M.G. Devasahayam

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M.G. Devasahayam
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Born (1940-12-21) December 21, 1940 (age 82)
  • Soldier
  • administrator
  • economist
  • public Servant
  • Maria Thynase. (father)
  • Maria Gnanaprakasham (mother)
AwardsAshok Chakra Award

M.G. Devasahayam is a Soldier, Administrator, Economist and Public Servant with a distinguished career spanning several decades, with direct and first-hand experience in the Indian Army, Civil Service (IAS), Government, Public & Private Sector, Political system as well as Voluntary Sector.


He received his early and secondary education at Carmel Higher Secondary School in his hometown, Nagercoil and pursued his B.A in Economics from Scott Christian College , Nagercoil and completed his Post-graduate in Economics from Loyola College, Chennai and Tutor in Economics in the same college.

Early life

Devasahayam was born in Vattakarai,a village in nagercoil Commissioned in the Indian Army.[1] in 1964 as Second Lieutenant (Infantry, The Madras Regiment). Participated in Indo-Pak War(1965) , Participated in Aid to Civil Authority in Tamil Nadu(1965) and Counter-Insurgency operations in Nagaland(1967-68). For leading a successful operation against a fully-armed Naga underground Army unit and capturing a dozen insurgents and a big cache of Pakistani weapons, Devasahayam was recommended by the Battalion for the highest Ashok Chakra Award that did not materialize.


Devasahayam left the Army as Major and entered the IAS [1968-Haryana cadre]. He had the privilege of raising a new District (Bhiwani). As the first DC, Devasahayam was instrumental in conceiving, preparing and implementing a District Development Plan which became the precursor for the Integrated Rural Development Project rolled out by Government of India few years later. Devasahayam also had the distinction of administering Chandigarh, the ‘City Beautiful’.

Besides Union Territory of Chandigarh, Devasahayam has held several several senior positions in government including District Collector/Magistrate of two Districts, Divisional Commissioner, Head of Departments (Transport, Urban Development, Excise & Taxation), Chairman, Electricity Board, and Secretary to Government. He was also Member of the High-Powered Committee on Agricultural Policies and Programmes set up by Government of India in 1990.Devasahayam was an advisor to the Former Prime Minister of India, Shri. Morarji Desai.

Emergency [1975]

During Emergency [1975], Jayaprakash Narayan (JP) was arrested in Delhi under MISA and sent to Chandigarh for confinement. As District Magistrate of Chandigarh, Devasahayam was his custodian and developed a humane relationship with JP. This sustained after the Emergency and lasted till JP, the architect of ‘India’s Second Freedom’, passed away in October 1979. Devasahayam had the privilege of being part of India’s second freedom.

The distinguished civilian T.N. Chaturvedi, Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh during the second half of Emergency, who went on to become Comptroller & Auditor General of India, Member of Parliament and Governor of Karnataka speak about those momentous days:

In 1975 Devasahayam a young and dynamic officer was Deputy Commissioner and District Magistrate, Chandigarh …During my stint from 1976-78 as Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh, I found Devasahayam to be a diligent, dedicated, composed, and efficient officer, who upheld the rule of law, and was fair in his dealings with all, however high or low they might be. It fell on the shoulders of this young man to be the jailor of Jayaprakash Narayan.

Jayaprakash Narayan

This relationship has been described by Mr. TN Chaturvedi: Besides his duties as a civil servant Devasahayam did something more[2].He met JP on an almost daily basis and interacted with him intensely. He treated JP as a man who had inspired millions of Indians to take up the cudgels for their rights. He looked upon him as the living connection with and embodiment of the ideas and ideals that Mahatma Gandhi instilled in those who fought for our freedom. He treated JP with the respect due him.

From a low point JP gradually recovered his old self, and in spite of his ill health, determined to right the wrong that has been done to India i.e. defeating Emergency. Devasahayam brings JP to life in all the glory of his integrity, moral fervor, and gift of the fight against all odds. Devasahayam was not just a jailor, but also an interlocutor, and then a tireless facilitator of a rapprochement between JP and Indira Gandhi.

and also Devasahayam had the rare honor of being called by JP as his ‘Friend’ and the ‘son he never had’.

Mother Teresa

Devasahayam had worked closely with Mother Teresa(now Saint) and was instrumental in the setting up of the ‘Home for orphans, abandoned infants, dying destitutes and mentally retarded’ [Shanti-Dan][3] within the Chandigarh city and a sanctuary for lepers outside.

Other Positions and Services

In the Corporate/Institutional area has been has been Advisor, Ashok Leyland; Director, Sterling Holiday Resorts Limited; Corporate Representative, Pace Global Energy Services [USA]; Advisor, PSEG Global (USA-India) entities and Chief Consultant, IIT Madras Research Park. Was a member of CMDA monitoring committee[4] . In the Voluntary Sector he has been associated with leading international and national NGOs. He founded Citizen’s Alliance for Sustainable Living (SUSTAIN)[5] to advocate environmental and resource efficiency issues and Forum for Electoral Integrity [6] to champion ethical voting and strengthening democracy. He mobilized intellectuals and youth and in partnership with Election Commission ran campaigns to bring about honesty and integrity in the electoral process. He has been member, Environment & Energy Committee, CII (South) and Chairman, Infrastructure, Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He was associated with an energy efficiency pilot project in Tamil Nadu Electricity Board in collaboration with the Washington based Alliance to Save Energy and was also the National Consultant to Sustainable Chennai Project jointly sponsored by UNDP and UN-HABITAT.

Devasahayam is a writer[7], columnist[8] and author of Books[9] “India’s Second Freedom - An Untold Saga”; “JP in Jail-An Uncensored Account”; “JP Movement, Emergency and India’s Second Freedom” and “A Drop of Love-Memoir of Saint Teresa.” The thrust in his writings has been Governance[10], Reforms[11], Resource Efficiency [12] as well as topics like Freedom[13] and Democracy[14].

Devasahayam is presently settled in Nagercoil and is Convener, Forum for Electoral Integrity, Chairman of the Pan-India People’s Parliament for Unity & Development, and Chairman of Naam Kumari Makkal, mentoring the ReBuild Kanyakumari Movement.


  • Samar Seva (War Service) Medal;
  • General Service Medal with Bar(Nagaland).


  • JP Achievement award(2019).[15]


  • M. G. Devasahayam (2004). India's Second Freedom - An Untold Saga. Siddharth Publications. p. 358. ISBN 9788172201579.
  • M. G. Devasahayam (2006). JP in Jail: An Uncensored Account. Roli Books. p. 315. ISBN 9789351940500.
  • M. G. Devasahayam (2012). JP in Jail: JP Movement, Emergency, and India's Second Freedom. Vitasta Pub. p. 264. ISBN 9789380828619.
  • M. G. Devasahayam (2016). Drop of love memoir of saint teresa. Alaihal Media Books. p. 137. ISBN 9384305200.

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