P. C. Alexander

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P. C. Alexander
P C Alexander.jpg
Governor of Maharashtra
In office
12 January 1993 – 13 July 2002
Preceded by C Subramaniam
Succeeded by Mohammed Fazal
Governor of Tamil Nadu
In office
17 February 1988 – 24 May 1990
Preceded by Sundar Lal Khurana
Succeeded by Sardar Surjit Singh Barnala
Governor of Goa
In office
19 July 1996 – 15 January 1998
Preceded by Romesh Bhandari
Succeeded by T. R. Satish Chandran
Personal details
Born (1921-03-20)20 March 1921
Mavelikara, Travancore
Died 10 August 2011(2011-08-10) (aged 90)
Chennai, India
Nationality Indian
Alma mater University of Kerala
Annamalai University
Profession Civil Servant
Politician
Administrator

Padinjarethalakal Cherian Alexander (20 March 1921 – 10 August 2011) was an Indian Administrative Service officer of 1948 batch who served as the Governor of Tamil Nadu from 1988 to 1990 and as the Governor of Maharashtra from 1993 to 2002. He was considered as a candidate for the post of the President of India in 2002. During his time in Maharashtra, he had additional charge of Goa from 1996 to 1998. He was also a member of the Rajya Sabha representing Maharashtra as an independent candidate from 29 July 2002 to 2 April 2008.[1]

His career included extended stints with the United Nations and India's Ministry of Commerce and his high profile appointment as the powerful Principal Secretary for former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He also served as the Indian High Commissioner to the Court of St. James's.

His autobiography is Through the Corridors of Power. His other works include My years with Indira Gandhi, The Perils of Democracy, and India in the New Millennium.[2]

Early life and background[edit]

Alexander was born to an aristocratic Saint Thomas Christian family Padinjarethalakal with his parents being Jacob Cherian and Mariama Cherian in Mavelikkara within the erst-while Indian princely state of Travancore currently in the Alappuzha district of Kerala. He is a grandson of the aristocratic Saint Thomas Christian Polachirackal Tharakan tharavad of Mavelikkara which is recorded as one of the oldest Saint Thomas Christian houses in political nobility titled as Tharakan having evolved from the accumulation of the largest wealth in that period created through their oligopoly over the black pepper trade with the Dutch East India in the 16th c. and 17th c. leading to their main role in financing the Kingdom of Travancore during the Travancore–Dutch War in the 18th c., finally funding the Battle of Colachel in 1741 leading to the signing of the Treaty of Mavelikara in 1753 and thus contributing to the rise of the Maharaja of Travancore Marthanda Varma, Travancore Royal Family. P.C. Alexander studied at Bishop Hodges Higher Secondary School, took his post-graduate degree in History and Economics from the University of Travancore (now University of Kerala), during this period he also remained President, Travancore University Students Union.[1] Later he received M.Litt and D.Litt. degrees by research from the Annamalai University before joining the Indian Administrative Service.

Career[edit]

Alexander started his career as a civil servant in 1948 and held several high positions. He also involved himself in public life. Alexander was the principal secretary to Indira Gandhi and virtually served as her shadow and policy adviser for the years after her return to power in January 1980. He briefly served Rajiv Gandhi but the latter was not very comfortable with his paternal style and had him replaced. He was sent as India's High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom (1985-1987).[3] A former civil servant, Alexander was invited by Indira Gandhi to become her principal secretary when he was serving at the United Nations.

He became the governor of Tamil Nadu in 1988, holding the post till 1990. He served as the Maharashtra governor in 1993-2002. The BJP led National Democratic Alliance (India) first proposed his name for presidency but as the Indian National Congress did not agree to his candidature in spite of repeated requests from the BJP led National Democratic Alliance (India). Alexander quit the post disgusted with the Indian National Congress .Then Alexander was elected to the Rajya Sabha on a National Democratic Alliance (India) ticket and continued to take a keen interest in national affairs till some time ago.

Alexander's autobiography Through the Corridors of Power gives a ringside view of the government's functioning. He also wrote another book My Years with Indira Gandhi, which records the history and politics of the times.

He was married to Ackama Alexander, and the couple had two sons and two daughters.[1] Alexander was undergoing treatment at the Madras Medical Mission Hospital in Chennai, for cancer. He used to be hospitalised and discharged frequently. Alexander, 90, died at the Madras Medical Mission Hospital, on 10 August 2011. The body was flown to Kochi buried at St. Mary's Orthodox Cathedral Church at his home town Mavelikkara in Alappuzha district.

References[edit]

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