On July 14, 2009 Dr. T. Janardhana Rao celebrated his 70th birthday. The special occasion was marked by a rather special gesture. As a well-wisher of Sankara Nethralaya, Dr. Rao requested his friends and well-wishers to celebrate the occasion by supporting Sankara Nethralaya. And so, the 200 odd guests who attended the event in Melbourne, Australia, where Dr. Rao resides, showed their love and affection for Dr. Rao by making generous contributions to Sankara Nethralaya; nearly Rs. 5 lakhs was raised for the hospital through this act of kindness.
This is neither the first time that Dr. Rao has contributed to Nethralaya nor is it his first tryst with philanthropic activities. Having resided in Melbourne for over 40 years now, Dr. Rao has diligently worked towards the welfare of the Indian community in Australia. His efforts in this regard led to the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi making him the Honorary Consul and 20 years later he was made Honorary Consul General. His bond with Sankara Nethralaya goes beyond the institute; a classmate of Chairman Emeritus Dr. S.S. Badrinath at the Madras Medical College, Dr. Rao attributes the achievements of the hospital to its dedicated team of doctors and staff led under the able guidance of the “visionary” Dr. Badrinath. “It’s not easy to achieve what Dr. Badrinath and Sankara Nethralaya have in the last 30 years,” he asserts. “The hospital is comparable to any other hospital of world standards,” he says.
Over the years, Dr. Rao has worked tirelessly to raise money “every time funding is required” like during the Kargil war, the Gujarat riots etc. Giving back to the community is something which Dr. Rao has been pursuing passionately over the years.
He attributes his success, both as a surgeon and as a philanthropist, to his wife Ms. Vimala Rao. “She has been of immense support. I could not have achieved all that I have without her.” When a team from Sankara Nethralaya interacted with him for this interview, it happened to be his wife’s birthday. And how did the couple celebrate it? Yet another donation of Rs. 1 lakh was made to Sankara Nethralaya. No doubt, then, behind every successful man is a woman and behind every successful organisation, like Sankara Nethralaya, are magnanimous and selfless people like Dr. Rao.