I met Shri Radha Vinod Raju IPS for the first time during a friend’s wedding almost a decade ago. Being from the same state, I spoke to him delightedly in Malayalam , to which he responded warmly. I was a rookie probationer in the Indian Administrative Services, he was a very respected senior IPS officer whose name was known by anyone familiar with the murder investigation of Shri Rajiv Gandhi. Besides, his brilliant stint as a CBI officer in Kerala had inspired superhit movies in my state, like Oru CBI DiaryKuruppu (From the diary of CBI), and for any aspiring civil servant, he stood as an epitome of brilliance, dignity, grace and incorruptible integrity and inspiration.
I met him again in Mussoorie during a training stint years later, when he charmed everyone around with his fine articulation (he knew almost six languages) and charismatic personality. He remained etched in my memory as what an officer should aspire to be- a personality to remember as a role model, when one gets depressed by cynicism and selfishness all around.
And then came the news of his untimely demise at the age of 62, when he was heading a prestigious assignment at the NIA. He had passed away due to lung complications as per the news reports. Why do God call the best and finest so fast back to his abode, I remember wondering that day.
Today, I read an article in my mother tongue by a revered oncologist and Vinod Raju Sir’s college mate, Dr. P.V.Gangadharan who treated him, about the humility of this officer who sat waiting outside the doctor’s chamber like umpteen ordinary patients, without ever trying to send in a paper of introduction, even as he headed a top agency of the nation. He writes about the contrast shown by many people who barge their way inside , demanding immediate treatment and consideration. The cancer specialist, famed for his career as a compassionate care giver and leader in his field, reflects on the finer qualities of humanity- that which respects another’s rights as much as those of his own self. Why are we teaching self centred behaviour to our children, he asks, when such personalities too lived amidst us, showing the way?