It was a moment to cherish for every member of the Sankara Nethralaya family gathered at the packed Sri VD Swami Auditorium, at its main campus, the occasion was the felicitation of two of its stalwarts and most adored personalities, men who had carved a niche for themselves by their command, expertise and contribution to their fields as much as through their personal traits of being down to earth, highly accessible individuals with the highest degree of dedication to their institution they served and great love and regard to their fellow employees at every level.
It was the evening of Maha Shiva Rathri and star compeer of the evening Dr Rizwana, Assistant Professor at the Elite School of Optometry began the proceedings with her inimitable touch, drawing a parallel between the stalwarts who had helped in spreading the light of knowledge in academics and eye care through their service to humanity, being felicitated on the day, to the Cosmic dance of Lord Shiva that leads to Light and Realization of the Soul. Dr Anuradha Narayanan, Assistant Professor Elite School of Optometry and Chief Coordinator of Children eye screening camps introduced Dr P.P Santanam the first Principal of the Elite School of Optometry being felicitated on the occasion, for being honoured with the highly prestigious ‘Dr CK Ramachandar Lifetime Achievement Award’ by the Indian Association of Occupational Health (IAOH), as the ‘Father of Occupational Optometry’ whose contributions to the field of occupational health, occupational optometry and the ESO cannot be measured and a man who has a strong moral, emotional and intellectual bonding with the institution with which he has been associated.
Dr Meenakshi Swaminathan, Senior Consultant, Pediatric Ophthalmology dept introduced the ‘Lions International’s Lifetime Achievement Award’ winner Dr TS.Surendran, Director-Pediatric Ophthalmology and Vice Chairman, Sankara Nethralaya in his several avatars, as a pioneer in Pediatric Ophthalmology, a highly skilled surgeon with a record number of squint correction surgeries to his credit, the public face of the institution, the genial personality who leveraged his contacts and affability to raise huge contributions to his institution. Dr Meenakshi Swaminathan highlighted that the citation of the award describing the awardee as ‘a man of high caliber, a man with a mission and a crusader against avoidable blindness, a Susruta of Strabismus, a man of great leadership qualities who has served society and a man who has exhibited unflinching loyalty to his institution and commended the recipient’s decades of service to pediatric ophthalmology, well summed up the persona of Dr Thandalam Surendran.
Making a brief acceptance address Dr PP Santanam thanked Sankara Nethralaya and its Founder Dr SS Badrinath whom he described as the Bhishma and Pithamahan of tertiary eye care for providing him the opportunity, platform and encouragement to develop ‘Occupational Optometry’ which had its genes from Optometry and Occupational health. Dr TS Surendran dedicated the award to his family and the SN family.
This was followed by the felicitation of SN Consultants and Optometrists whose research papers had won prestigious awards at various topical meets, while the fields and topics chosen by them, nature of their research work and its findings were impactful and diverse, the common thread that bonded all the winners was their uniform assertion that it was the opportunity provided by Sankara Nethralaya and encouragement of Dr SS.Badrinath that made their achievement a reality, it was the ultimate reiteration of the institution’s commitment to knowledge dissemination and deployment for the common good, as enshrined in its founding principles.