The passing of R Venkatraman

I read of passing of former Indian President R Venkatraman somewhere hidden inside Rediff news on the second tab. Perhaps he wasn’t celebrity enough.

I have two personal memories of him:

One, when he passed by in a closed government car in the ‘hospital daara’ (area in front of STNM hospital) of Gangtok, Sikkim in 1987 as we, as children, stood watching, most with a little paper Tricolor in our hands.

Second, when he walked past us in December 2001, wearing a traditional white shirt and weshti, and a red shawl over his shoulders, at the Kalahasti temple near Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. I was on a temple tour of South India taking my parents and elder sister on a pilgrimage right after their surgeries. Sri Kalahasti is one of the five temples celebrating Lord Shiva as the embodiment of the 5 elements – with ‘air’ being the element under worship here, thus referred to as ‘Vayu Lingam’.

Ramaswamy Venkatraman passed away at the age of 98.

Leave a Reply