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Updated: March 26, 2012 01:06 IST

Former Chief Secretary Malathi succumbs to cancer

T. Ramakrishnan
Comment (19)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
S. Malathi, former Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu. File photo: R. Ravindran
The Hindu
S. Malathi, former Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu. File photo: R. Ravindran

Former Chief Secretary S. Malathi, who took voluntary retirement from government service in August last, succumbed to cancer at a private hospital in the city on Sunday morning.

She was 57. She is survived by her daughter Dhanya, mother S. Rajam, brother S. Madhavan and sister Mythili Bhaskaran.

In July 2003, Ms. Malathi was diagnosed with cancer of the breast. She immediately underwent medical treatment, which was effective for sometime. For five years between 2006 and 2011, the disease did not cripple her functioning, even though it relapsed. She held the posts of Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, Home Secretary and Vigilance Commissioner before becoming Chief Secretary on August 31, 2010.

After the assumption of office by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government in May last, Ms Malathi was posted Additional Chief Secretary/Director of Economics and Statistics. Her batch mate Debendranath Sarangi succeeded her as Chief Secretary.

Widely respected for her administrative capabilities, uprightness and integrity, Ms. Malathi belonged to the 1977 batch of the Indian Administrative Service. She was barely 23 when she joined the service. In her 34-year-long service, she held various posts, including Collector of the erstwhile North Arcot district (1987-1989), Additional/ Special Secretary in the Finance Department (1993-1994) and Secretary of the Municipal Administration and Water Supply (MAWS) Department as Secretary (1996-2001). Her stint in the MAWS department was noteworthy as she presided over the execution of several development projects in the urban areas of the State. She considered her performance in the MAWS department most fulfilling.

A native of Thanjavur district, Ms. Malathi was the second woman to become Chief Secretary, the first being Lakshmi Pranesh (December 2002-April 2005).

Ms. Malathi was not known to be an extrovert though she was an extremely warm person. She would not go out of the way to court publicity but never refused to meet mediapersons. She was candid about her battle with the disease. After contracting the disease, she wrote a few articles, both in Tamil and English, about her experiences as a cancer patient. Her main prescription was: “be positive”. She used to say that she woke up every day in the morning, happy to be alive and to do a good turn during the day. The last few months must have been painful. About a month ago, she sent a message to this correspondent that she was in and out of Apollo Hospital for treatment.

Summing up her personality, M.F. Farooqui, a colleague and Additional Secretary in the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, regards Ms Malathi's integrity in official and social behaviour and her intellectual superiority as remarkable. Noting that she struggled a lot in life, Mr. Farooqui adds that “she always held on to what she considered right.”

I dont know Mrs Malathy personally though tears roll down as i read
about her death. May be because i am an IAS aspirant and i can
understand how hard life would have been for her.Hope a cure for cancer
will be found soon. May her soul rest in peace.

from:  E.Sundaravathanan
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 23:30 IST

RIP Mrs. Malathi. Eventhough we don't know much about her. It's very impressive reading about her achievements now. She is an exemplery model for all women. May God bless her soul and make it rest in peace.

from:  N Alex Prabu
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 20:22 IST

With heavy heart I condole the demise of a prodigious lady Madam Malathi I.A.S. who knew what was her duty as an officer of high rank, and also the horrible killer disease within her. The great quality she had while trying something challenging in her life was the tenacity, while she battled for her life. She stood in first rank graduate (Chemistry,Zoology and Botany) and first rank as post graduate in Zoology.And she did stand in high respect in all the top level post from Collector,Secretary,under secretary and many more to mention be it the departments such as Commerce,Industry,Revenue,Water resource and many more. Madam in you we found a rose and an officer.
Madam you did your best to the people of Tamil Nadu in particular and to India in general. Let me salute you, and may God keep you in deep slumber in His Real Abode.May God give strength to her kith and kins to bear the incorrigible end.


from:  Shafee Ahmed Ko
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 18:42 IST

It's a shocking and sad news . She was an able adminstrator and above all a fine human being. My heartfelt condolences to her family members. May her soul rest in peace

from:  R.Sundaram
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 18:22 IST

Ms.Malathi, who fought a brave battle against cancer, was an honest and
sincere officer, who will be missed by not only fellow officers, but
also the thousands of people whom she came into contact during her
brilliant service in Tamil Nadu.She stuck to her principles at all
times, was courageous and optimistic till the end. May God grant her
family His peace.

from:  Albert Devakaram
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 17:36 IST

She has served in commercial tax department for short period, but her contribution at the time of VAT implementation is tremendous. We have lost a good administrator. We pray god Mrs Malathi soul rest in peace.

from:  sriram
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 17:35 IST

Hello...Mr. SURESH...be correct when you something in public...its Ms Malathi and not Mrs Malathi...which is something a big mistake...my hearty condolence for a IRON LADY...

from:  Muthu Kumar
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 17:20 IST

let her soul rest in peace.

from:  SRAVANA RAMACHANDRAN
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 16:32 IST

An upright official has at last lost her battle for life. She will be remembered for her administrative skills and straightforwardness. She had a human face, very simple and courteseyous. She was very easily approachable at the Secretariat when she was Cheif Secretary. Tamil Nadu has lost an able administrator.

from:  K.S.Balasubramanian
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 14:37 IST

Sad to Hear it...May Mrs Malathi soul rest in Peace...hope experts find complete Cure for Cancer...

from:  suresh
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 11:12 IST

Yes, every one in the administration knew that her performance in MAWS
was one of the best by any bureaucrat.One insider observed that what
would not be achieved in the last fifty years was achieved in five years
by the Municipal Department. This phase of urban and rural development
in Tamilnadu, made the then Government to believe that they would
comeback to power in the assembly elections, which turned otherwise.RIP.

from:  sarboji
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 10:39 IST

She was known as an Honest Officer and forthright Officer. She was a Role Model IAS Officer to many young Officers serving in Tamil Nadu. May her soul Rest in Peace.

from:  Venkat
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 09:20 IST

It is sad that such a Good/efficient administrator had succumbed to the dreaded disease..May her soul rest in Peace. Hope that the medical fraternity is able to find a solution to the dreaded disease and more people are inspired by the legacy of such people, which are rare to find these days.

from:  chokkalingam M
Posted on: Mar 25, 2012 at 23:06 IST

I am saddened by this tragic news. We have a lost a good public servant. My
condolences to the family and the Correspondent, whose personal grief is palpable.

from:  Soundararajan Srinivasa
Posted on: Mar 25, 2012 at 22:25 IST

Very sad news indeed. What a pity that the state could not make best use
of her great talents and her life has been snatched away from us.
The people of Tamilnadu will always remember and grateful for yeomen
services rendered by her to the State and its citizens. We condole her
death and offer our condolences to the near and dear and pray for her
soul to rest in peace.

from:  krish
Posted on: Mar 25, 2012 at 21:29 IST

In the sad demise of Mrs Malathi, we have lost an able administrator and an officer of
impeccable integrity .

from:  K venkatesan
Posted on: Mar 25, 2012 at 20:31 IST

RIP madam. Hats off to your service.

from:  Kiruthika Ramakrishnan
Posted on: Mar 25, 2012 at 19:38 IST

The State of Tamil Nadu lost a good administrator.

from:  N R Ravisankar
Posted on: Mar 25, 2012 at 19:01 IST

She is a very good government employee .In terms of his duty she was sincere ,best example is , in his last days as chief secretary under dmk government in 2010.She did her duty perfect although she was in treatment for cancer.We know that her passing will not only leave a void in our lives, but in the hearts of all those who knew her.

from:  angu
Posted on: Mar 25, 2012 at 18:59 IST
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