Jammu and Kashmir
The eldest child of Smt. Janaki Devi and Sh. Shiv Dayal, Bauji, as his family affectionately called him, was born in the small town, Kotli on the banks of River Poonch, on July 8th, 1915 to a modest family of merchants. He would soon rise to be one of the foremost civil servants in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Lalaji graduated from Government College in Jammu and obtained a bachelor’s degree in law from the prestigious Lahore Law College, where he was placed 3rd in the graduating class. After practicing law in Udhampur and Jammu, he joined the newly setup Kashmir Civil Service in 1945, placing first in the first ever civil services exam. After serving the judiciary for a few years, where he held various critical assignments, including the District Magistrate of the border province of Nowshera during the Partition, he was appointed to the administrative services in 1957 as General Secretary. He spent the rest of his career as a civil servant holding posts of Secretary in the departments of Home, Finance, Health, and Works and Power. He was then appointed to the Public Service Commission before retiring as acting chairman in 1977. He spent his retirement years contributing to civil society; he was Secretary General of the Dharmarth trust, a member of the council at Vridh Ashram, a founding member of the Jammu Citizens Council, and the prime force behind the establishment and growth of the Vivekanand Memorial Hospital. He was also instrumental in setting up the Rehari Colony for displaced persons after the Partition without any personal benefit even though his family had also been displaced.
Lalaji, as he was known by his colleagues and associates, earned the trust of all by his dedication and unimpeachable honesty. He was an able administrator and the rules and procedures he put into place still continue to be used in the various departments he led. Dispassionately apolitical, he earned the respect of the entire political establishment that he served.
An avid reader and lover of learning, he personally curated the public service commission’s large and diverse library. A man of modest and simple tastes, he eschewed trappings of success. Fond of walking, he was for many years a fixture among the many trails around Jammu. Not naturally gregarious, he was, however, a deeply empathetic person and his vast circle of friends who became like family to him is testimonial to that.
He is survived by his wife Shantaji, five daughters, a son, nephews and nieces and loving grand and great-grandchildren.
Please join us in celebrating the life of this true karamyogi and in prayers as his soul continues on in its eternal divine journey. We were blessed to have him in our midst; he shall continue to inspire anyone whose life he touched.