V M M Nair, India’s oldest ICS officer’s 100th birthday on Oct 8

V. M. M. Nair, the longest surviving Indian Civil Service (ICS) officer of  Bihar and Odisha cadre of 1942  batch will celebrate his 100th birthday on October 8, 2019. He is now India’s senior-most civil servant and the doyen of the civil services in India.

Ambassador V M M Nair belongs to the 1942 batch of the Indian Civil Service and was selected in 1946 for the Foreign and Political Department of the Government of India, by then Viceroy Field Marshal Wavell.

Nair is also the only surviving member of the Indian Political Service and, after independence who joined the Indian Foreign Service, and served in and headed India’s missions for over two decades in Egypt, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Norway, Poland, Morocco (accredited to Tunisia as well), and Spain.

The 1942 ICS batch is unique, as it was the last ICS batch recruited in UK. It was the smallest UK batch of the ICS ever recruited. It had only two recruits from the UK, both Indian candidates, and no UK (European) members.

There were other 1942 batch ICS members recruited in India, such as the late K. Balachandran ICS (Assam), a former Secretary to the President of India who was Nair’s brother-in-law.

Nair was one of two such UK recruits, and the other recruit Chandra Prakash Gupta, ICS (UP) quit the ICS prematurely in the late 1960s after having been the Establishment Officer to the Government of India.

A unique coincidence is that both Nair and Gupta were born on the same day. Nothing is known about Gupta, though his birth centenary is approaching as well.

Nair, MA (Madras), MA (Oxon.), MA (Cantab.), Bar-at-Law, is one of very few Indians to have belonged to three superior services: ICS, pre-1947 IPS (Political) and post-1947 IFS (Foreign).

He belongs to an illustrious family, and his father Chettur Karunakaran Nair was a District Superintendent of Police in pre-independence Madras Presidency and his uncle Sir Chettur Madhavan Nair (a son-in-law of Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair) was a member of the Privy Council, another of his uncle Diwan Bahadur Chettur Govindar Nair who was Law Secretary of Orissa before independence, and an uncle Chettur Krishnan Nair was Public Prosecutor in Madurai before independence.

Nair resides in New Delhi with his wife.

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