Sri R Krishnaswami

Invaluable Service


One summer evening in 2004, I approached R. Krishnaswamy (RK) for a favour. It was in connection with the novel ‘Justice Jagannathan,’ the court room drama by ‘Devan’, which was translated by Lakshmi Venkatraman into English and edited by V. Krishnamurthy, former DGP of Kerala. ‘Devan’ had quoted the appropriate IPC and CrPC laws in each chapter in Tamil, as a lead, before commencing with the story. The former DGP had pointed out that there have been many changes in certain IPC and CrPC rules, which could be translated into English from Tamil and used. For this daunting task, I asked RK’s help. To my surprise, he had the translations ready by 9 a.m. the next day!

When I thanked RK for his promptness, he commented, “I heard that Devan was a jury in a case. I wondered how accurately he had observed the court proceedings and recorded them in his inimitable style!”

He never missed the yearly Devan Day celebration on May 5. He even honoured good friend Gopulu, the outstanding artist and illustrator, during Devan’s Centenary Celebrations in 2013.He also admired Tamil writer Indira Parthasarathy, whose novel ‘Krishna Krishna’ in Tamil and English, was his favourite.

He organised upanyasams and namasankirtanams at the Sabha regularly and hardly a scholar was omitted in the series. He had a soft corner for Kalyanapuram Aravamudachariyar and I have seen him waiting near the lift to receive him during the Margazhi morning Tiruppavai lectures. I have also seen Nagai Mukundan seeking certain clarifications from RK for his discourses.

Once he gave a series of lectures in Sankara Gurukulam on the philosophical aspects of Papanasam Sivan kritis for over 40 weeks!

Usually, he received all the Deepavali Malars, but would wait for me to deliver the Kalki Deepavali Malar in person. Then he would say, “Wait. Let me give you a sweet box!”

On the day he passed away, his admirers and friends gathered at his residence, where vocalist O.S. Arun recalled an incident. Once, when Arun was ready for his show, he asked the boy to raise the curtain. RK, who was present, advised Arun to first rearrange the folds of his angavastram properly. He was truly a multi-faceted personality!