Rajalakshmi Srinivasan (Raji) was born in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu, to Lakshmi Srinivasan and S.R. Srinivasan, and was the granddaughter of K. Santhanam, the freedom fighter. She had her school education in Srirangam, Ooty and Madurai, and college and university education in Karaikudy, Chennai and New York in the field of Economics. She taught in SRC Trichy and Sarada College Salem before joining Ethiraj College in 1973 where she worked in the Department of Economics till her retirement in 2002.
Right from her college days, Raji had shown keen interest in working for the under privileged and disadvantaged sections of the society, either as an individual or as a part of an organization. She combined this wider social concern very well with her own professional pursuits as a Professor of Economics, and as a happy home maker, throughout her working life. Organizing the slum dwellers for better living conditions, mobilizing women for their rights and dignity (she was a founding member of Pennurimai Iyakkam), being in the forefront of teachers’ struggles for their rights and better working conditions, etc. were some of the activities Raji was deeply involved in.
Her lifelong interest and passion to be with children found its perfect and abiding fulfilment when Raji joined the Avvai Home Orphanage and School for Girls (Adyar) as a volunteer in 2002; an association that she continued till the end in 2013. She became a core member of the Avvai Home family to which she contributed in a number of capacities – as a volunteer, as a teacher, as an administrator, as a fund raiser and in all other ways that the institution needed her.
Raji was willing to explore new paths and new solutions and was never a prisoner of the system she was part of. While innately uncomfortable with use of power, she exercised her authority remarkably well without offending anyone. A patient listener, all felt valued and their work worthy in her company.
With her selfless service and genuine interest and concern for others, Raji touched the lives of everyone she came in contact with, without distinctions of class, caste, religion, and gender, and made a positive difference to those lives.