R. Parthasarathy was a senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Gujarat cadre in India and a Chartered Chemist.
Prior to joining the IAS in June 1963, he studied and taught Chemistry in the University of Delhi in the 1950s. It was always his first love and remained so till his passing. He was one of the few people that saw organic chemistry in everyday life and all around him gleefully rattling off formulae, reactions and possibilities into his eighties. Science, Philosophy and Religion was an effortless blend in his persona. He wore many different hats~Brilliant Chemist, Visionary Bureaucrat, Masterful Teacher and Mentor, Avid Fitness Enthusiast all with the heart of a father and grandfather.
He had earlier worked with Prof. T.R. Seshadri FRS and Prof K.B.L. Mathur in Delhi, India on Free Radical Chemistry and later did his research on “Heavy metal emissions from solid waste incineration – deposition onto soils” under Dr Paul Williams and Dr Andrew Clarke of the Department of Fuel and Energy in the University of Leeds. He is the first and the only IAS officer in India to distinguish himself in getting a British PG degree from an Engineering School at the age of 60 plus!
Knowledge for knowledge's sake was the Raison De'tre for his existence. He loved pursuing pure knowledge & was committed to acquiring and sharing it with the society at large unconditionally. Always very giving of himself he set high standards of integrity and principles in all walks of life and always had a kind word and a smile for people from all walks of life.
He is the first Indian to be recognized as CSci from the CIWEM stream and also the first Chartered Environmentalist CEnv from India.
As an IAS officer, he has been the Additional Chief Secretary of the Revenue, Industries, Agriculture, Forests, Environment and Cooperation Departments of the Government of Gujarat and also the Chairman and Director/Managing Director of several Corporations like the State Export and Small Industries Corporations, Gujarat Narmada Fertilizers Company, Agricultural Land Development Bank, Agricultural Marketing Board, State Warehousing Corporation etc at different points of time in his service career (1963-1996) After his retirement in 1996 he joined the University of Leeds and obtained his second Master’s degree – M.Sc. in Environmental Pollution Control on successful completion of full time, inter disciplinary studies in the Houldsworth School of Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering (now known as SPEME) in 1998. On return from the UK, he was appointed as Adviser Environmental Pollution Control and Cleaner Production Technologies in the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation at the behest of the Government of Gujarat. Currently, he is working in an HONORARY capacity, associated with many Government Corporations as a Group Adviser/ Consultant to companies like the Gujarat Alkalis and Chemicals, Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals, Gujarat Narmada Fertilizers,(these are ISO 14000/18000 certified chemical companies), Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (oil and gas exploration company), and the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam limited, a company for implementation of the Sardar Sarovar Dam across River Narmada in Gujarat that took water across impossible distances to far away arid lands.
In 2001 he joined the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Bath for further studies and obtained his third M.Sc. degree in Integrated Environmental Management in December 2005. His research was on the Indian Experience of Environmental Impact Assessment in Multipurpose River Valley projects – a case study of the SSP project in Gujarat. Dr Trevor Turpin was the supervisor for this and edited a book on the Environment, published in July 2001 which has been widely acclaimed in all quarters.
He was a corporate/professional member of numerous bodies/societies in England which he felt had much greater integrity than any other country in the world. 1. Fellow of the Energy Institute (2008) and a Member of the erstwhile Institute of Petroleum since 2000 2. Life Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry - Chartered Chemist Designation 2001 3. Fellow of the CIWEM Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (2007) & Member, Chartered Water and Environmental Manager designation (2002). 4. Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (2008) - Associate since 2002 5. Chartered Scientist CSci (October 2004) registered with the Science Council 6. Chartered Environmentalist CEnv (2004) registered with the SOCENV, UK 7. Chartered Chemical Engineer (2008) registered with the Engineering Council UK 8. Member Chartered Society for Forensic Sciences (April 2014) UK
He maintained his interest in and as a distance runner, practiced preventive medicine and was an Associate of the Cooper Clinic and Institute of Aerobics Research at Dallas, Texas USA.
He was also Distinguished Visiting Professor (Honorary) in the GERMI Gujarat Energy Management Institute promoted by the GSPC (Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation), Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, Institute of Public Administration of the Government of Gujarat and in many universities/institutions/organizations in India and abroad.
We can only aspire in many lifetimes to what he achieved in one. He is survived by his wife Pramila Parthasarathy and daughter Priya Jadeja who live between India and California.