Powerful in Delhi, powerless in Kerala
In the national pantheon of the influential and the powerful, Kerala rules; quite disproportionate to its size and standing in national affairs.
The roll call of the Malayalees in Delhi reads like a who's who of the Indian bureaucracy.
Powerful in Delhi, powerless in Kerala
The immediate and the latest to ascend the stairway to power in the national capital from Kerala is P J Thomas, who has just taken over the critical position of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner.
He is unlikely to feel home sick in Delhi. He may even think the capital too crowded with denizens from God's Own Country.
For keeping him company in the sanctum sanctorum of bureaucratic elite in India is a whole gaggle of them. The list is indeed a breathtaking constellation of Malayalees.
Powerful in Delhi, powerless in Kerala
Take a look:
K M Chandrasekhar, Cabinet Secretary
Shiv Shankar Menon, National Security Advisor (NSA)
Nirupama Rao, Foreign Secretary
P J Thomas, Chief Vigilance Commissioner
T K A Nair, Prinicipal Secretary to the Prime Minister
Madhavan Nambiar, Aviation Secretary
G K Pillai, Home Secretary
Powerful in Delhi, powerless in Kerala
The list is further extended if you include those who were not born in Kerala, but belong to the Kerala cadre of the Indian civil service. For instance, Vinod Rai, Comptroller and Auditor General of India and Sudha Pillai, Planning Commission Secretary. And the list gets even heavier if you add the relatively unknown but important functionaries like P P Madhavan Namboodiri, one of the private secretaries of Congress party president Sonia Gandhi, whose son's wedding Rahul Gandhi graced recently at Thrissur.
Powerful in Delhi, powerless in Kerala
However, Kerala's tryst with the bureaucracy is nothing new. It was V P Menon who led the way - he graduated from a one-finger typist to become the most important Indian in Viceroy Mountbatten's staff - and can be said to be the first and original Malayalee bureaucrat to reach the top of the power chart.
Powerful in Delhi, powerless in Kerala
Many have followed in his wake, since Independence. Most through the 'steelframe of the Raj' - the vaunted Indian Administrative Service. And, the Indian Foreign Service.
The current NSA's family history is a testimony to the Malayalee penchant for babudom - his father P N Menon was an IFS alumni and retired as India's ambassador to Yugoslavia. His grandfather K P S Menon (senior) was India's first foreign secretary, while his uncle K P S Menon (Jr), was the former Indian ambassador to China.
Powerful in Delhi, powerless in Kerala
This is apart from hundreds other Malayalees from the various other All India services and, not to forget, the thousands of the Malayalees in the national capital who are less venerated but do their bit in the various government offices as junior and middle-level staff with that peculiar Malayalee obsessions for 'rules' and going by the book.
Source: India Syndicate