The 12th edition of the ‘Dr. Nagamani Dharmapuri Endowment Lecture’ dedicated to high level discourse on paediatric ophthalmology and facilitate a vibrant exchange of the latest developments in the field, was observed with great intellectual fervor at the Sri V.D. Swami Auditorium, Sankara Nethralaya main campus on the 14th of February 2015. The presence of such stalwarts of the medical profession like the guest speaker of the day Professor Gerald Shultz, Associate Professor, Loma Linda School of Medicine, California, special invitee Dr. Namitha K. Bhuvaneswari, Director and Superintendent, Regional Institute of Ophthalmology and Government Ophthalmic Hospital,Chennai, Dr. Mohan Rajan, Chairman & Medical Director ‘Rajan Eye Care Hospital’ underlined the significance of the event.
Delivering the welcome address Dr. Sumitha Agarkar, Deputy Director, Department of Paediatric Ophthalmology, Sankara Nethralaya observed that the most generous gesture and thoughtful of sharing the latest findings in the field of paediatric ophthalmology by establishing an endowment in his wife Dr. Nagamani Dharmapuri’s name underlined the noble couple’s commitment to their homeland and was a true example of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s call for the free exchange of knowledge. She recalled that great stalwarts have addressed the audience year after year on this momentous day and gave an account of the impressive work done in paediatric ophthalmology by Sankara Nethralaya.
Dr S.Meenakshi, Senior Consultant, Peadiatric Ophthalmology and Director Academics, Sankara Nethralaya introduced the esteemed the guest speaker of the day, Professor Gerald Shultz as a world renowned ophthalmic geneticist with special interest in anterior segment, she gave an interesting account of his professional affiliations, books authored and lectures delivered at the most prestigious ophthalmic centers in the world. This was followed by a ceremonial honouring of the dignitaries by the Chairman Emeritus and Vice-Chairman of Sankara Nethralaya. Giving a brief note on Dr.Mohan Rajan guest of honour of the day Dr T.S.Surendran observed that he did not want to give a formal intro of a person who was so familiar to the Sankara Nethralaya family, he thanked him for the great assistance to Sankara Nethralaya by mobilizing substantial funds and introducing organizations like Cognizant Technologies. In his characteristic style and in keeping with the cricket mania that had gripped the city he gave interesting tidbits on how Dr. Mohan Rajan was an all rounder in the game of cricket and cricketing idols like Mathew Hayden and Sachin Tendulkar were his patients. Dr. T.S.Surendran completed his talk with his observation that the Madras Ophthalmic Association and Sankara Nethralaya were the left and right eye of Dr. Mohan Rajan.
Delivering the guest of honor address, Dr. Mohan Rajan paid rich tributes to his Alma Mater, Sankara Nethralaya, its illustrious founder and Chairman Emeritus and his Guru Dr. SS.Badrinath. he fervently appealed to the Fellows and students assembled to make the best use of the world class amenities and teaching available at Sankara Nethralaya, he cited his wife Dr. Sujatha Mohan and himself as great beneficiaries of the same, he complimented Sankara Nethralaya as the only ophthalmic center in the world which had reached excellence in clinical care, research and education, adding that ophthalmic history in the country will be chronicled as ‘before Dr. Badrinath’ and ‘after Dr. Badrinath’ the man who made it a reality. He had a high word of praise for Dr. TS.Surendran’s dedication and single handed perseverance which had raised the paediatric department at Sankara Nethralaya to glorious heights.
The illustrious guest speaker of the day started his oration on ‘Genetic and acquired paediatric disorders’ on a lighter note with fond recollections of a tall and handsome Dr. SS.Badrinath whom he recalled sitting with his vitreo-retinal colleagues in the front benches and listening intently to the lectures, he added that while Dr SS.Badrinath moved to the renowned Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, he moved to military service which is mandatory for US citizens. Dr Shultz declared that young Dr SS.Badrinath had a dream and a passion adding that ‘We are here today because of its fulfillment’. What followed was a most interesting and informative talk on the role of genes, chromosomes, inherited/acquired ophthalmic disorders, genetics of hereditary cataract, importance of prenatal screening, genomic infections and corneal opacities. impact of sexually transmitted diseases in uveitis, embellished with real time case studies. The learned professor had a high word of appreciation for the work done in the role of sexually transmitted diseases in causing uveitis by Dr. Jyotirmay Biswas, Director Uveitis and Opthalmic Pathology department, Sankara Nethralaya.
The highly charged and momentous day came to an end with a vote of thanks by Dr. Srikanth observing that the Sankara Nethralaya family was both humbled and inspired by the in-depth oration.