Family Profile‎ > ‎K.R.V.Pillai‎ > ‎

Memories

If every experience is a story, there are many waiting to be told



I married A.K.Seethalekshmi daughter of Aziyath Kunjukunju pillai Kurup and Kallianai Ammain in August 27th1962.We have two sons Srikumar and Suresh Kumar and twin daughters Sreelatha and Sreejaya.

My eldest son Srikumar, took his MS from a Moscow university .
Srkumar married Ladka and they are having a son Nathan and they settled in Czech Republic.

Srikumar is the President and Founder of LIFE TOGETHER, a Roma-Czech NGO. More informations can be got from Google search "kumar vishwanathan'
Suresh Kumar my youngest son, married Manjushree and having a daughter Adithi.

Sreelatha married Ramesh Kenath and they are having two sons Rajath and Roshan and they settled in USA, both are working as software engineers.

Sreejaya married Balakrihnan Nair having a daughter Aswathi. Balakrishnan Nair is working as Chief Sub Editor, in Press Trust of India , Chennai. Srijaya is in teaching profession in MGR Universty, Chennai


 

Child Hood of K.R.Viswanathan Pillai



I was born in Sep 1935. I was born after a painful tragedy in the family. The tragic sudden death of my two years old brother Ramachandran affectionately called "Immpotti"(means gold treasure), by chocking was a great shock to the entire family members.Before medical aid could be given, the child was chocked to death after he swallowed a button removed from the rowkka-a type of blouse worn by Nair ladies in those days. Since I was born after the death of the child, I was given undue love by all members of the family. At my age of two my mother gave birth toSukumaran
When Sukumaran was a few months old my father left for Malaya. He was a graduate in Chemistry from Trivandrum University College. After graduation he wanted to go to Malaya. Those days Malaya( present Malaysia) was a promising land for job seekers.I and my mother could not accompany as my brother Sukumaran was a few months old then. Perhaps my mother could not look after both the children she sent me to my grandmother ,father's mother in Muthukulam.

My father’s father Ayyappan Pillai was a Headmaster in a primary school and he was a busy man. But my grandmother had time to look after me. She loved me a lot and she wanted me to be with her. I was in Muthu kulamtill I, mother and Sukumaran left for Malaya in 1939. Occasionally I was taken to Karavallil to see my mother and the baby. A few days before we left for Malaya, my mother and Sukumaran came to see me in Muthukulam to take me back. I wanted to show the two year old Sukumaran the ducks in the pond. I took him to the near pond. I was holding him. The pond was full of water. He slipped from my hand and fell in the pond.

All members of the house were in chatting mood. They did not know what happened. I shouted with full throat.

The ladies in the house heard my crying, and under stood that something serious. One or two ladies jumped inside the pond, and took the child out safely. It could have been another tragedy in the family after the tragic death of my elder brother. I could save my younger brother "with full throat crying" to get help. Perhaps my crying saved the child. Crying is a most powerful weapon or language for the weak or children.Crying is the most effective way babies have to communicate their needs. When a child cries excessively it may sound abnormal or it may sound unusual.I think there are two circuits in human brain that create cry and laughter. No serious study is known to have been made to understand the mechanism in human safety valve,like crying and laughter.We(mother,Sukumaran and I) left for Malaya in 1939 by sea route in S.S.Rajula along with a Christian family in Mavelikkara. Father was waiting at Klang port to receive us.We return back to India in 1947.Our life in Malasia is furnished below down.
We returned back to India in July 1947. 
 
 


The train journey from Madras to Quilon was not all pleasant. The steam loco was damn slow. It took around twenty four hours to travel from Madras to Quilon (720 km) No safe drinking water available in any stations enroute, leave alone food. All compartments were sprayed with fine char coal from the loco engine. Those who got seats in the compartments near the engine suffered a lot, and many of the travelers were soaked in coal, looking like coal mine workers.Eyes were to be protected from coal dust otherwise one might suffer permanent damage to eyes. No reserved seats available. But fortunately those days people never used to travel long distance and compartments were not full. The seats in third class were horrible with wooden planks.We travelled in second class and seats were not very bad.The first class compartments were generally four seated and having four berths.The third class compartments were later abolished in all trains in India .In the evening around five we reached Quilon.



Already we all were tired when we reached Quilon. We caught a bus at Quilon to reach Karipuzha. The bus of those days were of open type on the sides, and petrol driven. The sides of the bus were not covered. There was no place to stand inside the bus. The foot board was extended and people used to stand on the footboard, from one end of the bus to the rear.The roads were horrible without black topping with pitholes everywhere. No where in Malaya I saw such roads or bus like that.The passengers looked very neat and polite. The bus driver and conductor were good people. They helped to load and unload our baggage . We reached in our house in night at ten. Grandfather ,grand mother and some other relatives were in Karavallil to receive us.
 
 
GOD'S OWN HOME
 


From the house we could hear the roaring of the Arabian Sea. The exotic fragrance of elanji flowers filled the air in the house.Kerala is famous for its rivers, backwaters and endless beaches.. No land in this world is so beautiful asKerala .Kerala is called 'God's own land' The punja paddy field west of Karavallil house is known as 'punja paadam' `orEvoor paadam. Only one crop is cultivated before south west monsoon. Second crop with a rice variety called 'kulappala' which grows above the water with the level of water rising, was tried by the farmers but there were notakers for this variety of rice because of its taste. In the west of Karavallil house there is a canal connecting riverAchhankoil and Kayamkulam lake . This canal is made for navigation and transportation of goods from the inland areas to the Kayamkulam market..



In rainy season the Paadam is filled with monsoon rainwater. It looked like a big lake stretching fromKaripuzha to Pattiyoor a distance of six to seven miles and width of about one mile.The coconut trees every where stretch to the waters,as if to look at its images in the mirrors of water. The coconut trees dance in the monsoon wind and the trees seem to be dancing to the tunes of the roaring Arabian sea in the west. .This water view fromKaravallil is so thrilling and so enchanting and we see the beauty of the nature. Many 'Kalivallom' boats roared by children singing' vallam kali' songs.. The nature has gifted the rice field, filled with monsoon rain water for the children to engage for boat race during Onam season.It is appropriate to call Kerala as the GOD'S OWN HOME. 
 

NaluKettu Nair House ( Tharavad)


The house is a traditional nalukettu of Keralaarchitecture.The house has a quadrangle in the centre. It is called the 'ankanam'. The quardrangle is in every way the center of life in the house, very useful for the performance ofpoojas .The front portion is 'poomugham' Kitchen is on the north east. Bed rooms are in west. There were six bed rooms.The house is constructed as per the Vaastushastra' The house is made using all wood .The interiors of the house walls are tastefully decorated with a wealth of antiques made from teak, mahogany etc.The traditional 'Nalukettu', is the home all Nairs.There are thousands ofNalaukeettu seen in Kerala.Many of them have been givendismantled. In its place concrete houses were constructed. .All nalukettu houses have protruding roofs formed shady verandas and protected the rooms from direct sunlight, keeping them cool even on the hottest days. The inner verandah around the 'ankanam' is open.There are several 'patthayam' to store paddy. The 'nelappara' is constructed under "ara". Nelapara is for storing brass and copper vessels like oruli, vaarpu, chembu of differet sizes.. The ara is the strong room of the house. Only the head of the family enters in the ara. He or she keeps the key of ara.The locking arrangement of the ara ensures the safe storage of costly ornaments etc.'Thenka kudu" for storing coconuts is on the north west.

 
(Karavalli house (Left) where K.R.Viswanathan Pillai and many members of Karavallil family  were born and brought up .Dr OhmPrakash ,cousin of K.R.Viswanathan Pillai is the present owner of this ancestral house. Division of ancestral property of Karavallil family took place in 1947 and Janaki Amma mother of Viswanathan Pillai got this house in her share. The house was reconstructed, lifted ,altered and brick works done , after removing the wooden walls in 1956. The basic design as per Vaastushastra was not changed.Later in 1970 the house went as her share to Sobhana sister of Viswanathan Pillai, and in 1995 the house was sold to the present owner Dr Ohm Prakash MD now in USA, cousin of Viswanathan Pillai .This house was demolished in 2011 for constrction of new house in 2010.It is a sad state of evenst that the Kerala's traditions and its Nalukeetu are giving way to concrete structures)
Trees like 'koowalam' 'aanjali' 'mango' jackfruit, 'elanji' etc are grown at the appropriate place in the garden. In the east of kitchen ''kinaru' or well is constructed.There were two tall mango trees both yielded 'kuridi' (small) type ofmangos and it's juice with rice was very tasty. I liked very much the taste of rice with kuridi mango juice West is provided with an out house known as 'chavadi'for the guest to stay. West of Chavadi the pond about a ground area is available. The 'ezhithil' the cow shed is on the south. In the side room of Ezhithil agriculture tools like 'kalappa' 'spade' 'plough' 'chakkram '' manvetties'of different sizes are stored. The draining of water or pumping the water to the paddy field is done with ckakkaram manually operated . The 'mittam' the well maintained ground was swept every day.We used to play 'thalapanthu' a country ball game in the mittam.'There was no electricity in the house. .Only lanterns were used. Electricity came to the house when I was studying in form fourth in 1949.

1n 1939 my mother and I and baby brother Sukumaran left for Malaya. Those days there were no flights. Only two steam ships SS Rana andSSRajula, where plying between Chennai and Singapore. We left in SSRajula. It took seven days to reach Klang a port .At the age of five in 1940, I was admitted in Anglo Chinese School in Klang .Anglo Chinese School was a Government aided school and a third oldest school in Malaysia. I was a good student. The Srilankan teacher liked me very much. I stood first in the class and therefore I was promoted to Standard one without going to primary class two.In Jan:1940 my mother gave birth to my second brother Genagadharan in a Klang hospital. THE SECOND WORLD WAR started all on a sudden without any prior information .All the schools in Klang and other places in Malaya were closed. We did not know what happened. As usual we went to the school; I think it was mid December1941. We found that our school was occupied by British army. We were told to go home and that the school was closed indefinitely.In 1942-1945 the school became a head office of the Japanese army. Within a week after my school was closed, my father got an order from his higher up to go and take up the post of the General Manager of an Rubber Estate, where the English GM left for England. We left for KaulaLumbur by road and from there we took the train to Seranban railway station. We reached Kundah estate nearThangah by night on the same day. The Bungalow, the English GM occupied was allotted to my father. It was a big bungalow in European style, with swimming pool, tennis court and a very big garden with flowers and fruit bearing trees. At first, we children found all happiness there. It was short lived as my father was told by his friends that the advancing Japanese army was targeting such European bungalows also and advised us to stay in estate staff quarters. We agreed and moved to the staff quarters. Later some other Malayali families also joined us to stay in the quarters.


Malaya and Singapore were prize targets for the invading Japanese army. Japan wanted to inflict a heavy blow to the Allied partners by conquering East Asia in complete For two or three months immediately after the British left there was no government, no rule of law. The invading Japanese army starting killing innocent Chinese and Eurasians. The Indians did not suffer very much. Japanese wanted Indians to join in the Indian National Army and go to Burma to conquer India. The Indians who were holding some position in the rubber estates were asked to restart the estate works. Father was again sifted to Over Valley estate. In May 1943 my mother gave birth to my sister Sobhana in the District hospital Thangah. Dr Ganguly was the chief gynecologist, and he was very helpful even though there were terrible shortage of medicines everywhere. Mr I.V.K. Nair father of late Devan Nair was my father's close friend. Devan Nair was a former President of Singapore.When mother was admitted in the Thangah hospital I.V.K.Nair and family took care of us.They were in the neighbouring Eng Kee estate.Some of the Malayalees well known in Malaya in those days in early forties were Mr Krishna Pillai known to pre-war Malayalees as Bengali Pillai, Mr M.R.K.Nayar and Mr N.S Nair known as Nairettan. All of them worked for the welfare of Supervisory and Estate workers. Mr Krishna Pillai was my mother’s father’s brother. He had two sons and two daughters. He prompted my father to work in Malaya. Mr M.R.K.Nair was the father-in law of Mr B.C.Sekhar Director of Rubber Research Institute Kula Lumpur. Mr Sekhar died in 2007 at Chennai. Mr N.S.Nair and Mr M.R.K. Nayar were our family friends. 


Malaya also known as Federation of Malayan States(FMS) is the land of Dorian fruit. The dorian fruit similar to a jack fruit is having intensive odour but is very tasty .Malaya became independence in August 1957 and got its name changed to Malaysia It consists of thirteen states and three federal territories.The population of Malaya in 1947 was only around 50laks excluding Singapore.Around 60 percent of population in Malaya were then Malaya Muslim, and around 25percent were Chinese. Eight percent of population were Indians. Among the Indians, 90 percent were Tamilians and majority of them were rubber estate laborers, and some of the Indians particularly from North India generally called as Bengalis were in police department.



A few, Nattukottai Chettiars from Cettinad owned small rubber plantations. Many Malayalies were staff in rubber plantations.The important fact that emerges is that the Tamil constitutes a great majority of the Malayan Indian population, In the state of Singapore it makes up 63% of Indians. The next numerically large groups are Malayalees, and Telugus in Malaya. In the category, other Indians are a mixed bag of Punjabis. Gujaratis, Bengalees, and others.

Thus an overwhelming majority of Indians belong to the Dravidian languages community.There were some Tamilians holding high government posts particularly in Law and Education departments. The Malays were generally agriculturist and land owners and mainly concentrated in Kampongs, In MalayaKampongs means village .. Chinese were traders and almost all the shops and business establishments were owned by Chinese.All these three major communities maintained cordial relation , and our taxi driver was one Bawa a Malayan Muslim and several Chinese were our family friends.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
LIFE IN MUAR-MALAYASIA
 
In Over valley Estate I and Sukumaram were sent to a school in Tangah.There was no transport other than cycle and bullokcart. Some bus and cars were on the roads with rear side of the vehicle fitted with coal gas generators. With coal gas the vehicles were driven. We were daily taken to the school in cycle by a Punjabi security guard of the estate. The school was three miles from home. The students were thought Japanese songs. In the morning in front of the Japanese flag we stood every day and sang Japanese national song. Then we had to rush to the field owned by the school to grow food. Teachers were Indians and Chinese. They did not study Japanese. However they all could teach Japanese letters a bit and songs. When my sister was one year old ,she was given first feeding of rice in a mosque near Jasin.This Mosque was well known and many Hindus joined with Musilm in praying.In Jasin we met one C.R.K.Pillai . He was a native of my father’s village Muthukulam. He invited my father to join in his estate as there was a vacancy of Chief Store Manager.In 1943 my father joined in the Ayer Manis Estate. Ayer Manis in Malaya is hot water.MrC.R.K.Pillai and his family was our neighbors.
.R.K.Pillai had two children Gopalakrishnan and Mohan. Now both of them settled in Singapore.. Banumathi auntywas a vocal singer well-known in Malaya those days .In 1944 Subash Chandra Boss was in Malacca. He addressed the Indians in Malacca. We all attended the meetings. I was too small to understand his speech. He spoke for a few hours. People heard him attentively. He was encouraging the young Indians to join Indian National Army to fight British.Several young Indians joined in INA to fight against British for the independence of India.
 We were in Ayer Manis till Japanese were driven out from Malaya in 1946.Many people experienced starvation during Japanese occupation. No clothes were available. Torn shirts and pants were to be used. No medicine available .If one became sick no treatment was possible.Japanese money was available in plenty. It was printed and circulatedas demanded. It was called 'banana money' because banana and fruits were pictured in it. It was so cheap that salary in laks was given.in carrybags.Japanese ordered to grow raagi pulses and vegetables in all estates. For a year in 1944, I and my brother were with our uncle Prabhakaran Pillai in an estate near Bathu Theekka around 20 miles away on the other side of Tangah hills. The school was walking distance from uncle’s house. We had a Tamil cook. Our uncle was a bachelor then. The single Malayan teacher in the school taught some Japanese language.The anti Japanese feeling was growing very strong in Malaya. The Malaya people’s army was formed to fight against Japanese. Many Indians very close to Japanese were killed by this army. As soon as Japanese left Malyasia, the anti Japanese army started looting. Law and order was a big problem till British army occupied Malaya.
 
 

After Japanese left Malaya there was total chaos in the country. For two months there was no governance. A small group of Chinese under the banner communist, took over the country and started killing innocents and looting the public property. As soon as the British took over, they gave priority for the security of the people. The rubber estates started functioning, and there was reshuffle of staff to different locations. Father got transferred to Pengalin Bukit Estate near Pago in Muar district in 1945.Muar was the district head quarters, a fine city with a habour. We had several Indian friendsI and my brother Sukumaran were sent to St Andrew’sSchool in Muar which was about 14 miles from Pengalan Bukit Estate. We stayed in a flat belonging to one Gopala Pillai along with two other Malayalee boys. Gopala pillai had a publishing house named "Vija brothers." in his sothe Muar harbour.n's name. But Vijyan had only six sisters,no brothers. Muar was a beatiful town and we children used to play base ball. There were several play ground in the town.We saw first time playing cricket. There was a ground for football. In the evening we used to sit for long in the fine well maitained beach of Muar.Ships used to harbour in Muar river harbor. In.In 1947 July we along with C.R.K.Pillai uncle's family left for India.In the same year in August 15th India got freedom.

What was I,  exploited fully without traces of love from my father?

Relationship even with close kins should earn happiness in life. At no time expectation damages the root of relationship. Relationship and expectation should be well managed. When expectation grows beyond the paying capacity of your dear one as giver, the relationship gets weakened of no fault of the giver. This is the life of mine

I was troubled right from the day joining in Neyveli Lignite Corporation for money by my father .No other issues except money did matter to my father. After returning from Malaysia he wanted marriages to be arranged for me and my sister Sobhana. He lost his job a few days after I joined in NLC in 1959. Since then I sent money to my brother Sukumaran for his education in LLB course in Mumbai for six months and then he dropped out and later for his bachelor of training course in a Pathanamthitta Training college. After sending money as demanded for his education what was left for my personal expense was meager  fifty rupees only. Then meals cost 28 Rupees per month in Railway station hotel. Many days I had meals only without breakfast. For breakfast daily cash was required for payment. I had to send every month Rs 200/ to Sulkumaran. My take home money after deduction was only Rs 250/PM in 1960. I had to send money to some Kerala relatives of my father’s friend in Malaya from whom father had borrowed money as he had no income.

My father needed money for my sister’s marriage in 1962.So my father and brother Sukumaran planned for “selling me” to Azhiyathu House in Chavara south. Then Aziyathu family had enough property and income and my father expected that he could fetch enough money from them. My father needed around Rs20000/ for my sister’s marriage. I wrote to my father that I would see the girl only after settling his need of money. I told him he could even ask a loan of Rs20000/ on returnable understanding. I was informed that everything was settled and I could see the girl in June 1962 .Finally they succeeded in getting my marriage fixed with Seetahleksmi of Aziyathu house Chavara south. After my arrival from Neyveli three days before my marriage, my father told me that he could get only Rs 5000/against his demand of Rs 20000/. He said that he would not attend my marriage unless the money demanded was received before the marriage and I should and get the money before the marriage. Sukumaran also endorsed his view. It was a great shock to me. I told my mother what happened. I could find any other way except to assure my father that the gold ornament given to Seethalekhmi during her marriage could be pledged for the money needed for my sister’s marriage. My father and Sukumaran agreed and my father said he would attend my marriage but would not have food from Aziyathu. Then I told my mother with broken heart she could stay in the house without attending my marriage as father was not kind to me. My marriage was only the marriage in our family without the presence of my mother. I became totally helpless. Even I thought not to marry. My marriage went off and my father did not have meals. I have no grouse against my wife. She is very simple and well adjusted to my temperament. My sister’s marriage was fixed after two months of my marriage in August 1962. My father came to Neyveli and collected the gold ornaments. We pleaded that some ornaments that had to be worn by my wife at the time of sister’s marriage might be pledged separately and if Aziyathu gave some more money for my sister’s marriage that ornaments  could be released for my wife to wear during marriage of my sister.

My father took the ornaments and pledged and got Rs15000/ and he did not adhere to release the ornaments for my wife to wear. She did have only daily wear ornaments one or two. Her father asked her at the marriage hall what happened to the ornaments. She   told the truth. I lost their respects then on. My relations with him affected and no time till my father-in law’s death he ever talked to me pleasantly. I never had good time in Aziyathu even after his death in1973.

Division of ancestral property

It was in 1969 our ancestral property in Karavallil was partitioned .There was an attempt not to give any share from the ancestral property to me. Finally after pleading I was given seven cents of “ponja” a wet land nine months under water. My brother Gengadharan in Malaysia was also not given any dry land. Before the registration I discussed with my wife and her mother how I was treated in the sharing of the ancestral property. At that time my mother in law told that there was oral agreement to part some dry land to my wife Seethalekshmi at the time of division of our ancestral property for which Rs 5000/was paid. We were ignorant of the oral agreement. I was told that my father got again Rs5000/ for parting the dry land in the name of my wife. I went back next day to my house Karavallil and told my father  that some dry land should be given to compensate the money collected by my father from my father –in Law My father took it very furiously and Sukumaram slapped me hard at my face and brought a knife to kill me. I would have been killed but for my mother who   interfered and stopped Sukunaram  attacking me with knife. However I and Gengadharan were given jointly forty-eight cents of dry land which was already pledged to one Raghavan ex-service man by Sukumaran for ninety percent of the sale value and the money was collected by Sukumaran. Sukumaran was then an alcoholic and pledging the ancestral properties and getting money for drinks. It was a was regular affair.. Several properties were lost like that.No one could stophim in sellig common property  due to fear of assaults. Even Sr iAppokkuttan Niar my brother in law was chased with a knife to kill him to grab the chavadi house.He got chavadi out house like that.

Later Sukumaran treated my father very badly. My father and mother suffered at the hand of Sukumaran  Father and mother had to stay with my sister in Trivandrum . After my mother’s death in 1970 my father had tough time with Sukumaran. At the time when my father was admitted with serious illness in Trivandrum Medical college hospital he did not want  to see  Sukumaran.

Sukumaran  borrowed money from the teachers of Chettikulangara school where he was also a teacher. He often wrote to me for money to pay money lenders. In 1992 for his daughter’s marriage he asked me to help him with Rs 5000/ towards marriage expenditure. We attended the marriage and gave him Rs5000/ .At the same time in1993 in my daughter marriage at Kollam he came with his family and some relatives and I was asked to pay the entire transport charges. In 1993 when I retired from NLC,he asked me Rs100000/ for renovation of his house knowing well that I did not get pension and had commitments to educate Suresh in Engineering college and I needed money for expenditure for Jaya’s marriage.

 In 1995 and in 2006 he asked me to pay the entire transport chargesto attend the marriage of Jaya at Trivandrum and Suresh at Chennai though he was not financially bad as he was getting pension.

When my brother –in law Bhasi died in 2003 in spite that Sukumaran knew the death of Basui , he did not attend the funeral nor deputed anyone else. When he died in 14th May 2013 , my son Suresh attended the funeral of Sukumaran and gave to Suma Rs 5000/for funeral expenses. Suresh took  flight to Thiruvanathapuram . When Sukumaran was admitted in hospital in 2009 I sent a cheque of Rs10000/to meet his medical expenses. I am not spilling poison now,Let all others know the truth. I do not have any ill feelings to any one in Sukumaran;s family. Even Sukumaran;s death was not informed to me directly.. The annual death functions held on 4th May 2014 was not informed to me. I think Sukumaran chased me out from Karavallil my ancestral house and his daughters closed the doors for me for ever.



As a President of a Student Union

It was in 1953 that the idea was mooted to form the Progressive Students Union of India(PSU) under the RSP students wing at Trivandrum  by top RSP leaders of Kerala. I was then a student in intermediate in the University Intermediate college Tycaud Tivandrum . My friend and relative Babu alia C.K. Radhakrisna pillai was staying in Vanchiyoor Trivandun with his uncle and writer Sri Krihna Das to study law in Trivandrum Law college .Sri Krishna Das was an Official in Secretariat and later he became the Director of Kerala lotteries. Since Sri Das was a well know writer, he had couple of Kerala’s well known writers like Sri Thagazhi Sivasankara Pillai , Sri  Kesvadev  visiting  in  his house very oftern. RSP chief Sri Srikandan Nair and his brother –in -law  Sri K. Kumara Pillai were also regular visitors  his house. Sri Kumara Pillai was then in –charge of youth wing of RSP. He arranged a meeting of some students in the Elite hotel in Main road Tvm. I also took part in the meeting. Sri Chellappa Nadar of University college was elected as the President of Travancore, Cochin PSU and I was made President of Trivandrum city PSU. Our first task was to defeat the formidable SFI in University college and Intermediate college. We were able to win a few seats by  defeating  a few SFI candidates in Intermediate college.


 

My Education in India

 


My parents, Gangadharan and Sobhana left for Malaya after I and Sukumaran joined in the Middle school.I and Sukumaranjoined in St John’s Middle school ,Mattam ,Mavelikara in August 1947 in form two and form one respectively after getting approval from the District education Officer. We passed the entrance examination conducted by the school for selection. We both knew some Malayalam and therefore we did not have difficulties to get through the selection process.. In home we both had Malayalam tuition by a Malayalam pundit Sri GopalaPaniker. He was a retired teacher in a Malayalam school. He was a scholar also in Malayalam. We had tuition for a year.The medium of instruction in all schools in Travancore was in Malayalam in 1947. We picked up Malayalam very fast. Those days form three examination was centralized and is called ESLC examination. I got first class in ESLC. In the same year in 1949 our school became high school.. I continued to study in the same school .I stood first in all subjects in all classes and got first class and first in SSLCin the School. I got admission in first group (Maths, and science) in University Intermediate College, Trivandrum and stayed in the University hostel.near Palayam.In 1955, I got admission in the Birla Institute of Technology MesraRanchi, Bihar. There were sixty students in Electrical and sixty in Mechanical batch. I took electrical engineering as my subject .Ours were the first batch of the Institute. BIT Ranchi was an all India Institute and selection then was made on marks and based on state allocation. . Students from almost all states in India were admitted. TravancoreCochin state had two seat then. Later this state wise allocation was terminated and competitive all India test was conducted. I passed out engineering graduation in first class with distinction in May1959 Three teaching staff in the engineering college had influenced my life very much to lead a disciplined life. One was the Principal Major M.C.Pande. He never tolerated indiscipline. He said in many of his speech that ‘ if discipline in society or individual fails ,the society or the individual will crumble like a piece of glass falling on ground “ He endorsed the students to follow discipline in their professional life.He told the final year students not to pose as an engineers to the workforce, but to learn from every one.In one occasion he suspended a relative of then President of India for ragging. Later he issued transfer certificate to that student and sent him away. In another case he dismissed a second year student for molesting a construction work woman.
 
In all these cases he consulted a few students and the staff disciplinary committee before taking action Other two are Prof: Janakiram Head of Department Mechanical Engineering and Dr Manohar Head of Department Civil Engineering. They thought the students, that no Engineers can achieve success in professional life unless one cultivates the leadership quality in oneself..Their advice to the final year students at the valedictory function were “do not cave in under pressure and need to have positive mindset, and think big, when one enters the reality of life’. Student’s life was over when one enters a job. But learning had to be continued even after leaving the school or college.Qualification is only a foundation, learning is the tool, and knowledge is the quality of the tool to work with for the upliftment of social and economical order of mankind.
A mail received from the grandson of Priciple Major M.C. Pande is given below.: 
Sir,
I was going through your website given below .
I just something about my mother,s father Late Major Mc Pande and my mother remembers everything from the extract below .
One was the Principal Major M.C.Pande. He never tolerated indiscipline. He said in many of his speech that ‘ if discipline in society or individual fails ,the society or the individual will crumble like a piece of glass falling on ground “ He endorsed the students to follow discipline in their professional life.He told the final year students not to pose as an engineers to the workforce, but to learn from every one.In one occasion he suspended a relative of then President of India for ragging. Later he issued transfer certificate to that student and sent him away. In another case he dismissed a second year student for molesting a construction work woman
My mother has a very good memory and knows lot about her father and she is overwhelmed by your response and what she used to tell me about her father has come true .
Thanks once again for the lovely article .
Keep in touch Sir
Nishant Pant
 
Thirty Four Years in Neyveli Lignite Corporation

In 1959, I joined in Neyveli Lignite Corporation as Special grade apprentice. After two months training I was posted to work in shifts in the Mines sub-stations. NLC is an integrated project having Mines 1 and Mines 2 , Thermal power stations 1 and 2, Fertilizer plant and Briquetting and Low temperature Carbonization plant. Thermal station 2 and Mines 2 came in only in 1987. Now NLC is having the biggest open-cast mechanised lignite mines in India,mining 24 million tonnes of lignite annually and generating power with installed capacity of 2490 MW.
India's first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said that all Public Sector Enterprises are India's modern temples.India adapted a socialist pattern of economy till our country was opened to global economy in early nineties The socialist pattern of society did not reach the poor to improve thier quality of life.The economy did not grow either.
Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) have assumed the role in supplying essential goods and services to the public . They sometimes are mandated to take on social responsibility. The performance of some PSEs has been affected by the lack of clarity of the commercial and social objectives. Many PSEs have become a financial burden on the government,and failed due to mal administration, high corruption and labour unrest.Quality and capability of the people at the top are very important for sustaining the growth of any PSEs.The top people should have high integritywith a proven track records of managerial ability. No Engineer though technically excellent, can be a good managers .Engineers with leadership quality,will be the best for top Executives posts in PSEs.
There was strong pressure to change for open economy.In early nineties our economy was opened for competition.
7:30 commehursday, August 6, 2009Y MEDICAL PROBLEMS
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In NLC during the period from 1959 to till I retired in1993,I had the opportunity to work with people of three generations. In 1959 , in the initial stage of the project, the Engineers except a few seniors ,were in the age group 25 to 30 years. The work force were above 40 of years and some were above 50.Many were from nearby villagers, and they did not have any skill but all of them committed to work and wanted to learn. Some of them traditionally were blacksmiths and carpenters, and they had some skill. But all of them totally wanted to learn the work. We could easily work with them as they were committed to work. In 1959 along with me only four graduate engineers were recruited. Many others were diploma holders. At that time clubbed accommodations were only given. Three or four will be given clubbed accomadation in an independent house in the temporary colony in Gangaikondan or in Mandakuppam. Transport was a bottle neck. Two NLC buses were plying between the Temporary colonies and New Township under construction. Only Civil Engineers were allowed to travel in the bus.. Others had to find their own transport to go to the work spots. Food was another problem.

All had to depend on the Ramaswamy Iyer’s hotel near the railway station..
Then salary for fresh graduate Engineers were Rs 315/per month inclusive of all allowances. An Assistant Executive Engineer was getting around Rs 400/pm and an Executive Engineer around Rs 600/pm. For me two meals and breakfast came to be around Rs 50/pm. I was saving around Rs 200/ easily per month. I married Seethalakhmi in !962.Even then the monthly expenditure did not exceed more than Rs200/ pm. Petrol was costing 70 paisa in 1969.With Rs 50/ petrol cost ,I could go to Kerala in my car from Neyveli I got promotion as Assistant Executive Engineer in 1965 and posted to work in the Chemical units and to take up the maintenance of high voltage electrical machineries like HV switchgears, transformers, HV cables.Sri S Ramalingam took up the maintenave of high voltage motors ,and generators in the chemical units. Later Sri Ramalingam resigned from NLC and joined in Madras Refinaries.He reitred from MRL in 1995 as CMD.
After Sri Ramalingam resigned ,Sri N.Sivaprakasam joined in the chemical units of NLC to maintain the HV Motors.We formed a very good team along with Sri M.Balakrishnan Nambiar, who was in charge of the Electrical testing Department.
On June 26, 1975 emergency was declared in India, suspending freedom of speech freedom of press, freedom to hold rallies, and more. The people of India suffered for 20 months with emergencies. I was then working as Assistant Executive Engineer in Electrical Central Maintenance in the Chemical units in Neyveli Lignite Corporation. NLC management was listing ’inefficient officers’ who could be dismissed even on trivial issues without following departmental proceedings to get appreciation of “action taken” from the Central Government. Finally management was able to dismiss a handful of officers who borrowed small amount from friends
 
All maintenance works were done through department workers only. Workers were never reluctant to do difficult jobs like 33kv cable jointing or transporting heavy transformers weighing more than 40tons to Central Repair Shop for repairs. Even laying the 33kv cable for jointing was done with the department workmen. Contract systems were never in vogue in those days in any plants if the works were perennial in nature.Some non- perennial jobs like painting the sub-stations etc were done through contractors .The workers never refused to do the works given. They were having close rapport with first line supervisors.and never reluctant to do the works.I worked till 1980 in the chemical plants. In 1980 I was promoted as Executive Engineer and transferred to Central Electrical Repair Shop.

The Central Electrical Repair Shop took up the repairs of all electrical equipments of power stations Mines units, chemical units and Township. The failures of the conveyor 630KW 3.3kv motors were very high. Day and night pressure from the Mines units would be coming even from the Directors level, for repairing the failed crtical motors, at the shortest possible time. CERS had to cope up with the pressure. It was undoubtedly a good experiance to work in CERS, but the fact of the situation was that the responsibility was so high and nobody could officially survive without showing tangible results. For want of equipments from CERS if production was affected, it was the end of the future of the Officer in charge of CERS.The expectations of the management for results from service units were very high and. therefore it was imperative to show reults.Those days around 4000 failed electrical eqiupments were delivered every year after repairs.It was never being an easy task.It was possilble because of hardworking of the Executives Foremen and workmen in CERS.
The failures of the conveyor HV motors in Mines were never analyzed properly. I think till 1990 no suitable motors for use in lignite mine's conveyors which could give trouble free performance were designed in India. For NLC mine's condition the HV motors could have been designed for higher thermal withstand capability ,both stator and rotor coils with cast resin F-class insulations, the slip ring chambers more pressurized to prevent ingress of dust and lignite and no wear and tear, flash free slip rings using suitable carbon brushes. Maximum number of conveyor HV motors were supplied by NGEF Bangalore. In spite of taking all issues with the firm by NLC ,no efforts were made by them to improve the performance of these motors even in the subsequet supply of motors.
In 1986 I was promoted as Dy Chief Engineer I along with Mr. Mohamed Kunju were posted to work in the new Thermal Power Station11 in 1986. Mr Kunju was a Mechanical Engineer and posted to the construction department of the power station. Only one 210 MW unit was commissioned then and six more yet to be commissioned before the targeted date in 1992. I was given the job of organizing the Electrical Maintenance from scratch.In TS 11 the Engineers and workmen were almost all in the age group between25 to 30 years old. The workmen almost all were ITI Holders and skilled. The work culture in TS11 was quite different from the chemical units. The best way of ensuring relaible and consistent maintenace was off-loading some non -perennial works to contractors.Highly skilled works were carried out through depatmental workmen. In 1990 I was promoted as Chief Engineer and in 1992 I got promotion as Dy General Manager( Maintenance) and took over the maintenance of Electrcal, Mechanical and Civil Branches and operation and maintenance of lignite handling systems(LHS) in TS11. Basically I was not a Power Engineer, but a maintenance engineer,and I was acceptable to all in the Power station. I was only a team player. I believed in delegating resposiblity and authoriity to my people working with me.I trusted my people.They have never disappoined the organisation. Capabalities have no monopoly,no expiring dates or full-stops.Identify the people who are fit in certain jobs. Each and every one has one talent or other.No one can be discarded.To be an Engineer one must take responsibility,accountability,and pressure.Become part of the Company and you can do justice to your job only then.Let us think of ourself? . Are we truly the  bank of all that needed to manage well ,an organisation like NLC.Definetly we have little in ourselves.If we think that we are great ,and believe more than what we are , a common trait that infected the mind and spirit of many young Engineers immediately after getting a job in any organisation.Be a good friend to our own self and be a good friend of others ,then you can get into the right track to the goals.Looking back my tenure of seven years in Thermal Power station 2 in NLC I had the happiest moments working with young inteligent engineers remained extemely special for me.
Maintenance engineering for Thermal power-plant facilities is changing from time-based mangement to condition-based management. The maintenance engineering has been moving away from conventional way of maintenanceOptimizing maintenance management can save the Power station from considerable percentage of its maintenance charge. Breakdown of machineries can take a toll in the revenue through loss in productivity. Costly downtimes can be reduced if a proper maintenance management system is in place Training of power station maintenance management is necessary for the maintenance Engineers and techicians in power plants.The power generation growth of NLC is seemed to be not encouraging. From 1993 to till 2003 only 420 MW added to its capacity. The growth of any profit making organization like NLC should have been not less 50 percentage added to its total capacity in every five years. NLC is putting up a coal based Thermal Power Plant at Tuticorin with a capacity of 1000 MW as a joint venture with Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB). NLC may consider for going for more coal based power stations instead of lignite based power stations. India is not saving its natural resources for the future generations.


The iron ore is exported to China and other counties. At the same time we are told that within 200 years India will exhaust all iron ores. Even it is low grade iron ore or coal, India should not export its natural resources to other countries. Similarly the lignite has to be preserved for future India, and it should be judiciously used at present. Perhaps when boiler technology and efficiency improve , consumption of lignite per unit generation may go down.It is now one kg per unit generation. That means for generation of 210MW with 24 hours full generation the consumption of lignite is around 5000tons.
 

Generally the Executives and staff in Public sector undertakings are very honest. They are dedicated to works Many works are executed as per the contract, and works are satisfactorily completed before final payment is made.. But corruption is entrenched in some people. When opportunities surface, these people may become corrupt. The organisation or establishment has to expose the corrupt officers.The presence of Vigilance should be felt..Those who do not follow the approved procedures and are found to be guilty of corruption should be punished .The corruption can take place in placing orders for procurements and services.Corruption takes place inrecruitment's of some categories of labourers and staffs.As far as the procurements of goods and services are concerned there are established rules.The approved rules are General Financial Rules 2005 and Delegation of Financial Powers Rules, 1978 as amended from time to time lay down the procedures and powers of the various Ministries and Departments of the Government of India in matters relating to handling of public money. Rules 135 to 185 of the General Financial Rules, 2005 specifically deal with procurement of goods and services and outsourcing of services. The PSEs follow these rules in matters relating to procurement of goods and services. Direct contact with the officers in their chambers by the supplier of goods or contractor should be banned. PSEs should sign Integrity Pact with Transparency International.All discussions with the contractors are to be done by the concerned committees and should be transparent . Alll communicationsare are processed through on-line.Communication through E-Mail , fax or video conference should be made compulsory.Call centers would be helpful for exchange of informations.Highest level of interaction with contractors/suppliers may be at a committe appointed by the top executive with persons of high integrity.With no corruption, the firm satisfies purchase qualification will win the contract. If corruption and large manipulation succeed, it easy for the not so qualified firm to secure a contract, so in effect, the quality of work executed and ,spares/ machineries or material supplied,or service received, will be suffered 
EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP
Who are the leaders in any organisation?The leaders are who take major or minor decisions and take resposibility and,follow right actions and professional behaviour  to manage the organistion for its effective growth.So there are  several leaders in an organisation.The qualities of leadres are
1 Play fair
2 Show reults
3 Share views,
4 Seek help,
5 Have effective controls,
6  Have a secure reputatioinr
Leaders are in pursuit of knowledge and everyday day someting is acquired. Top leaders ,I feel,should acquire wisdom apart from knowledge.Each organisation has its own culture,but the basic foundation of culture is the same.That is our Indian culture. We should not blindly follow the western system of managements.Have our own mangerial system grown in our soil.








Health
 The Doctors are representatives of God. There is a special bond between patients and the Doctors which can be said as a divine relationship. Patients need to maintain good relationship with the family Doctors. But we think about Doctors only when we are sick. In many hospitals Doctors are overstressed and they become unfriendly. In a few cases Doctors fail to diagnose correctly and the patients are put into great risks. I would like to mention here my own experiences in NLC  General Hospital. Mostly all senior Doctors in NLC Hospitals were known to me . I had no doubts about thier professional capabilities .
I had severe chest pain in 1990. I was rushed to the General Hospital Neyveli immediately. At the hospital my blood pressure was checked and ECG was taken. The blood pressure was 200/120 and no abnormality was found in the ECG as per the doctor. I was an inpatient for three days. In fact it was my first heart attack (later in Chennai when I had a second heart attack in 1996, the ECG indicated an earlier heart attack) and the Doctors in the General Hospital could not find the actual reason for the chest pain. NLC did not have an Eco cardiograph.It is unfortunate that the General Hospital of a big public sector organization like NLC did not have a cardiologist.I retired from NLC on 30 9 1993.
At Chennai in 1996 I had a second heart attack. I had a bypass heart surgery on 3rd May 1996, in a well known city hospital. Around 10.30 pm after the surgery on the same day my pressure came down needing more volume of blood. At 11 pm around 700ml of blood was drained and pressure was going down. Suspecting of surgical bleeding at 11.30pm, I was taken to the operation theatre by the night shift duty doctor. My chest was opened again for further investigations.
The pericardium cavity was full of blood. The chest was filled with blood and clots around one liter. The distal anatomizes of the OM graft was found to be bleeding a little away from the toe. After evacuating all the clots and blood, the sutures were redone. After that the post operative period was smooth. The bleeding occurred due to poor suturing done by the surgeons. Any one can imagine the stress and tension that my family members had undergone due to criminal negligence by the doctors. Still we need the doctors We have to go to them for treatments. We thank the doctor and his small team in the night duty for their timely action ,that saved my life
 
The most dangerous symptom of a heart attack is not the pain according to Dr Fischman ,Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia The ‘ sudden discomfort that feels like some one sitting on your chest is life threatening and sharp pain is more likely to be musculoskeletal annoying but not so dangerous ‘.Take any pain in chest seriously and call the doctor within a hour in the hospital
 

After my retirement,I settled in Chennai with my family, PSE
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