Shirkheel Govinda Rao
The term Sirkheel in Marathi means a “Minister”. Govinda Rao was the adviser to the Ranees as well as the other relatives of Sivaji, the last of the Tanjore kings, and hence he had that appellation. He was a sort of liaison officer between the British Government and the Tanjore Principality. He was in sole charge of the establishment in the various departments of the Palace. He had to pay the pensions etc. to the Ranees which they got from the Government. There was a Palace Treasury and a regular staff of officers working under him.
As Palace controller and assistant to the Collector who was the Political agent of Tanjore, Sirkheel Govinda Rao wielded an extraordinary influence. It therefore speaks volumes about his scrupulous honesty and sterling character that he discharged his high and responsible duties to the satisfaction of all concerned. He was a living example of the maxim, that ‘Character is the crown and glory of life’.
Hailing from one of the noblest families of South India, he never cared for wealth; and so he retired in his 53rd year and led a peaceful life. He passed away in 1908, soon after he had entered his sixty-first year.
His eldest son, Mr. G. Krishna Rao (the Zamindar of Maileripalayam and Member of the Madras Legislative Assembly) is a fine Marathi scholar and keeps alive the best traditions of the family. It is a matter of sincere pleasure for us to note that he is not only a Life Member but also a Director of the M.E. Fund.