Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Shri Jiji Thomson, an able sports administrator .. Will he deliver ?

This piece of writing is meant to introduce Shri. Jiji Thomson IAS, to the youngsters of the country.
Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion . Georg Hegel
Jiji Thomson is a name most of us back in Kerala recollect very fast, mostly for the right reasons. He has been a known figure in Kerala for a long time because he is in elite company, being from the Indian Administrative Services and known to be a proactive personality. After completing his MA (Economics) from Trivandrum, he joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1980 in the Kerala cadre.
Usually civil servants are considered to be capable of doing great service for the society and the people. (we too can do it wherever we are in what small position it is..) At some point in life, due to preoccupations or some hiccups in their career, these top civil servants consider giving their best to society is not in their personal interests and withdraw into a cocoon. But there are certainly exceptions to that !!
Here you about to find a person totally different, always looking for opportunities to interact with peoplepassionate to take on challenges and responsibilitieswanting to do more and more good for the society and the people, with an abundant resource of untapped energy for the society. What an ideal "civil servant" should be ! True to that word, very humble and approachable .. Every time you meet him he is energised and enthused as never before..
Right from his initial stints as sub-collector of Alleppey, Kerala, 1983, in his office-cum-residence anyone visiting him would be amazed and taken aback by the cheer, discipline and passion with which he works, interacting so effortlessly with people big and small, rich and poor, patiently listening to them, helping them dispose their files. Shri. Jiji Thomson used to be a popular figure then.
Besides popularising the Nehru Trophy boat race at Alleppey and bringing it to international acclaim, he was instrumental in conducting "community marriages" for hundreds of couples in Alleppey in the early eighties ! From there it went on to the cultural, social scenes in Palghat as District Collector when he revived the Kalpathy Carnatic music festival and conducted many camps for the physically handicapped by implanting Jaipur foot. In Kerala, Jiji Thomson's contribution to the socio-cultural-literary scene in Kerala has been very interesting, eye-catching, eventful, varied and colourful.
He was also the Convener of the first National Games in the country with corporate sponsorship in 1987 held in Kerala. The events were for the first time held at different towns and cities in the state of Kerala, networked through technological innovations with the help of Keltron. (His discipline also saw him submitting the final audited accounts in time after the games, generating an overall profit of about Rs. 55 lakhs, again a first of it's kind in the country). This caught the attention of the then PM, Rajiv Gandhi who invited him to take over as the DG of Sports Authority of India then, which Jiji politely refused. He had loads of work left to be done ..!
Throughout his life he has decorated various bureaucratic positions in energy, agriculture, tribal welfare, sports and youth affairs, transport etc., gained invaluable experience and is now an Additional Secretary to the Government of India, (just short of a full blown Secretary), presently posted in the Ministry of Youth Affairs, New Delh. From March, 2013 he has taken over as the Director General of the Sports Authority of India (SAI), New Delhi, in line to get the Chief Secretary posting in Kerala soon !!
Jiji Thomson : A capable sports administrator ..
One of his "noble and worthy" accomplishments which will be remembered by the country for all time, is the successful execution of the Common Wealth Games (CWG) in Delhi in 2010. When the original organising committee had bungled under the leadership of the now discredited Suresh Kalmadi, with just 3 months left, the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Sports Minister asked Shri Jiji Thomson along with two other senior IAS officers to take over the running of the CWG from Kalmadi and team and successfully execute it. Jiji Thomson who was in charge of Transportation, Catering and Media during CWG, did his tasks well and brought laurels to the country. People in Delhi still very fondly  remember the transport and smooth traffic arrangements in Delhi during the games and are full praise for that.

One point which all of us Indians look forward to is whether Shri Jiji Thomson with his wide, varied and eventful experience in sports administration of the country over the years will he be able to deliver..? will he be able to cleanse the sports arena of the country of all sloth and lethargy and be able to rejuvenate it in time for the Olympics ?
An eloquent, motivating and inspiring speaker, right from the the school and Balajana sakhyam (Malayala Manorama) days, Jiji Thomson is a very simple and sincere person, with a pleasing personality, known for sticking to time, performance and exacting work standards and ethics. A born orator, he has also been decorating many stages as spiritual speaker for the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. He has carried out his advanced studies in Economics in UK and is a widely travelled personality. 
Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us. - Wilma Rudolph
His life reminds us this strong conviction : each one of us has the potential to be great. Be humble, prayerful, modest and simple. Love your fellow beings, friends and the less fortunate in society, pray for them.

A more recent Sportstar writeup ..

george easaw.. (photo courtesy The Hindu..)

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