HYDERABAD: Bukkapuram Nadella Yugandhar, a former bureaucrat who worked in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh and also in the Prime Minister’s office, passed away on Friday at the age of 80. He was, in his days, known as ‘the bureaucrat who stood for values and principles’.It is learnt that the ex-bureaucrat died in Hyderabad at around 2.55pm on Friday after battling against asthma and other breath-related problems for the past one year.
A 1962 batch IAS officer, Yugandhar worked as a secretary to then Chief Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh, NT Rama Rao and also worked with late Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao during 1990s and also for Dr Manmohan Singh. Although there is a lot on paper about his professional life, not much is known about Yugandhar, the person, who also expressed left-leaning. People close to him described Yugandhar as a generous man who was energetic, ‘impatient with red-tapism/status quo’, and a critique of ‘criminalisation of the left-wing’. His son is Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.
Speaking to Express, Council for Social Development director Kalpana Kannabiran recalled her interactions with the former bureaucrat. “When I was appointed as the director of the Council for Social Development (CSD), I had no experience in administration. Yugandhar taught me the nuts and bolts on how to go about it,” Kannabiran recalled. Yugandhar was also a close friend of her father KG Kannabiran, a human rights activist and a lawyer.
Yugandhar’s family hails from Nadella village in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh who migrated to Bukkapuram village in Anantapur district around four decades ago. Since then they have retained both Bukkapuram and Nadella in their surname. “He was a trenchant critic of red tapism and taught me how to cut through it. Apart from that, he showed me how CSD should set agenda for the government, rather than the government doing the same for the institute. Yugandhar also opposed the criminalisation of the left wing movement,” she said.
Yugandhar, who succeeded SR Shankaran as the Secretary in Union Ministry of Rural Development, soon became the apple of the eye of Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao because of his attitude to always work for helping the poor, lead a life with dignity and decency.
When Yugandhar’s son Satya’s engagement was fixed with Anupama Priayadarsini, daughter of KR Venugopal IAS, in 1992, PV wanted to surprise them by attending the function even though he was not invited to the ceremony as the two families wanted it to limit the function to their families. Narasimha Rao, along with another officer Ramu Damodaran, got into an ordinary ambassador car without any fanfare and only one lone jeep with policemen following the car. As no one knew that PV was moving in an Ambassador car, he had the bitter experience of getting stuck in a traffic snarl as he was not given the right of the way. Finally when he reached their quarters where the engagement function was held, joy of Yugandhar and Venugopal knew no bounds as they had never expected him.
The socialist in Yugandhar also found a mention in Vinay Sitapati’s book ‘Half Lion: How PV Narasimha Rao Transformed India’. Describing the role bureaucrats around Narasimha Rao played in forming welfare policies during his tenure as the Prime Minister, Sitapati said, “when Rao was a minister in Andhra Pradesh in the 1960s, he too believed in the obligation of the State to transform India’s ills. That Rao had morphed into a pragmatist when it came to the economy.
But when it came to welfare schemes, his choice of stubborn socialists as point men indicated which model he had in mind.” Kannabiran, who last met Yugandhar in 2018, saw how ill the former bureaucrat had become. “He was mentally agile, but physically he was not even able to muster two sentences at a go. He had constant breathing problems and was also on oxygen support,” she added.
Former Union Home Secretary K Padmanabhaiah, also recalled his association with him and said, “He (Yugandhar) was a committed and brilliant officer. He used to inspire young IAS officers. He followed left-oriented ideas. It is a loss for all of us.” President of Telangana IAS Officers’ Association BP Acharya condoled the death of the illustrious civil servant. CM K Chandrasekhar Rao also expressed his condolences over Yugandhar’s death. While recalling the services rendered by him, the CM said that Yugandhar was a sincere, honest officer who was known for his simplicity. He also conveyed his condolences to the members of the breaved family and to his son and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.