P C Alexander passes away

P C Alexander passes away

Alexander was 90 and is survived by his wife Ackama, two sons and two daughters, his family sources said. He was taken ill after he suffered a stroke a month ago. He was under treatment at a private hospital here. His end came around 8:30 am, sources said. His body will be taken to his village in Kerala for the last rites on Thursday.

Born on March 20, 1921, at Mavelikkara in Kerala, Alexander post-graduated from the then Travancore University.  He  joined  the Indian Administrative Service in 1948. He served in the then Madras and Travancore-Cochin states before moving to the Central Government in 1955.

Alexander went as Senior Adviser to the UN in New York during 1963-66. It was then that the then prime minister Indira Gandhi invited him to join the staff of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), wherein he served as principal secretary from 1981-85, including a tenure under her successor and son Rajiv Gandhi. The Bhopal gas tragedy had taken  place during his tenure at the PMO. He quit the PMO in the wake of the “Coomar Narayan spy scandal.”

He then served as Indian High Commissioner to the UK in 1985-88. He was instrumental in acquiring Gandhi’s 260-odd letters to Herman Kallenbach. Hermann Kallenbach, a German born Jewish South African architect, was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi.

On his return to India, Alexander was appointed Governor of Tamil Nadu (1988-90) and Maharashtra for two terms (from January 1993). He was also briefly in charge of Goa. In July 2002, he resigned as Maharashtra governor after he lost out in the race for the President’s post to Dr A P J Abdul Kalam.

Alexander penned several books and articles, including “My Years with Indira Gandhi” and “Through the Corridors of Power.”

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