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S PARTHASARATHY, IP (Retd.)''THE OFFICER AND THE MAN''
K R Shenoy, IPS (Retd) Former DGP, TN

Parthasarathy was a legend in his own time and for long thereafter. To start with this was a Master of Laws-probably; the only one with this high legal qualification In the Indian Police of the thirties .Some of his other attributes were a fine hand and a subtle wit

Our first meeting was in 1947 - 48, when he as DIG Central range Head Quarters then at Bellary in the composite Madras state, while driving down to Madras stepped in for lunch at the Police Officers Mess at Vellore. He had a well-maintained Black Vauxhall Car with red wheels. I was ASP selected in the first post war Al1 India Services selection. Parthasarathy welcomed me to the Police and impressed the need to be thorough in whatever assignment taken up. He also impressed the need for care and caution pointing to his own left thumb which had got injured by a running car engine fan belt

Parthasarathy kept a watchful eye on my training. We next met in 1949 at Nellore during my practicals with S Vijayarangam, SP Rules required young probationers to be attached to senior SPís with a proven record for professional efficiency and public service Vijayarangam met the bill - so small is the world that half a century later in the last year his youngest grand daughter carefully brought up as a Chartered Account and Married to another is my neighbor at Anna Nagar

One afternoon Parthasarathy was motoring from Waltair his new Head Quarters as DIG northern range to Madras At Nellore my wife of a few months dished up a meal and whatever It was, Parthasarathy complimented us on the effort.

During circle Training at Gudur in Nellore district - though the proposal had been that I work along with the regular Inspector, Parthasarathy insisted that the Inspector should not be there so that I shouldered and felt the responsibility all by myself. This certainly stood in good stead in later years. At Gudur, I investigated my first murder in Saidapuram limits Ė Paanthangiri Pulli a woman going for field work was murdered in broad day light by some one from -whom she had withheld her favours. The case ended in convection at Nellore Sessions Court .

Once, a burglary suspect Confessed he had buried a stolen revolver in his village 30 miles from Gudur. Setting out in bleep at 7 p m. with a small police party I drove throughout the night and at each place the suspect said the revolver was In another Village. After covering many more miles, my erstwhile Defence Service Training any interacting with my newly started police training- around 5a.m., the suspect admitted he had been bluffing al the time to escape torture On my weekly report Parthasarathy remarked m the margin this should be a good lesson for ASP

Years rolled by and in December 1955 when Parthasarathy held the prestigious post of Commissioner of Police, Madras I was posted as Dc-crime, one of the three DCís In the city .1956 Republic Day - Government of India decided that as an experimental measure, the President would take the Salute at a State capital and Madras had the first honour After the March Past on Island Grounds, President Babu Rajendra Prasad complimented the parade even though the police horses disturbed by the fly post new to them had bucked. The gathered on the Island Grounds was massive, chocking traffic on Wallajah and Wellington bridges. Proposals then submitted for widening the two bridges took two decades to materialize and by then I was on the hot seat

Soon the Murali cafe episode came up - the owner refused to change the English name board to Tamil. Periyar announced an agitation, 30-40 persons came in procession every evening to the hotel at Triplicane with a pot of tar and brush The police headed by all the 3 DCís in attendant rounded up the processionist and remanded them to custody. Upto 1974, all persons arrested in Madras City were produced before the Commissioner of Police within 24 hours .After 10 days of this l exercise tension grew as Periyar announced he would lead the tarring personally . Periyar kept his flock in order. He too was arrested and thanks to heavy police bandobust there was no violence The press and the public were wondered what a form the confrontation between Periyar and the Commissioner would take at the remand proceedings in the Commissionerís office. Periyar showed great respect and a regard for the Commissioner and Parthasarathy the Commissioner showed no less in extending all courtesy due to a popular leader .The sun set peacefully in anti- climax came for the Press

Parthasarathy was a great teacher Once he mentioned that most people need to cultivate powers of observation To drive home the lesson he referred to the CID gazette which regularly gave the registration numbers of cars suspected smuggling opium. One such number was painted on a car usually parked in the Commissionerís office Weeks went by without any of the large number of police officers and members of the public visiting the Commissioners office noticing the car number After about two weeks l asked some Inspectors loaded question - they replied they had noticed some thing odd but had not pursued their hunch.

Around 1955, the Madras Police got their first staff cars - powerful 8 cylinder Stude Baker Conestoga's In 1956, when some of us DCís saw Parthasarathy coming from his Peters Road Bungalow to the Commissionerís office at Egmore in his own fine 1949 Chevrolet .We suggested that he use the staff car - secretly hoping that we the DCs could also do so. In just usual style breaking into Tamil, Parthasarathy said lf he uses the staff car to cover the two miles from Bungalow to office his own car would go 20 miles away to Tambaram etc meaning wife visiting relatives! However, he observed DCs may use as practically they were 'operational round the clock.


When Parthasarathy lost has 'Valkai Thunaivi' he became a changed man and moved to his nephew's place very close to mine at Anna Nagar The fine 1949 Chevrolet had aged visibly and was mostly Idle. However, its capacious luggage boot was well utilized for keeping garden tools!

By now, I was deeply attached to Parthasarathy Once when we were talking about his life long friend Justice Balakrishna Iyer living at Thiruvanmiyur the other end of Madras, he mentioned that they could no longer meet but looked up the Hindu every morning to see who would figure first in the obituary column. I was greatly moved and was able to take him along to Thiruvanmiyur one evening

And so great a officer passed into eternity in 1983 .

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