High on the list of achievers in the Badaga community, the largest indigenous social group in the Nilgiris, N. Sundaradevan, who retired recently as Additional Chief Secretary of the Tamil Nadu government, received a warm welcome when he returned to his native village Adigaratty, near here, on Thursday.
Though it was well after dusk, the residents, including senior citizens, women and children, waited on the road and when he arrived they adorned him with the traditional Badaga turban and took him in a procession into the village.
Later, elders, including retired teachers, who felicitated Mr. Sundaradevan adverted to the unique position he occupies as the first direct IAS officer of the Badaga community and listed his achievements, particularly his record as a straightforward, uncompromising administrator, which has been openly acknowledged by successive governments, colleagues and persons in various other fields.
Pointing out that as an officer of the Indian Revenue Service for two years and later as an IAS officer for 33 years, he had done his community, district and village proud, they hoped that he would continue to be where it matters for the sake of the three. A speaker recalled that even before Mr. Sundaradevan had become an IAS officer, he had declared that he would remain clean and added that he had kept his word. When asked about his plans, Mr. Sundaradevan told The Hindu that he would not like to bite more than he can chew as far as affairs of the community are concerned. However, he would espouse the cause of the rich Badaga culture and take an active interest in spiritual activities.
The Government Higher Secondary School at Adhigaratty and the Government Arts College here which played crucial roles in making him an officer of substance would be high in the list of his priorities.