Adieu Chauhanji…


Umesh Kumar Singh Chauhan (UKS Chauhan for short, and Chauhanji for friends and close associates) assumed the Office of the Director, Department of Tourism, Kerala in April 1997 at a crucial juncture when the Directorate was turning itself into an industry and revenue oriented platform, leaving behind its role as the Guest Relations division of the State Government. It also coincided with the birth of Destination Kerala, the first such media initiative in English in this part of the world. In fact we had the proud privilege to announce on page 1 of our maiden issue, Chauhanji’s arrival in the Capital city from the post of District Collector, Kozhikode.

He took an instant liking for this magazine and said as much: something we have all been dreaming about so our message may transcend the geographical barriers of nations. A journal in the global language for us to reach out without the constraints of the official media.

“As District Collector, I could order around, and an army of subordinates would march to my tune. As Director-Tourism, I am at the receiving end, and need the help and co-operation of everyone. I have to be at their service”, he announced at the very outset.

And Chauhanji lived up to this principle. Being a renowned writer and poet in Hindi and Urdu, he learned Malayalam pretty fast and became proficient enough to translate his works into our language and the gems in Kerala poetry into Hindi with ease.

He led the Kerala team that included Destination Kerala, to WTM-London ’98 and ATM-Dubai ’98, introducing this journal to the organizers and officials as ‘the mirror that reflects the kaleidoscopic charm of our God’s Own Country.’

It was the poet and writer, and therefore, the humanist, in him that made all the difference in the successful handling of the Directorate of Tourism making it inclusive and participative like never before.

Adieu Chauhanji…you will be missed.