Tribute: T. C. A. Ramanujam, retired chief commissioner of income tax, advocate, Sanskrit scholar, newspaper columnist and author and diehard Mylaporean

Multi-faceted Mylaporean T. C. A. Ramanujam, retired chief commissioner of income tax who passed away at 88 on February 21, was also an advocate, Sanskrit scholar and newspaper columnist and author.

Ramanujam had retired in 1992 as chief commissioner of income tax and went on to be a member of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal. He then re-started  his practice as an advocate, representing the Income Tax department as a senior standing counsel.

Ramanujam attended the M.A. Economics course at Vivekananda College and  completed the law degree from Madras Law College.

In a tribute, his grandson Siddharth says – ‘In 1951, a young boy, not yet out of his teens, stepped out of a tram-car, a bag with his college books and lunch in hand, and entered Mylapore’s Vivekananda College. Few could have ever known then that this young boy with a penchant for economics, would one day be widely renowned for being a master of the subject, an intellectual more than worthy of the MA degree. He would go on to become a hard-working IRS Officer (who advanced rapidly in rank to become the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax),  an eminent tax jurist, and, eventually, a senior standing counsel of the Income Tax Department.’

Ramanujam’s daughter Sangeetha, advocate at Madras High Court, touching on her father’s attachment to all of Mylapore says her father shopped consistently on the Mada Streets and knew every other hawker and shop-owner.

Grandson Siddharth says – ‘Month after month, year after year, decade after decade, one thing would never change: the man with the black glasses ( Ramanujam) would return to buy from the shops / hawkers. From the eastern edge of Chitrakulam to the Sai Baba Temple, every vendor on South Mada Street and Venkatesa Agraharam knew the kind man in his iconic white shirt and white dhoti. Every day he would walk, bargaining and bartering, buying vegetables, fruits and flowers. But he didn’t do it for the sole reason of completing his shopping list, he did it so that he could meet them, to listen to them, to inspire them and to assure them.’

Siddharth says, ‘Ramanujam was a faithful at Alliance Publishers and Ramakrishna Mission, the intellectual with worn sandals, ready to purchase his copy (of new publications). Mylapore’s Indian Bank, which has served its customers for over a century, continues working in silence, knowing that it would never again see that iconic mop of white hair enter through the doors, ready to withdraw, deposit and invest…’

Adds Siddharth – ‘Narasimhapuram is a quiet place. It has always been known for three things: the house of P. S. Narayanaswamy, the great Carnatic music teacher, the house of Amutham Music (of Sudha Raghunathan, the well known Carnatic musician) and the house of Ramanujam, passionate Carnatic music connoisseur. A member of The Music Academy, he was a familiar face in every Carnatic music concert hall in Madras, including Mylapore’s own Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan and Karthik Fine Arts.

Ramanujam is survived by his son, T. C. A. Arvind Rangarajan, and daughter, T. C. A Sangeetha. Contact – T. C. A. Sangeetha – 9677054329

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