swamy is not the kind who sulk in the face of adversity. After being shunted out from important portfolios and given a token responsibility as the secretary of parliamentary affairs department, Narayanaswamy has moved back to his childhood passion — studies. His mission is to prepare papers on subjects as varied as e-governance to nanotechnology and present them in international academic seminars.
Topping all the way
The 42-year-old’s brilliant academic career that marked only first ranks was sort of a dream for students and parents. Narayanaswamy’s quest for the numero uno slot became public when he bagged the first rank in the SSLC examination in 1983. Two years later, he repeated the performance in the pre-degree exam of MG University. In 1989, he graduated from IIT-Madras with first rank in computer science. In the very same year, he cleared GATE by becoming the national first in terms of percentile. Two years later, when he completed the training in Mussoorie in 1993, Narayanaswamy was adjudged the all-India first rank holder of that batch.
Narayanaswamy hogged the limelight by stepping into territories where angels feared to tread. Controversies followed him because he refused to deviate from the path of truth as wished by the political bosses. Naturally, he got transferred to almost all parts of Kerala. “If I rate my work as a collector, the road widening undertaken in Thrissur will top the list. I had to demolish a series of unauthorised buildings to widen the busy Pattalam road in Thrissur. Even today, I feel a sense of pride when I travel along that way,” he recollects. As district collector, Kottayam, he conducted a massive raid in food grain godowns, which unearthed a big scam orchestrated by a nexus of officials and businessmen.
But, the greatest controversy involving Raju Narayanaswamy was ‘Operation Munnar’ launched by the then chief minister VS Achuthanandan in 2007. The operation, which saw the demolition of several unauthorised buildings including a party office, naturally earned him the wrath of political bosses. Finally, succumbing to pressure from his party, VS dismantled the three-member brigade that led the drive and Narayanaswamy was posted in Pathanamthitta. But, it was his falling out with the state education minister MA Baby that turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Narayanaswamy. He was shunted out of the education department as he refused to obey the minister’s directive to protect a corrupt official. As there were no takers for him, the government posted him at the parliamentary affairs department where there is little work for a senior civil servant.
More on his radar
Narayanaswamy’s greatest pastime is working on the magic of prime numbers. And the most amusing thing is that he had dealt with various topics from sociology and psychology to computer science. He has so far written 23 books including a travelogue that won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award. “Two more books are in the pipeline and I expect to publish it this year itself,” he says. How do he get time for all these? “Did any child get bored by playing? I treat learning as a game and hence get addicted to it,” he quips. “I had never studied for the sake of marks. I had never set any time table for studies too. The only aspect I give thrust to is managing time. If you can do it effectively, nothing is impossible,” says Narayanaswamy, who admits that a good number of his academic papers were formulated during long travels and outstation assignments.