The brilliantly lit spacious hall at the Vivanta Taj – Connemara, filled to capacity with enthusiastic audience, including members of the Madras Book Club and Sankara Nethralaya on the cool evening of Monday, the 4th Feb 2013, for a vibrant Book reading session of Sankara Nethralaya’s “In-Sight”- A Passion for Compassion’, shattered the myth that reading is slowly becoming a fading habit. The presence of eminent personalities Shri.Kalyanam, Former secretary to the Mahatma, Shri G.Sundaram, IAS, Shri Chandrasekhar a senior executive from L&T and Shri. Muthiah, Member, Madras Book Club, historian and newspaper columnist, underlined the diverse attention and interest that ‘Insight’ the subject matter of the day has drawn.
Shri Muthiah who has held readers spell bound with his interesting account of historic landscapes, heritage structures and his inimitable narration of contemporary history welcomed the gathering for a fascinating ‘Book Reading’ session.
Smt.Akila Ganesan, Senior General Manager, Sankara Nethralaya, the compeer of the program welcomed and introduced the Chief Guest Smt.Uma Balasubramanian as a noted writer, and daughter of an illustrious father ‘Vageesa Kalanidhi’ Ki.Va.Jagannathan, a well known Tamil Laureate and editor of the Tamil magazine ‘Kalaimagal’. An Economics graduate from Stella Maris College, Smt.Uma Balasubramanian had the privileged tutelage under the well known guru Shri.A G.Raghavan to sing and propagate Arunagirinathar’s Thirupugazh; she is also a recipient of the ‘Life Time Achievement’ award for the same by the Avvai Tamil Sangam at Noida for her literary work ‘Tamizh Saarndha Irai Pani’. She introduced Sri.P.C Ramakrishna as having been the ‘Voice’ of Sankara Nethralaya from the 80s, a graduate from Loyola College, a Mridangist, and a product of IIM Ahmedabad and a veteran theatre artist who rendered voice support for innumerable documentaries and ads and an erstwhile member of the Madras Players of the good old English Theatres and directed their first play in 1969 and had and extensive career both with the All India Radio and Doordarshan and was its premier and celebrated English news reader.
Speaking on the occasion Smt Uma Balasubramanian observed that their family had an association with Sankara Nethralaya as also the Sage of Kanchi, who with a pun addressed her father, the then editor of the popular Tamil weekly ‘Kalaimagal’ as ‘Kalaimagalukke Aasiriyar’ which meant ‘a tutor to the goddess of learning’ she recalled his relentless efforts for the cause of Tamil. This, she said, greatly influenced her reading habit and she was happy to be part of the peer group of the Madras Book club. Smt.Uma stressed the importance of the reading habit adding that it was interesting to note that the purpose of ‘In-Sight’ which was to generate funds for indigent eye care was so similar to the purpose of the institution it had attempted to portray.
Shri.P.C.Ramakrishna remarked that he was associated peripherally with Sankara Nethralaya and expressed his thanks for the wonderful opportunity of being involved with the Book Reading of ‘In-Sight ’it’s moving biography. He presented the meticulously compiled excerpts of ‘In-Sight’ delivering it in his inimitable baritone observing that Sankara Nethralaya which was born blessed by the Paramacharyas of the Kanchi Mutt stands unique in its Philosophy, adding that its position yesterday, where it is now and where it would be in future are distinctly recorded in the book. He concluded his address with a note that Sankara Nethralaya today has challenges to retain its individuality, to focus on broader research objectives and deliver more.
The Book reading session concluded with an interesting question and answer session with Dr.SS.Badrinath and a warm vote of thanks by Sri.Sriram, Member, Madras Book Club.
The highlight of the program was the sale of copies of ‘Insight’ autographed by Dr.SS Badrinath which the audience rushed to purchase and treasure for themselves.