It was a day of celebrating the spirit and joy of giving, a day of acknowledging, thanking and honouring the noble men and women who have a place in their heart for Sankara Nethralaya and the cause of banishing blindness and providing compassionate eye care and those who have contributed and supported the cause and growth of their passion most generously. The overflowing gathering on the evening of 4th August 2012 at the Sri V.D Swami Auditorium reflected one thing that Sankara Nethralaya has in abundance – Friends and Well-wishers.
The celebration of the spirit of friendship started with a spirited invocation to the Lord of prosperity and abundance Lord Gajanan Ganesan by a bubbly young singer bearing his name Master Raja Ganapathy. Dr. Smitha Praveen extended a warm and hearty welcome to the Chief Guest Padmashri Dr. Nalli Kuppuswami Chetty, dignitaries, recipients of the ‘Friend of Sankara Nethralaya’ award and all the friends and well-wishers assembled in good numbers. She got the proceedings started with an interesting note on ‘what qualities should one possess to be a friend of Sankara Nethralaya? She cited creating social capital, triggering the virtuous cycle and abiding by the principle of paropakaram, idham, sariram as essential traits of a true ‘Friend of Sankara Nethralaya’. This was followed by an introduction of the Chief guest Dr Nalli Kuppuswami Chetty by Dr. S.Bhaskaran, Chairman, Sankara Nethralaya who recalled his old association and support of Sankara Nethralaya and gave an interesting account of his versatile personality after which he was honored by Dr SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya.
Dr. Rashmin Anil Kumar Gandhi, Director e-learning and the Sankara Nethralaya Academy made a highly absorbing presentation of Sankara Nethralaya from the days of its inception, touching on its governing principles, watershed achievements and most importantly its friends and supporters. Speaking next Dr SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus expressed that he was highly moved by the overwhelming response and thanked everyone in the gathering profusely, he had a high word of praise for the OM Trust and Shri KG. Venkatraman its joint secretary who had come all the way from the US for their role in mobilizing significant funds for Sankara Nethralaya. He reiterated that Sankara Nethralaya is a public institution and did not belong to any individual. He explained that the institution was served by dedicated, full time doctors who worked for a fixed salary, an example which is very hard to come across. He explained the Sankara Nethralaya model where money accrued through patient care supported research and education and community ophthalmology impressed the Late Nani Palkhivala to such an extent that he bequeathed his life savings to its cause. Dr SS.Badrinath explained that the Vision Research Foundation is engaged in dedicated India centric research. This was followed by an introduction of a long time well wisher and donor of Sankara Nethralaya Shri JV. Ramani from Hong Kong by Dr TS.Surendran, Vice Chairman, Sankara Nethralaya and honouring of him by Dr SS.Badrinath.
The day also witnessed the introduction of one of Sankara Nethralaya’s most dedicated friends and supporter and constant companion, Lion Harinarayanan by Lion GV.Raman and honouring of him by Dr SS.Badrinath and the honouring of Dr Dave from the eye bank
The pleasant surprise of the evening was the recognition and honouring of employees who had given a sterling performance through the distribution of cash awards to them. It was time for the music program and Shri KG.Venkatraman, Joint Secretary, OM Trust who had organized the concert introduced each of the performers of ‘Sankara’ the ultimate musical ensemble to the audience. Shri Venkatraman made a fervent appeal to everyone assembled in the auditorium to become a friend of Sankara Nethralaya.
Delivering the Chief Guest’s address Padmashri Dr.Nalli Kuppuswami Chettty recalled that the spirit of service and sacrifice were evident in Dr SS.Badrinath right from the days he knew him as a mate in the Ramakrishna Mutt School and it was this quality that made many like him support his cause and his dream which is Sankara Nethralaya. Dr Kuppuswami Chetty observed that Dr SS.Badrinath had walked the golden path when he was young; adding in lighter vein that the path he took from his home to his school is quite literally the golden path today with a mushrooming of Jewelry shops.
This was followed by the event of the day, the awarding of the ‘Friends of Sankara Nethralaya’ by the Chief guest to a thunderous applause from the audience, the awarding ceremony was followed by an enthralling ,music concert by ‘Sankara’ and dinner at the roof top