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An IAS officer and a Classical Dancer Par Excellence

Balancing bureaucratic work with `bharatnatyam’ requires a different level of rhythmic control. And Kavitha Ramu is a master in it.
Indian Masterminds Stories

Noted IAS officer-cum-bharatnatyam dancer Kavita Ramu is a rarity among Indian civil servants. Her life journey is as fascinating as the 600-plus stage performances she has given over the years.

Kavitha Ramu was just four years old when her mother, who was a professor, took her to Guru Neela Krishnamurthy. In her guidance she started to learn the basics of Bharathanatyam. Slowly she started enjoying it. She used to practice daily, and soon dancing become her passion, along with the studies. Each and every performance earned her great praises and accolades. She was happy and content but then she also had to do more. 

Currently, Ms. Ramu is the Director of Integrated Child Development Scheme. 

She was influenced by her father’s work as well. 

Kavithat’s father was an IAS officer and inspired her to become one. As such, the young girl has to work doubly:  to pursue a career in civil services while continuing her passion for dancing. It was a difficult at start, but she did not halt. All she had within her was this determination to serve the country through civil services and immense love for the classical dance.

 Kavitha Ramu not only managed to crack UPSC but also earned fame in the field of classical dance. 

One can only imagine how she pulled of both career and passion with same level of success. In an interview, she once said that serving in administration makes her life’s purpose complete while dancing for hours helps her to crave for that purpose. Not only this, the daily dance practice works as a stress buster for her. 

The journey of becoming an acclaimed Bharathanatyam artist 

Kavitha Ramu was born in Madurai. At the age of four, she started her training for Bharatnatyam under Guru Neela. In just one year she became adept in most of the ‘Bhav and Bhangimas’ of this classical dance. She was eight years old when she got an opportunity to dance at the Fifth World Tamil Conference, held in Chidambaram. She considers this performance of 1981 as one of her finest in front of a live audience. She still cherishes that experience, gets goosebumps thinking about it.

Ms. Ramu creating a Bhangima during the performance

Later on, in Chennai, Kavitha came in touch with famous dance Guru KJ Sarasa. She learned many techniques of dancing under him for around fifteen years. He also taught her the Vazhuvoor style of Bharathanatyam. Simultaneously, she was performing in the festivals in school, college and programs held by cultural club. Meanwhile, she also learnt Nattuvangam from the famous Guru Indira Rajan. Nattuvangam is a separate style in Bharathnatyam, which deals with the rhythmic sound play of cymbals. 

Ms. Ramu in a photoshoot

Kavitha has been giving stage performances for the last 30 years. She has held over 600 solo performances. She also played the lead role of Annamaya, in the Bharathanatyam recital choreographed by Dr. M Balamurali Krishna. For this performance, she had to travel abroad while she was preparing for civil services. She also got critical acclaim for the work she did in that recital. Ms. Ramu is also an `A grade’ artist for Doordarshan, and has been part of many programs broadcasted by the national channel. She also co-ordinated the cultural events for the opening and closing ceremonies during the South Asian Games, held in Chennai in the 1995. 

The Administration 

Ms. Ramu after giving her vote

While growing up, Kavitha saw her father’s work and was inspired by how bureaucrats function. She also decided to pursue of civil services and chose Economic for the graduation. While continuing her Masters in Public Administration, she started preparing for the UPSC,  She became college topper in her post-graduation. First, she cracked the Tamil Nadu public services. Then in 2002, she repeated the feat by clearing the UPSC. In an interview with media, she once pointed out that she wanted IFS in the beginning but chose IAS because she neither wanted to leave the country nor wanted to give up the dance.

During her long tenure, Kavitha Ramu has been posted as the Assistant Commissioner of Chennai’s Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Department, Revenue Divisional Officer in Vellore, and the Joint Commissioner for Relief and Rehabilitation in the Tamil Nadu Road Sector Project (TNRSP). She also served as the General Manager for the Tamil Nadu State Tourism Development Corporation and Director of museums. Currently, she is the Director of Integrated Child Development Scheme. 

We hope that she continue to follow her passion and profession and inspire us all.


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