HIGHLIGHTS

  • As Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, he implemented reforms and instituted the salutary practice of giving annual pictures of the national economy while assuming a prominent figure in international monetary conferences.
  • As Union Finance Minister in 1950, overseeing the implementation of India’s First Five-Year Plan, he succeeded in maintaining strict financial control over expenditures of public funds.
  • The Board of Trustees recognizes “their exemplary performance in the service of their respective governments.”

 CITATION

The name of CHINTAMAN DWARKANATH DESHMUKH has come to be synonymous in India with integrity in government service. His distinguished career began at the age of 24 as a member of the Indian CiviI Service. It was as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, his country’s premier financial institution, that he became well known as an independent-minded stabilizing force. He introduced basic reforms, instituted the salutary practice of giving annually a complete picture of the national economy, and also played a prominent role in international finance as India’s delegate to a series of monetary conferences.

Shri DESHMUKH’s greatest test came with his appointment in 1950 as Union Finance Minister. Now in politics, he continued to express his opinions frankly and honestly irrespective of whether such advice might adversely affect his political future. In this position during the expansive period of the First Five-Year Plan, he was again a steadying influence and succeeded in maintaining strict financial control over expenditures of public funds.

When he resigned in 1956 over a difference of opinion on policy, he retained the confidence of both Government and the Congress Party and became Chairman of the University Grants Commission, responsible for coordinating and maintaining standards of teaching and education in universities throughout India. The quality of scholarly competence and sound reason that he has brought to this work is being felt in the universities.

Adhering personally to Spartan discipline and holding sensitive posts at a critical time in India’s development, he has set, by his example, a standard to follow.

In electing CHINTAMAN DWARKANATH DESHMUKH to receive the 1959 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, the Board of Trustees recognizes his exemplary performance in the service of his government. As our late President regarded government office as a public trust, so has this ideal characterized the careers of the one in India.

 RESPONSE

As one henceforward admitted in a special way to the fellowship of service for Asians I feel highly privileged to have this public opportunity to pay my humble tribute to the great man whose memory the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation seeks to perpetuate.

Each country has its own fountain sources of inspiration for those who work in some sector of public life, but the preoccupations of a complex and crowded modern life afford only rare opportunities for reinforcing the local guidance and widening the horizons of service for one’s fellow-beings.

It is, therefore, with a sense of humility and gratitude that I greet this opportunity vouch-safed to me by Providence of deriving strength and stimulation from the example of the noble life and mission of Ramon Magsaysay. We of Asia have tasks ahead that will demand the best that each one of us can give for the common good, and recognition, as by this Award, is only a reminder of the immensity of that task, of the cooperative efforts of associates and colleagues that have contributed to what little one has been able to achieve, and a spur to further efforts towards the high goal of the enhanced welfare of the millions of Asia.

 BIOGRAPHY

CHINTAMAN DWARKANATH DESHMUKH was born on January 14, 1896 in Nata, Kolaba District, Bombay. He was educated at Elphinstone College, Bombay, and took his B.A. at Jesus College, Cambridge, winning the Frank Smart Prize in Botany in 1917 and graduating with a Natural Science Tripos, Part I, in 1918. He stood first among the candidates for the Open Competitive Examination and joined the Indian Civil Service in November, 1919.

Married in 1920 to Rosina Arthur Wilcox, he was widowed in 1949. Their one daughter, Primrose, is residing in England. In 1953, he married Shrimati Durga Bai, a colleague between 1950 and 1952 in Parliament and from 1952 on the Planning Commission. A prominent public figure in her own right, Mrs. Deshmukh is at present Chairman of the Central Social Welfare Board.

Shri DESHMUKH’s daily regimen reflects his conviction that physical discipline is as imperative as mental. The DESHMUKHs are early risers, customarily taking up their important work at five in the morning. An expert gardener, he inspects the flowers, well-mown lawns and food crops that flourish around his New Delhi residence before breakfast. The remainder of each day is apportioned to work, recreation and study. Shri DESHMUKH is widely traveled and versatile. Acquainted with seven languages, he enjoys the study of philosophy, is a profound reader of English and French literature, and a learned scholar of Sanskrit. His favorite sport is tennis. Despite the high positions he has held, he maintains in his life a Spartan simplicity and has remained to old friends the same good and gentle companion, enlivened by a shy and whimsical humor and something of the eagerness of a schoolboy.

(For the complete biography, please email biographies@rmaf.org.ph)