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Thursday, February 23, 2023

Sri TCA Ramanujam is no more ! - a pillar of Thennacharya samprathayam

It is very sad news that Thennacharya Sampradhayam has lost one of its doyens who did yeoman service !!

The Government of India Act 1919 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, passed to expand participation of Indians in the government of India. The Act embodied the reforms recommended in the report of the Secretary of State for India, Edwin Montagu, and the Viceroy, Chelmsford.  

While many aspire for IAS & IPS – IRS is relatively unknown.  The Indian Revenue Service (Bhāratīya Rājasva Sevā),  is an Indian government agency that is primarily responsible for collecting and administering direct and indirect taxes.  Direct tax in the form of an income tax was introduced by Sir James Wilson (Britisher) in India in 1860 to overcome the difficulties created by the Indian Rebellion of 1857.  

The doyen once wrote an article on Generalist vs. the Specialist”  stating that the Ministry of Finance is always headed by an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer. The Revenue Secretary, the Expenditure Secretary and the Finance Secretary are all drawn from the IAS despite the fact that they have little experience in handling the economy.  On the other hand, the CBDT is managed by IRS officers with rich field experience.   At the time of the Budget, it is an IAS officer who accompanies the Finance Minister for the press briefing. The IRS officer is totally invisible, despite the Budget being the handiwork of hard-working IRS officers.  .. .. and concluded stating that  IAS maybe the ‘steel frame of India’ but the steel frame has been rusting for quite some time. Can the IRS be given their due and be allowed to play a normal role? The present controversy reignites the debate on the generalist versus the specialist.

The man who articulated thus and who was a great practitioner of Thennacharya sampradhayam is no more ! .. .. the tall man, now afflicted with old age would walk measured steps, coming often to Thiruvallikkeni, Kanchipuram and every year to Thirumala for Ananthazhwan uthsavam too. 

TCA Ramanujam, Retired Chief Commissioner of Income Tax; Advocate, an erudite Sanskrit scholar and a columnist with leadig dailies, passed away on 21.2.2023. He was 88. He is survived by his son, Arvind Rangarajan, and daughter, TCA Sangeetha.

Sri Ramanujam had been to Tirupati to deliver the keynote address at the Thirumalai Ananthanpillai uthsaam  and returned to Chennai.  He complained of uneasiness and was admitted at a private hospital where he died on Tuesday at 11.30 pm, said Sangeetha.

Sri Ramanujam retired in 1992 as Chief Commissioner of Income Tax and served as a member of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal for a year. He resumed practice as an advocate and represented the Income Tax department as a senior standing counsel in 2002.  He had a degree in MA Economics from the Vivekananda College, a law degree from the Madras Law College, and later served in Indian Revenue Service.

He began his journey as a tax columnist in the Indian Express in 1992 and later in businessline in 1995. An erudite tax jurist, he began the journal section in the Income Tax reporter, along with his daughter, an advocate in the Madras High Court, who has co-authored many articles along with her father.

A member of the Madras Music Academy, he rarely missed his favourite concerts.  He was a versatile scholar and economist, varied interests, including music, dance, literature (English and Tamil), but his heart was at  Vedas, divyaprabantham, samprathayam and temples.  He has fought many cases in various Courts upholding Thennacharya sampradhayam and even at his  old age, he argued in person and secured court orders to safeguard the age old customs and practices of Kanchipuram Sri Varadharajaperumal temple.

In his death, his family has lost a noble person and We have lost a doyen in our sampradhayam.  Triplicanites know him too well and I had the opportunity of moving in close quarters during Dr MA Venkatakrishnan Swami sashtiabdapoorthi celebrations as were the core members of the Committee.

Praying Emperuman to give the strength to his family and the extended family of sampradhayam to bear his irreparable loss.

adiyen dhasan – S. Sampathkumar
Pics taken by me at Thirumala in 2021 and last two in 2013.

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