The Sankara Nethralaya family observed the 17th Sri V.Venugopal Endowment lecture, created with great reverence to one of its prime architects, at the Sri VD.Swami Auditorium on 13th December 2013. The day’s proceedings started with an invocation song by Srimathi Subiksha Rangarajan and ceremonial lighting of the Kuthuvilakku by the members of the Shri V.Mohan Rao family. Welcoming the gathering and the distinguished Chief Guest of the day, Dr Rajiv Raman, Senior Consultant, Vitroretinal department traced the deep association of the V.Venugopal Family with Sankara Nethralaya, which grew in strength and flourished with his illustrious son Shri V.Mohan Rao taking the mantle as the Chairman of the Medical Research Foundation and his son Shri V.Govind a strong supporter of Sankara Nethralaya continuing the glorious tradition. Dr Shika Talwar Bhassi, Deputy Director, Neuro-ophthalmology Department, paid rich tributes to Shri V.Venugopal describing him as a most respected business leader of his time and a man with a warm heart; she recalled his long association with Dr SS.Badrinath and his substantial aid to Sankara Nethralaya in its early days of inception.
Speaking on the occasion Dr SS.Badrinath gratefully acknowledged the support extended by late Shri V.Venugopal to the inception of Sankara Nethralaya, he recalled his close association with Shri V. Venugopal and reminisced how the V. Venugopal Block named in his honour was inaugurated by none other than King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain. Showering rich praise on the Chief guest of the day Dr. Zarir Farokh Udhwadia, Consultant Chest Physician at the Hinduja Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital and Parsee General Hospitals, for his rare professional achievements like receiving the Padma Bhushan, being among the 12 recipients of the highly prestigious doctorate from the American College of Chest Physicians and authoring some great works on medical practice, Dr SS.Badrinath highlighted the warm personality of the great doctor by narrating how he came all the way to the Kanchi Mutt to examine the Mahaswamy and how he did so clad just in a dhoti in deference to the custom of the Mutt, the 3 visits he made to examine Shri.V.Mohan Rao, his role in acting as a bridge between the late Shri Nani Palkhivala the eminent jurist and India’s Ambassador to the USA who donated a large part of his personal wealth to Sankara Nethralaya and more recently his role in getting a powerful Pro bono appeal for ‘Insight’ Sankara Nethralaya’s biography from legendary actor Shri Amitabh Bachchan.
Delivering a most in-depth Presidential address on the topic ‘The forgotten art of healing’ Chief Guest Dr.Farokh Udhwadia took the audience on an interesting trip from ancient medical practitioners Hippocrates to Susruta and modern medicine. The learned doctor shared his apprehension on how medicine and medical treatment are being increasingly viewed as something to do with machines and reports they generate and how the patient’s own sentiments and feelings were being put on the back seat. He rued on the decline of the warmth extended by the physicians of yesteryears giving way to a rather robotic and routine approach to treatment and how today’s doctors rely more on machines and how the human body has been compartmentalized, he emphasized the need to learn medicine from the bedside and not from the gadgets and how each patient was a distinct entity.
Dr Udhwadia’s emphasis on the critical need for in-depth investigation in terms of listening with the five senses and attaching primary importance to the patient reflected Dr SS.Badrinath’s strong emphasis on the importance of comprehensive examination and Sankara Nethralaya’s founding principle of eye care with a personal touch. Dr. Udhwadia shared his opinion that Molecular Biology and Genetics would play a major role in Medicine in the years to come. The humanitarian doctor made an on the spot surprise announcement that he would dedicate a good portion of his earnings to Sankara Nethralaya and appealed to all assembled on the occasion to spread the good word on its services and create awareness on its philosophy.
The most interesting and absorbing day came to an end with a warm Vote of Thanks by Shri V.Govind thanking the Chief guest for his in-depth talk and Dr SS.Badrinath and Sankara Nethralaya for the continued love and high regard shown to his family members.