A voice of wisdom is lost
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Though shy and retiring, he was fun to be around. He loved the good things life — drink, food, books, music — although his indulgences were tempered by strict moderation. A talented raconteur, he regaled us with anecdotes about Gandhi, Nehru and Mountbatten, laced, I suspect, with apocryphal titbits concerning the stalwarts of the IAS.
He was as dismayed by the speed as he was bewildered by the intensity of the assault upon the integrity of the ambience pervading the body politic by unscrupulous politicians, dishonest civil servants, and ambitious businessmen — a nexus that was in its embryonic stage in the 1980s. Disenchanted and isolated, after a stint as secretary (textiles) in the Central government, he withdrew to the portals of the relatively peaceful National Institute of Rural Development as its director general.
Though he retired soon after and settled in his native town of Kakinada, he was sought after by the UPSC, the Centre for Economic Social Studies and the National Academy of Agricultural Extension Management, not to mention serving officials looking for a shoulder to sob on, especially the district collectors of East Godavari!
The Raus made a comely couple — gracious as hosts and charming as guests. He had no children. He rejoiced in whatever little I achieved in the service and was particularly thrilled with the accomplishments of my nephew, Sitaram Yechuri, who, like me, was like a son to him.
Completely at home in the company of younger people, enjoying talking as much as he was eager to listen, he would laugh a lot and make others join in. He was not averse to a mild leg-pulling either. An account of one of my views on agriculture prompted the remark, "That was a good report! But what did you really say?"
One recalls John Gunther's book
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