Being in government helps

How does it work to be a government servant or having been one before? Works well, I’d say, especially if you are looking for somebody for social service. It’s probably their experience of having tackled government machinery in the past, machinery that can be quite frightening to the uninitiated. Probably also because such a person is often aware of the way government functions, and knows the alleys and pathways to get along.

I met a former government servant who has found success as a social worker too. M. Jayaraman has been president of the Padmavathi Nagar Residents Welfare Association in Virugambakkam ever since it was rejuvenated in 1995. Once slush area abutting an abandoned burial ground, Jayaraman says that the early residents in the 10-15 houses then struggled hard to get CMDA approval and to organise civic amenities. Today, there are 160 houses on 69 plots, but leading from the front in those days to get things moving was Jayaraman. Once, he overcame all hurdles to get the sewerage connection. Of course, it helped that the person sitting in the local civil office who had earlier proved to be a cog in the wheel turned out to be his own cousin. Naturally, the Padmavathi Nagar residents were enthused by Jayaraman’s victory and the Association received a fresh lease of life. Even today, Jayaraman oversees every activity, from posting security personnel to garbage clearance. His aim now is to get the residents to work towards zero garbage, and to plant avenue trees.

Born in Kandakirayan Village in Mannargudi Taluq, Thanjavur, Jayaraman grew up in Tiruchy under the care of his uncle Muthuswamy Pillai. Forthright, Jayaraman tells me that his father S. Murugesan was a freedom fighter who hardly had time for the family. After schooling at All Saints SPG Model School and Bishop Heber High School, Jayaraman graduated in chemistry from St Joseph’s, Tiruchy. He was a class topper and university rank holder. “My aim was to study and come up in life,” he says.

Jayaraman first worked as teacher at the Bishop Ubhaharam Swamy High School in Tirupur. A chance meeting with the boss of his elder brother Thinakaran (retired as chief conservator of forests) at an agricultural research station in Nellikuppam led to Jayaraman getting a job in the Department of Agriculture, Government of Tamil Nadu, as research assistant, in December 1958. Well, that was the way you got jobs in those days!

He served the department for 35 years – at the Tiruchy Sugarcane Research Substation, Coimbatore Agricultural College & Research Institute, Institute of Remote Sensing, Anna University – eventually retiring as the joint director of agriculture (research). He obtained his M Sc degree under a fellowship programme (1972-74) with the International Institute for Aerospace and Earth Sciences, Netherlands, specialising in remote sensing for soil resources.

Post-retirement, Jayaraman has been running Larc Agro Consultancy, authorised by ISRO, National Remote Sensing Agency, Hyderabad, and Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad. Now, it you need some expert help concerning soil, you can contact him at 23771968.


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