Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Shri K. R. Narayanan ( 27 October 1920 – 9 November 2005) (10th Presidentof India) His Excellency Kocheril Raman Narayanan the first Malayali Dalit to rise from a thatched hut in small unknown Kerala village to become first Citizen of India. India become proud of secular democratic system of governance when R.K. Narayanan became 10th President, the proud occupant of Rashterpati Bhawn in Delhi, the highest seat of power in Indian governance. India the largest world democracy was proud to have K. R. Narayanan as a "working President" who while working "within the four corners of the Constitution” set new goals in parliamentary system of governance. This way he worked as between an "executive President" who has direct power and a "rubber- stamp President" who endorses government decisions without question or deliberation. Many eye brows were raised when the President Hon’ble K. R. Narayanan questioned the procedure followed in “Appointment and Transfer” of Supreme Court and State High Court Judges. He not only suggested to relook into and to modify the existing procedure of“Appointment and Transfer “ of Judges. The file for appointment of 4 Judges(Justice M.B. Shah, Justice D.P. Mahapatra, Justice Umesh Banerjee and Justice R.C. Lahoti ) to the Supreme court bench from law Ministry after the Prime Minister’s signature moved in to the Presidential secretariat in mid November 1998. While giving his assent to the names on the file on November 28, 1998, Narayanan wrote: "I would like to record my views that while recommending the appointment of Supreme Court judges, it would be consonant with constitutional principles and the nation's social objectives if persons belonging to weaker sections of society like SCs and STs, who comprise 25 per cent of the population, and women are given due consideration." The President also asserted that "Eligible persons from SC/ST categories are available and their underrepresentation or non-representation would not be justifiable." In 1998 there were 93 vacancies out of sanctioned strength of 585 High courts Judges. Taking clue from it the President wrote back "Eligible persons from these categories are available and their underrepresentation or non-representation would not be justifiable. Keeping vacancies unfilled is also not desirable given the need for representation of different sections of society and the volume of work which the Supreme and High Courts are required to handle. On K. R. Narayanan raising objections on CJI Hon’ble Adarsh Sein Anand's proposals ,Judiciary entered in to the legal procedural tangle whether the President was right or wrong in doing so the Legal circles acknowledge that compared to the population very few justices belonging to the SC/ST category are appointed. In the past, the 25-member Supreme Court used to have at least one justice belonging to the underprivileged section. None of the 24 serving justices belonged to this category. Finally when the controversy got settled Justice K. G. Balakrishnan’s road block to get elevated as the Chief Justice Of India was cleared. So subsequently Justice K. G. Balakrishnan a Dalit was elevated as 37th Chief Justice of India from 14th January to 12 May 2010. During his presidency, Narayanan emphasized on improving the conditions of Dalits and Adivasis, minorities, and poor and downtrodden through his endless speeches and directions. He focused on the removal of social castes deprivations, such as atrocities against women and children, caste discrimination, abuse of environment and public utilities, corruption and lack of accountability in the delivery of public services, religious fundamentalism, advertisement-driven consumerism, and flouting of human rights. He proved his excellent mental capabilities as a journalist, economist, educationist, administrator, parliamentarian, Union Minister and as a head of many Indian foreign diplomatic consulates. Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru the first Prime Minister Of India, who also held the portfolio of the Minister External Affairs during his 16 years as PM, held that K. R. Narayanan was "the best diplomat of the country." Shri K. R. Narayanan IFS worked as a diplomat in the embassies at Rangoon, Tokyo, London, Canberra, and Hanoi. He was the Indian ambassador to Thailand (1967–69), Turkey (1973–75), and the People's Republic of China (1976–78). Narayanan's tenures as Indian ambassador to China, the first such high level Indian diplomatic posting in that country after the 1962 Sino-Indian War was highly acclaimed. A firm footing of change for the good in the diplomatic thinking between India and People's Republic of China was established due to apt intelligent handling by Sh. K.R. Narayanan .His diplomatic handling of constrained Indo-China relations made possible Indian Minister of External Affairs, Mr. A.B Vajpayee to pay a visit to China in 1979, and also visit of Chinese Vice Premier cum Foreign Minister, Mr. Huang Hua, to India in 1981. After retirement as an IFS Officer he was called back to serve as Indian Ambassador to the United States from 1980–84, under the Indira Gandhi administration. His profound experience in diplomatic efforts helped arrange Ms. Gandhi's landmark visit in 1982( July 27-31) to Washington during Ronald Reagan presidency. Narayanan’s able handling of strained relations with both world giants helped mend India's strained relations with both these countries as equal partners. Kocheril Raman Narayanan was born in Perumthanam, Uzhavoor village, in the princely state of Travancore (present day Kottayam district, Kerala) This village is about 32 km away from Kottayam Distric headquarters. He was the fourth child out of seven children of Shri Kocheril Raman Vaidyar, a physician practising the traditional Indian medical systems of Siddha and Ayurveda.His mother’s name was Shrimati Punnaththuraveettil Paappiyamma. His family belonging to the Paravan ( Dalit) caste, whose members are assigned the task of plucking coconuts as per the caste system.His family was poor, but his father was respected for his medical acumen. Narayanan was born on 4 February 1921. He was admitted in Government Lower Primary School at Kurichithanam on May 5,1927. His uncle accompanied him to school to get him admitted. But his uncle, did not know his actual date of birth, and arbitrarily chose 27 October 1920 for the school records; Narayanan later chose to retain it in official records. Later Narayanan went to Our Lady of Lourdes Upper Primary School at Uzhavoor from 1931-35. Due to his family's weak financial status, Narayanan walked 10-15 km daily to reach school through paddy fields. At times he attended his lectures by standing outside the class due to his inability to pay the school fees on time. His brother, K.R. Neelakantan was confined to home due to asthma. Neelakantan helped Narayanan in his studies by borrowing books and copying down notes for him. Narayanan went to St. John's High School, Koothattukulam ( 1935-36) and later Matriculated from St. Mary's High School, Kuravilangad in 1937. He completed his intermediate studies from CMS College, Kottayam in 1940 through the support of a merit scholarship from the Travencore Royal family . In 1943, he passed his BA (Hons) and subsequently passed MA degrees in Literature ( 1940-43) from University of Travancore (now University of Kerala), with first position in the university. So he earned the distinction of being the first Dalit to complete his degree with First class. Due to the ill treatment given to him in the university, being a Dalit, he denied to accept the degree and service offered to him by the university authorities. Equipped with high merits this Dalit post graduate set out to pursue his higher studies, but poverty came his way, so he returned back to his native place. He took to journalism and worked with the leading news papers The Hindu and The Times Of India(1944- 45). He interviewed Mahatma Gandhi at Bombay ( Now Mumbai) on 10 April,1945. But Narayanan’s urge for Higher Studies abroad pressed him to find ways and means to full-fill his dreams. The fee required for his dream project was beyond his financial reach. There was no scope for government scholarship either. He wrote a letter to JRD Tata requesting him to help him in his studies abroad. His request was accepted by the industrialist giant J. R. D. Tata ( 1904-1993)who promised him all help for his studies abroad. There after Narayanan travelled to London to study political science at the prestigious London School of Economics (LSE) in 1945. He studied under the expert guidance of renowned scholar Harold Laski. He also attended lectures by Karl Popper, Lionel Robbins, and Friedrich Hayek. He obtained the honours degree of B. Sc. (Economics) with a specialisation in political science. During his stay in London, he along with fellow student K. N. Raj (1924-2010) was active in the India League under V. K. Krishna Menon (1896-1976). He was also the London correspondent of the Social Welfare Weekly published by K. M. Munshi (1887-1971). He shared lodgings with another K. Malayali student N. Raj(1924-2010) and Veerasamy Ringadoo (1920- 2000 ),who later became the first Governor-General and also first President of Mauritius Narayanan’s another close friend was Pierre Trudeau ( 1919-2000),who later became Prime minister of Canada. Narayanan returned to India in 1948 after completion of his studies in London. His teacher Laski on his own gave him a letter of introduction to Prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. How Narayana entered Indian Foreign Service, there is a storey to tell. On reaching Delhi Narayanan sought an appointment with the PM. It was customary for an Indian student returning home from London. His request was accepted and he was given a time-slot. He met the Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru in Parliament House. For some time they discussed about London and other things .When Narayanan felt that it was time for him to leave. Narayanan while saying goodbye handed over the letter from Laski, and stepped out into the great circular corridor outside. Soon he heard the sound of someone clapping from his back. When Narayanan turned back to see PM , he was asked to return back. The PM had opened the letter and read it. Upon Narayanan’s return Nehru asked: "Why didn't you give this to me earlier and to this Narayanan replied "Well, sir, I am sorry. I thought it would be enough if I handed it over while leaving." Some more quarries were made by PM and he also asked Narayanan to see him again. Soon thereafter NarayanaI entered the Indian Foreign Service. Besides his diplomatic assignments abroad he also taught at the Delhi School of Economics (1954), and was Jawaharlal Nehru fellow (1970–72) and secretary to the ministry of external affairs (1976). He retired in 1978 as ambassadors to China . After his retirement, he served as the Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi from 3 January 1979 – 14 October 1980. This assignment laid sound foundation for his public life. On Indira Gandhi's request K.R.Narayanan entered politics . He won three successive general elections to the Lok Sabha in 1984, 1989, and 1991, as a representative of the Ottapalam constituency in Palakkad, Kerala, on a Congress ticket. He defeated communist leaders Sh.A. K. Balan once and Lenin Rajendran twice. When Rajiv Gandhi ( 1944-1989) became 6th Prime Minister Of India after assassination of his mother he included K.R.Narayanan as a Minister of State in the Union cabinet K.R.Narayanan was assigned the portfolios of Planning (1985), External Affairs (1985–86), and Science and Technology (1986–89). As a Member of Parliament, he resisted international pressure to tighten patent controls in India. On Indian Nation Congress getting voted out of power K.R. Narayanan sat in the opposition benches ( 1989–91). Narayanan was not included in the cabinet when the Congress again returned to power in 1991. While working in Rangoon in Burma ( Now Myanmar), K. R. Narayanan met Miss Ma Tint Tint an activist in the YWCA , the “Young Women's Christian Association”. The YWCA is the largest women’s organization in the world. It is a movement of women working for social and economic change around the world. It advocates for young women’s leadership, peace, justice, human rights and sustainable development, both on a grassroots and global scale. When Ma Tint Tint came to know that Narayanan was student of world famous teacher Harold Laski, a world economist giant , she approached Narayanan to speak on political freedom .Their acquaintances turned into meetings and meetings to lifelong association as legally wedded life partners. Since Narayanan was an IFS officer and Ma Tint Tint a foreigner, their marriage need a special consideration from Indian Prime Minister as per Indian law. The permission was granted. Later both of them married in Delhi on 8th June 1951. Ma Tint Tint became an Indian citizen and adopted the Indian name Usha Narayanan(1923–2008). She continued her pursuits for higher learning and writings. She completed her Masters in Social Work from Delhi School of Social Work. Besides shouldering her household responsibilities Usha Narayanan continued working on several social welfare programs for women and children in India. She successfully translated and published several Burmese short stories; a collection of translated stories by Thein Pe Myint ( 1914-1978), titled Sweet and Sour, published in 1998 when she was First Lady Of India from foreign origin. Their legal wedlock sprang with two lotuses. They have two daughters, Ms. Chitra Narayanan and Amrita. Amrita Narayanan writes and has a private practice in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. She is the author of a book of short fiction and some other books are also to her credit. Ms. Chitra Narayanan an IFS ( 1978) served besides other high profile assignments as Indian ambassador to Ghana, Algiers ,The Holy See Turkey and

No comments:

Post a Comment