A Gold Medalist Post-graduate in Chemistry from Delhi University(1965), Shri N. Gopalaswami, (born 1944) hailing from Needamangalam village in Tamilnadu, did his schooling in Mannargudi and graduation from St.Joseph’s College ,Tiruchirappalli. He joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1966 and for the next twenty-five years served in the State of Gujarat in various capacities.
He was with the Govt.of India from Aug.1992 till Feb.2004 during which period he served in different assignments notably as Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and as Union Home Secretary(2002-2004) before his appointment as Election Commissioner. He was Chief Election Commissioner from June 30, 2006 till his retirement on April 20, 2009.
As Election Commissioner and later as Chief Election Commissioner he oversaw the conduct of elections to many State Assemblies which were appreciated for being violence-free and intimidation-free clean elections where election laws were implemented without fear or favour.
He was appointed in October 2014 as Chairman of the Governing Board of Kalakshetra Foundation, Chennai an institution of national importance engaged in the preservation and propagation of Art.
In October 2015 he has been appointed as Chancellor of a premier Samskrit University namely the Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, Tirupathi for a 5 year term.
He is presently a Trustee in Consumer Association of India, a Non-Government Organization based in Chennai that works on Consumer protection issues. He is Chairperson of the Catalyst Trust that works on specific socially relevant projects.
He is President of Vivekananda Educational Society which runs 22 schools in and around Chennai. He is a Vice President of The Samskrit Promotion Foundation, New Delhi working for the propagation of Samskrit.
He was instrumental in moving the UNESCO to confer the World Heritage status to 2 Chola period Temples in Tamil Nadu, Darasuram and Gangaikonda Cholapuram, and Champaner Fort Complex in Gujarat. It was his initiative that led to the incorporation of Vedic Chanting as an Oral Heritage of the World by the UNESCO.
In a career spanning 43 years in Public Service, he earned a reputation for uprightness, hardwork with a people friendly disposition. He was conferred the Padma Bhushan award in January 2015 for distinguished Public Service.