U Sagayam – IAS Officer who had never taken a bribe
U Sagayam IAS Officer and The Unsung Hero
U Sagayam is an amazing IAS officer for whom what is right is acceptable and no excuse for wrong-doer. He had earned lots of blessings and respect as he is such an officer who has never taken any bribe. This Madurai collector has received 18 transfers in just 20 years. He is a modest man with the decent house and a bank balance.
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One day on the busy main road of Madhurai he saw a young man talking on a cellphone while he was riding a bike. U Sagayam told his driver to flip the man down. He then got down from his car and instantly punished him. He is an officer who has planted 10 saplings within 24 hours. The way he deals with the matter and give justice is somewhat unlawful but not deterrent or barbaric. It is the style of his work. There is board hanging above Sagayam’s chair in his modest office which says ‘Lanjam Thavirtthu, Nenjam Namartthu’ (Reject bribes, hold your head high).
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U Sagayam is so particular about his rule that even politicians umbrageous of him, this is the reason why he had 18 transfers in just 20 years. Because of his this nature he had for both in his superior ranks and those who were subordinate to him. Commenting upon his this true nature, he said that he knows that he sit under a very dangerous slogan and likely alienate people. Standing against corruption is not a season which will fade away after few time neither it a furor. Its is moral and nature which will remain in him forever.This is how he was from day 1 of his office and till date. When he was district collector of Namakkal he himself announced his assets: which included a bank balance of Rs 7,172 and a house in Madurai worth Rs 9 lakh.
There was the time when he didn’t even had 5, OOO Rs in his bank balance for admitting his daughter Yalini who had breathing problems. At the same time, U Sagayam was deputy Commissioner of excise in Coimbatore. There was 650 liquor license which were to be given out. At that time, the height of bribe was Rs 10,000 for an each-each liquor license.
The minute he came to Madurai and took charge of his office he started cleaning Madurai. The whole system there was well greased with bribe called as haftas which were given to local politicians and policemen. The main bus terminus at Mattuthavani looked more like a bazaar, with shops all over the bus shelters and no waiting for a place for passengers. Their funny scene there was that even a police outpost had been turned into a shop.
Without wasting any time, Sagayam rapidly went through the rule-book, cited the relevant clauses and cleaned up the whole area. It was like magic. According to U Sagayam, a violation is a violation rather it be done by poor or a rich. But he had another plan ready in his mind in order to help the poor for their rehabilitation.
One of his fans was Nageshwaran, a taxi-driver says, that “He’s strict and hasn’t taken even ten paise in bribe during his career. He’s like the upright collectors they show in some films, a real hero with integrity.” Sagayam’s masters degrees in social work and law come in useful in his role as an administrator.
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However powerful let the opponent be he was never afraid of anyone. For him rule – the book was his guideline and he always used to do all his act according to it. His career is noted with a number of scars which he received from all his battles.
When U Sagayam was posted as a revenue officer in Kanchipuram he ordered sand mafia to stop digging out sand from the Palar riverbed. As due to large scale digging of sand had made the area flood prone. The sand mafia instead of following his order started assaulting Sagayam.But Sangayam a hero never got afraid of this assault and was obstinate to take back his order.
He also took strict action against an MNC when a consumer filed a complaint by showing a bottle with dirt floating in it. He banned the sale of the soft drink in the city and sealed the whole bottling unit. Once in Chennai he locked a noisemaker with a restaurant chain and also recovered four acres valued at some of Rs 200 crore. He had such a great certificate of loyalty that he was picked by the Election Commissioner to oversee the election in Madurai. Even conducted a campaign for voter awareness in colleges. There was the petition filed by DMK, twice in the court, on saying that to end what it said was an attempt to influence voters but the court demurred.
His greatest support who stood by his side very time, his wife Vimala. He has an amazing nature he used to suddenly stop a school bus to talk to children or duck into a school to take a class. When students tell him they want to be IAS or IPS officers, he asks, “It’s all well to say now that you’ll be honest, but will you remain unbending about not taking bribes throughout your career?” Once he was going to his village on his way he met a 92-year-old woman while cleaning rice. She replied that in order to eat she had to do this work.
U Sagayam immediately approved Rs 1,000 as an old age pension for her. He had also taken action against those children who doesn’t take proper care of their old parents.He being a collector has slept the whole night in village schools. There were many Village administrative officer who never visited villages and often used to stay miles away from the village with all luxuries. In Namakkal, he took action against uncontrolled VAOs. Due to his this action the member of this VAOs used to form a party with ministers and used to fax out the transfer letter of a brief- free officer. There was a protest against his this transfer by the villagers, they were saying that ‘ they won’t let Sagayam go’ Looking the protest the politicians had to draw back his transfer.
Talking about his such a great honest nature, he said that he learned it from his mother.His father was a farmer from Pudukottai. He had 4 siblings and he was the youngest among all. In his childhood when he used to pick the fallen mango from the field adjacent to his field, his mother used to throw that mango and taught him that he should only take those things which actually belonged to him. This great lesson from his mother was followed by him throughout his life. It’s tough to believe that in this corrupt, profane, and demoralize worlds there is the man for whom moral, truth and rules mean everything. He is a real idea to everyone in this world. No matter how much we praise him it will be less to match up with his good deeds. Now his daughter wants to follow his path and desires to be a Collector.
Both his kid are proud of him. Recently when the U Sagayam family went on vacation to Kullu in Himachal Pradesh. They planned to visit a Gurudwara. While visiting a Gurudwara they encountered a stranger who asked their father,’ Aren’t you IAS officer Mr. Sagayam?’. Both his children were looking at him in surprise. It’s not just saying but also true that no matter how high you go by following corrupt methods and doing malpractices but real respect is gained only after doing good deeds, such a respect which lasts for ever and ever.