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D.R. Balaji Rao
T. Ramachandra Rao_edited.jpg

Doveton Balaji Rao was one of the very few Desasthas of South India who were attracted to a business career. His dominant personality was matched by his strength of character which assured for him the high place he eventually occupied in the administration of the India and Indo-Carnatic Banks.

Balaji Rao was born of wealthy parents on the 16th of April 1865. His father, Rama Rao, belonged to a family that had long ago settled in South India. Early in life, Balaji Rao discarded the luxuries attached to his station and took vigorous exercises. He attained proficiency in swimming, riding, and wrestling. His educational career was equally promising. He matriculated from the Christian College and was a favourite pupil of Dr. Miller. From the Presidency Colleg he took his degree with a first class in Philosophy. Two years later he passed his B.L.

While yet in his teens, Balaji Rao lost his father. After this event, he had to face litigation which gave him an insight into legal work. Though for a time he practiced as an Advocate, his great ambition was to become a professor of philosophy. These were years of great struggle for him; but fortunately, he came under the influence of Swami Vivekananda, and was one of those who arranged for his American Tour.

In 1906, the failure of the Arbuthnot Bank came to him as a great shock. He lost heavily but faced the crisis with fortitude. With the help of a few sympathetic friends he secured a position in the Indian Bank Ltd., which was just then started and in course of time became its Chief Accountant. His long association with the Indian Bank under Vidya Sagar Pandya, its Secretary, gave him unique opportunities to learn the intricacies of banking. He was extremely cautious, and his work soon won the appreciation of the Board of Directors. As a result, he became the Secretary of the Bank.

Balaji Rao was a man of varied interests and parts. He had always been a voracious reader. His diligence in study enabled him to attain a mastery over Astrology, Hydropathy, thought-reading and various other arts and sciences. He was simple in his habits and laid great stress on character. His sympathy for the poor was responsible for his connection with the M.E.F. as Life-member and Vice President for several years.

That he agreed to be Secretary of the newly started Indo-Carnatic Bank in his retirement is proof positive of his industry and dislike of a life of inactivity. He had, however, misjudged his strength. His constitution evidently broke down under the strain. He passed away peacefully on 31.05.35.


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