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disc00012a-t.jpg (1885 bytes)Dr. S. Kalyanaraman using the Doe Library in University of California, Berkeley (June 22, 1998); he acknowledges gratefully the use of indological  resources of this library,  the Green Library in Stanford University, Library of Congress, University of the Philippines Library System, Manila, Adyar Library and Connemara Library, Chennai, National Museum, Delhi, National Library, Calcutta  and the British Library, London, apart from the resources available on the web.

From Indology to Reviving City Waterways:

From "The Hindu" - 29-09-1997. 

Despite his pre-occupation with high profile activities, Dr. S. Kalyanaraman, former senior executive of the ADB, has varied interests including matters mundane. He shares them with T. Ramakrishnan.

A paperweight may be a routine dull object for most people, but it can trigger unexpected reactions among some: such as a deep desire to take up Indological studies.

One such scholar eventually went on to do a unique work of writing a multilingual dictionary of the Dravidian, Aryan and Mundarica language families.

The author of the dictionary, Dr. S. Kalyanaraman (58), started on his voyage of discovery in the office of his boss, Dr. Trujillo from the U.S., while working in the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The paperweight, given to him by the officer, was a brass replica of an Indus seal depicting a short-horned bull and some Indus script as an inscription.

In the meantime, an Indologist wrote a letter to Dr. Kalayanaraman asking for comments on the former's decipherment of a script. The paperweight and this letter led him to embark on studies on the subject.

At present, he is working on the `mythical' Sarasvathi river which can be revived by tapping groundwater resources and making the Thar desert in Rajasthan bloom. His study is centered on providing leads for resolving the decipherment problem of the Indus script.

Dr. Kalayanaraman has interest in a variety of subjects. A graduate in economics and statistics from the Annamalai University, he became a Member of the Indian Railway Accounts Service in 1962. He secured his doctorate from the University of Philippines in 1982 and his Ph.D. thesis was a comparative study of development administration in six Asian countries.

In the '70s, the Indologist's performance on coal accounting for and the  drawing up the Railways' perspective plan for information technology (IT) came in for praise and subsequently, he was deputed to the ADB. Dr. Kalayanaraman helped establish the Bank's IT network with 2,500 workstations. He administered loan disbursements on a multi- currency portfolio of equivalent US $60 billions on 600 development projects in the Asia-Pacific region.

Despite his high-profile activities, the ADB's former senior executive has not lost sight of the more "mundane" things. The beautification of the city waterways is one of his pet subjects. "The waterways are, in a way, a blessing for the city. Otherwise, the situation will be worse when Chennai receives heavy rainfall."

His suggestion is that as a demonstration project, the Cooum can be taken up first. The execution of its improvement should be split into different segments, which can be entrusted to different contractors.

In addition to desludging the waterway, a series of checkdams can be built along the Cooum for regulating the discharge of water. Tanks, located on the outskirts of the city and functioning as sources for the waterway, have to be renovated.

For improving the water supply network for the southern suburbs of Chennai, Dr. Kalayanaraman says the aquifer of the Palar river can be tapped. He wants the Government to act strongly against those who pollute the river.

As the senior ADB executive, he had exposure to the Chinese system of governance. "China has made rapid strides, particularly in the area of local self-governance. It is not just because it's a communist country but its rulers have immense faith in decentralisation".

One lesson that can be drawn from the Chinese, he says, is to grant more powers to the Chennai Mayor. In Beijing, the Mayor is the focal point of all activities and has the authority to mobilise resources and personnel from various agencies and departments for improving the state of affairs in the Metro.

The same thing is possible here as the 74th Constitutional amendment has made it mandatory that the Metropolitan Planning Committee and other local bodies falling within the Metro to take up responsibility to prepare and implement urban development schemes. The existing mechanism for utilising financial and personnel resources should also undergo suitable changes.

Moreover, this amendment can be used for strengthening urban local bodies and bringing about a revolutionary change in their functioning and administration, Dr. Kalyanaraman feels.

As his presentation to mark the golden jubilee of Independence, Dr. Kalyanaraman has created a website running to 2,500 pages of information on India at As his social obligation, he offers his Internet access at the domain address free of cost to the younger generation with the goal of preparing them intellectually and academically.

See also the Sarasvati River Website:

Indian Alchemy: Soma in the Rigveda (in press, Delhi, Munshiram Manoharlal)

His email:


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