CHENNAI: Dr. K. Rajaratnam PhD, DTh, DD, DLitt, economics teacher and a leader of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in India, passed away here on Wednesday. He was 89 and is survived by a son and three daughters.

Born and raised in Tirupati, Professor Rajaratnam obtained his doctorate in economics from the London School of Economics after completing his college education at the Madras Christian College, Chennai. He taught at various colleges, including the Andhra Christian College, Guntur, the Madras Christian College, Chennai, and at the University of Madras.

He was president of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and chairman of the Commission of Dalits and Adivasis' Concern of the NCCI. He introduced new departments such as the Division of Social Action, New Gurukul Theological College and Research Institute, and the National Lutheran Health Medical Board, which led to the establishment of the Martin Luther Christian University, Shillong, of which his son Dr. K. M. Shyamprasad is now the Chancellor.

Professor Rajaratnam established the Centre for Research on New International Economic Order (CReNIO) recognized by the UGC, Madras University and Bharatidasan University for Ph.D. and M.Phil. studies, and he was active during his stint at the University of Madras in various capacities.

He was involved with various NGOs especially working on Dalits and rural issues in Orissa and Tamil Nadu. Mr. Shyamprasad said he was active in education and social causes and had stepped down as the Master of Serampore College last month.

He was director of CReNIO at the time of his death. Dr. Mor Coorilos Geevarghese of Niranam, UK and Trivandrum Dioceses expressed grief on the sad demise of Dr. Rajaratnam.

Dr. Pucadiyil Ittoop John conferred Padma Shri by Her Excellency, the President

NEW DELHI: The proud son of Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, Prof. Dr. Pucadiyil Ittoop John was conferred Padma Shri by Her Excellency, the President, Dr. Pathibha Singh Patil at Rashtrapathi Bhavan on April 08, Thursday. Dr. John is a member of St. Ignatius JSO Simhasana Cathedral, Kottayam and presently attending St. Mary's JSO Church, Ahmedabad. Padma Shri Dr. P I John is the great grand son of Pucadiyil Ittoop Writer, the great historian of Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church.

Source: Press Trust of India (PTI)