It is a name as prominent as that of the Lok Sabha election candidates in Kerala. Teeka Ram Meena, the Chief Election Officer of Kerala, hit the headlines this poll season for his fiat to political parties and candidates to not seek votes in the name of Sabarimala issue. Malayalis know the official side of this IAS officer but don’t have much idea about him as an individual. He opens up on Manorama News programme 'Nere Chowe' thus, giving a peek into his persona.
Meena hails from a traditional Rajasthani family involved in agriculture.
"I was born to a big farmer family. My ancestral house consists of 25 members. I become a farmer when I go home. I take a swim in the river. We have a cow at home. That’s our lifestyle," he said.
The IAS officer also said a few members of his rustic family are illiterate.
"Out of six children only two of us went to school. Others are illiterate as my father did not have the money to teach all of us. Those were the days when even a rupee was an asset. Hence, education took a back seat. My elder brother is an IPS officer. My father does not even know to sign his name. He gives the thumb impression," the bureaucrat revealed. "My wife stopped studying in Class 5."
Meena also pointed to the austere lifestyle at home. Coming from a poor family, we still eat on floor, he said.
Meena has two sisters and three brothers. "The four sons of my father live like Ram, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughan," the top poll officer said while speaking about his joint family at his native place.
"I was raised as the son of someone who stood strong for the welfare of people in his village. He spoke about equality and justice everywhere. Once a landlord threatened him with a gun pointed at his chest. He did not budge. He used to say we are all humans affected by emotions and fear. All have to die one day, so live like Abhimanyu. Die a warrior. There is only one life,’ Meena remarked.
Those words give me strength in my official life too, he added.
Meena also spoke about his strong official stances and admitted that bogus votes were indeed cast during the recent elections in Kerala. He admitted that singular incidents like these were a part and parcel of the electoral procedure but the fact that the voters were caught red-handed with the help of web-casting is a huge step. Meena said that the impartiality and confidence expressed by polling officials are crucial towards the conducting of elections.
He added that he cooperates with the government with best interests even though there might be occassional sparring while discharging his official duties.