Farewell, my famous, hard-working friend

Mohanan passed away earlier this year. To the outside world he was B Mohana Chandran Nair, IFS.

Mohanan passed away earlier this year. To the outside world he was B Mohana Chandran Nair, IFS. The veteran diplomat had represented India in various nations and was engaged in philanthropic activities the world over. 

Born into a middle-class family in Kerala’s Alwaye, Mohanan was a child prodigy and right from the primary classes, was an excellent speaker. After a degree from the UC College, Alwaye, he proceeded to Trivandrum. There at the prestigious University College, he did his post graduation in History and stood first in the Kerala University. 

Our association and friendship started in 1963 when I was employed in the RBI and he was a student staying at the university hostel. He was known for his hard work. He never wasted a single minute in watching movies and lazing around, unlike us. He denied himself even the simple pleasures of life—a nap in the afternoon for instance. He always led a simple life away from the rustle and tumble and pleasures of city life. We made it a point to meet every week as both of us were appearing for the Civil Services exam. We usually went to Trivandrum beach and exchanged ideas. I conducted mock interviews for him on his request. As he was much interested in world affairs his ambition was to get into the IFS, which he achieved. 

He always requested for postings in under-developed countries of Africa and was interested in their development. When he was in Mozambique, he made it a point to learn about the life of the people there. He wrote about their lives in newspapers and magazines. He also visited the poorest of the poor in the company of Catholic nuns who were living there as hospital nurses. 

Mohanan was also a prolific writer. His works dealt with the realities of life. Using his life experiences, he wrote his famous novel Kalika, which was later on made into a movie by Balachandra Menon. 
Mohanan stressed the importance of a peaceful mind. For this he suggested regular meditation and Yoga. He settled down in Chennai after his retirement as he felt that the great city with its arts and traditions was the best place in South India. But the climate wore him down. The great man is now no more, leaving a huge, irreplaceable gap. 

Thomas Matthew 

Email: mparackel@rediffmail.com

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