Shri Chimanlal Ujamshibhai Shah is among the foremost of independent India’s philanthropists, educationists and visionaries, a man who is credited with the founding of a large number of educational, healthcare institutions, charitable trusts serving the needy across Gujarat, Mumbai and Chennai. A man who not only helped in the creation of these institutions but also took active interest in their operation and growth. He is referred to with reverence as the ‘Founding Father’ by the Sankara Nethralaya family as an acknowledgement to the faith he imposed on a young Dr SS.Badrinath and contributed a large sum of money which became the ‘Seed Capital’ for the initiative which would bring back th light of vision and smile to millions, a seed which would become a large banyan tree of relief and pain alleviation. The Sankara Nethralaya family joined thousands all over India in paying their homage and expressing their gratitude to the great man to whom they owed their inception. The presence of his Mrs Minal Shah his daughter and torch bearer of his noble deeds who was keeping his legacy alive made the event momentous, the invocation compose by her describing him as a ‘Karmayogi’ and ‘Paropakari’ summed up his personality and the admiration of a beloved daughter and set the tone for the day’s proceedings. Recalling the man who quietly joined a queue of members from the general public to make his donation in response to an appeal made by the then Chief Minister Dr MG Ramachandran, Dr TS Surendran,Vice Chairman Sankara Nethralaya and a man associated with it almost since inception described him as an epitome of Gujarati hospitality and charity and the seed he sowed having grown into a large banyan tree. Speaking on the occasion Dr Girish Rao described him as a ‘Karmayogi’ who made a difference to the world he lived through his massive funding of healthcare and educational institutions a man who lived life in his own terms, eminent educationist and advocate Lion Haridas described him as a man who went about his charity with humility and silence.
Real time tribute came in the form of a large number of students receiving their Fellowship in their chosen areas of specialization, a fulfillment of his dream. A highly moved Minal Shah expressed her joy at her father being referred to as ‘Founding Father’ describing her father as a strong willed, benevolent, sincere intellectual who had the highest faith and confidence in Dr SS.Badrinath and his dream of eradicating blindness, which resulted in the divine alliance, the illustrious daughter of an illustrious father emphasized to the graduating Fellows that they were torchbearers of this rich legacy of selfless service which thy should imbibe and uphold.
The day also witnessed the presenting of the Ram Dhingra Educational scholarships to children of deserving employees.