Staff Reporter

Shivshankar Menon is the third Foreign Secretary from the family

PALAKKAD: The appointment of Shivshankar Menon as Foreign Secretary marks a hat trick for the Palat family of Ottapalam in Palakkad district. Mr. Shivshankar Menon is the grandson of the well-known diplomat K.P.S. Menon (senior) and nephew of K.P.S. Menon (junior) of the Palat family. His father P.N. Menon was also a diplomat.

Mr. Shivshankar Menon's mother, Malathy Menon, who now lives along with her elder sister, Janaki Nair, at `Palat Tharavad' told The Hindu on Thursday that she was elated at the appointment of her son as Foreign Secretary.

Mr. Shivshankar Menon maintains close contact with his `tharavad.' He is also associated with the work of the Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair Foundation.

Ottapalam, the erstwhile Valluvadu area of Palakkad, is the home of many diplomats, administrators, scientists and politicians.

The first Malayali president of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair, who later became a member of the Viceroy's Executive Council, belonged to the Palat family. His younger daughter, Saraswathy Amma (Anuji), was married to K.P.S. Menon (senior).

V.P. Menon, Secretary of State, who played a key role in making the Princely States merge with India soon after Independence, also hails from Ottapalam. Other well-known personalities include M.G.K. Menon, scientist and former Union Minister, and M.K. Narayanan, National Security Advisor.

A close family friend of Palat Tharavad, P.T. Narendra Menon, poet, recalled his association with the senior and junior K.P.S. Menon.

Talking to The Hindu , he said he had met Mr. Shivshankar Menon at the `tharavad.' He said Mr. Shivshankar Menon is an efficient officer, well read and soft spoken. Though Mr. Shivshankar Menon has lived outside the country for long, he has maintained close contact with his family and is rooted in the cultural traditions of Kerala.

Rajasekharan Nair, secretary of the Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair Foundation, said Mr. Shivshankar Menon had supported the activities of the Foundation. He often got noted speakers to address the functions of the trust.