a civil servant he was deeply involved over the decades in the abolition of bonded labour and empowerment of the adivasis of Andhra Pradesh. He was also chief secretary of Tripura and at the centre he was involved with some major policy issues such as the nationalisation of coal in the 1970s. Position and power did not matter to Sankaran, the rights of the poor did. Post retirement, Sankaran remained as active as before: he was involved with a number of people's organisations, he headed a committee of concerned citizens to mediate between the government and the Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh, he worked with safai karmacharis to abolish this antediluvian practice and he was generally concerned with the threat to democratic rights. Two tributes.

Serukalathur Ramanathan Sankaran will remain a legend to be remembered by the civil servants in the country, as well as by the people of Andhra Pradesh. Some of us closely associated with him during the last four decades are yet to reconcile ourselves to his passing.

During the 30-odd years that he served the state and the centre as a civil servant in various capacities, Sankaran’s home offered an open shelter to anyone in need of help and solace. He transcended the rigid barriers of the civil services to reach out to the needy, the oppressed and the deprived. His uprightness, sincerity and compassion for the poor disarmed politicians, inspired young civil servants and provided hope and succour to millions of voiceless people. He was a civil servant with a difference. More than that, he was a self-effacing human being par excellence.

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