Even in the finicky world of viral content, it is not often that the video of a former judge ploughing a field on a tractor goes viral.
However, two videos of former Madras High Court judge A. Selvam doing this exact bit has gone viral on social media for the last few days, for all the right reasons. In the videos, Justice Selvam is seen dressed in a t-shirt and a pair of shorts, with a towel tied around his head. He is perched up on a tractor and is ploughing his fields, pursuing agriculture like he always wanted to.
According to a report by The News Minute, Mr. Selvam comes from an agricultural family that has been growing crops for around 100 years. Having retired in April this year, he has now gone back to his roots, tilling his five-acre ancestral field in Pulankurichi.
He says that learning the craft himself has been gratifying, and that he now ploughs the land himself, drives the tractor and understands all activities involved in agriculture.
Mr. Selvam enrolled as an advocate in 1981 and rose from the ranks in the district judiciary. He was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Madras High Court in July, 2006, and was made permanent in November, 2009. He shot to fame when, as the administrative judge of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, he initiated a state-wise crack down on the invasive Seemai Karuvelam ( prosopis juliflora ) trees. His action had snowballed into a movement, with funds raised by the High Court through donations and by channelising costs imposed on litigants in different cases.
Much like his post-retirement ventures, his last day at the High Court was also quite off-beat. According to an article by The Hindu, Justice Selvam had refused to accept a formal farewell function and dinner, which is the protocol followed by High Courts to bid goodbye to retiring judges. He had handed over his official car keys to the Registry immediately after reaching the High Court on his last day, and had gone back home in his personal car.
Owing to his integrity and in appreciation of his career spanning 31 years, Chief Justice Indira Banerjee had then broken protocol and had walked down to his chambers in the afternoon to bid goodbye. Several other High Court judges followed suit.
“Tales” of his righteousness were also being told, with one of his personal staff members recalling, “Ayya is known for not having taken even a single cup of coffee at State’s cost. He pays every penny from his pocket. He does not use air-conditioners at home as well as chambers. It is very hard to find a person like him. It was an emotional parting for us as we broke down while bidding goodbye to him,”.
He had then also informed the Registry that he would be vacating his official bungalow the next morning and would be going to his native place Pudukottai district where he had planned to pursue farming. Staying true to his word, he is now a happy farmer, who was quoted as saying, “I am now in a tryst with the law of nature which can hardly be found in any book and I am loving it.”