Everyday Hero – C.H. Balamohan

C.H. Balamohan

C.H. Balamohan

On 30 September 2008, C.H. Balamohan retired as an Assistant in the Education Department of the Government of Puducherry (GOP). After 40 years in government service, Balamohan should have been an officer – a Director or at least a Deputy Director of the department.  However, his promotions were suppressed by the GOP because of Balamohan’s work on behalf of the government employees – he only had 2 promotions in 40 years.

Balamohan is a quiet, unprepossessing person.  He suffers from diabetes, at times bed-ridden and unable to walk.  He wears khadi and carries a cloth sachel.  He gets around town on a scooter. Yet when he sees any kind of injustice, he becomes a changed man.  Put a bullhorn in front of him and he can inspire and rally thousands of people.

In 1979, Balamohan began his fight for the rights of the government employees, forming and acting as President of the Ministerial Staff Association (he was part of the Ministerial cadre in the Education Department).  From there, he went on to help form other government employee associations in the Education Department, Health Department, etc.  At his retirement, he was Honorary President of the Confederation of Pondicherry State Government Employees’ Association, consisting of 100 employee associations.

From 1991, Balamohan began to tackle other issues, such as rising prices of basic commodities and water delivery problems.  Ten years ago, he turned to the environment.  In October 2005, Balamohan filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the High Court in Madras (Chennai) against the various departments of the GOP, Subash Projects and Marketing Limited, Om Metals Limited, and relevant Ministries of the Union of India for the illegal and corrupt procedures in selecting a developer for a new port in Pondicherry.  The case is now set to be heard in the Supreme Court in New Delhi on 4 November 2008.

In an effort to intimidate Balamohan and force him to withdraw the PIL, the GOP “charge-sheeted” Balamohan a month before his retirement, in effect, taking away his retirement benefits.  Balamohan was unmoved:  “My wife earns a salary and I live very simply.”  On 25 September 4,000 people protested on his behalf and on his retirement day (also his birthday), over 600 government employees took mass “casual leave” and courted arrest until Balamohan’s retirement benefits were restored.  At 5pm on the 30th, the goverment capitulated.


4 Responses to “Everyday Hero – C.H. Balamohan”

  1. 1 smita December 3, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Imagine if he were the rule and not the exception in Indian government. India – and the world – would be a completely different place.

    But what an incredibly encouraging thing that for once the little guy prevailed! And Indians got a small taste of what democracy should be.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful story!

  2. 2 C.P.HAREENDRAN January 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    really a very good article about comrade Balamohanan a hero of Puducherry

    F.S.A MAHE

  3. 3 Mohammed Shabeer April 1, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Dear Mr. Balamohan,

    I am proud of you. Mahe is now a place of slaves. I hoped if you were in Mahe, I would have got a company to fight.

    Let victory be yours. You will become a member of the ruling party when this election is over.

    Shabeer Vakeel

  4. 4 raja May 6, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Realy a great man,
    My wishes to win the election and work for the people more..


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