Updated: September 5, 2021 7:02:55 pm
Former Union health secretary Keshav Desiraju passed away Sunday morning in a hospital in Chennai. His demise comes on Teacher’s Day’, marked in honour of Desiraju’s grandfather and former President of India Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
According to a news report, Desiraju died at a private hospital in Chennai due to acute coronary syndrome. He was 66.
Desiraju retired as the Union Secretary in the Department of Consumer Affairs and held several other positions in the Government of India, as well as other state governments. He was a scholar and researcher and an advocate of prioritising mental health. Even after retirement, the IAS officer continued to serve in advisory boards of several organisations and contributed towards improving public health.
Recently, he had authored a biography on Carnatic singer M S Subbalaksmi. Previously, he had co-edited Healers or Predators? Healthcare Corruption in India with Samiran Nundy and Sanjay Nagra.
MP Jairam Ramesh took to Twitter to express his condolences. “My dear, dear friend for 57 years, Keshav Desiraju, a most outstanding civil servant has just passed away. What a tragic irony that he left us on the day the country marks the birthday of his grandfather,” he wrote.
My dear, dear friend for 57 years, Keshav Desiraju, a most outstanding civil servant has just passed away. What a tragic irony that he left us on the day the country marks the birthday of his grandfather. Keshav has written the definitive biography of M S Subbalaksmi.
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) September 5, 2021
Desiraju was an Uttarakhand cadre IAS officer from the 1978 batch. He had completed a Masters degree in Economics from the University of Cambridge and a Masters degree in Public Administration from the John F Kennedy School of Government of the Harvard University.
Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot also remembered Desiraju as a member of the Chief Minister Rajasthan Economic Transformation Advisory Council. “He was a distinguished, gentle and a creative thinker, and a person of great eminence,” Gehlot said.
He was a distinguished, gentle and a creative thinker, and a person of great eminence. He was also the grandson of Dr S. Radhakrishnan, a great educationist and former President of India, whose birth anniversary is being celebrated as Teachers Day today.
— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) September 5, 2021
Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, K Vijay Raghavan, expressed shock over the scholar’s demise.
Keshav Desiraju’s sudden, untimely death is shocking. A man of many facets with whom discussions were always collegial no matter how strongly opinions differed. A scholar, whose recent biography of M. S. Subbulakshmi is analytical. insightful. https://t.co/zX7yJgyNbh pic.twitter.com/uQa8N7ZWa2
— Principal Scientific Adviser, Govt. of India (@PrinSciAdvGoI) September 5, 2021
India’s Centre for Policy Research, where Desiraju had served as a member of its governing body, too, expressed its condolences of his demise. “He was an integral part of the @CPR_India family and his work has inspired generations of scholars at the Centre. His passing is an immeasurable loss to us. Our condolences to his family,” the organisation tweeted.
Niti Ayog CEO Amitabh Kant remembered Desiraju as “a remarkable human being, a professional civil servant, a progressive intellectual.”
Devastated to hear about the sad demise of Dr Keshav Desiraju, former Health Secretary, GOI. Keshav was a remarkable human being, a professional civil servant, a progressive intellectual & an author of a wonderful book on M.S.Subbulakshmi. Huge loss! RIP
— Amitabh Kant (@amitabhk87) September 5, 2021
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