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His rich bequeath for education, senior citizens… V Swaminathan

Karthik studied at Srividyasram in rural Vadakurangaduthurai. Pursued a diploma in medical equipment services in Chennai. Works as a service mechanic in Mumbai. Karthik’s father works as a sweeper at Srividyasram. With understandable pride and tears welling his eyes the latter referred to his son flying from Mumbai to pay his last respects to V Swaminathan. Not only Karthik; teachers and several students of the school pursuing higher education bade a tearful farewell to their benefactor.

VS belonged to the IA&AS. In the 1980s he was deputed to Madras Refineries (now Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd) as finance director.
VS teamed with V R Deenadayalu, then CMD and helped expand MRL’s operations. Special mention must be made of MRL setting up the joint sector project, Indian Additives Limited (IAL), in collaboration with Chevron. Impressed by the sharp financial acumen of VS, Chevron continued to avail his services as a Director of IAL long after he retired from the services of MRL.

VS’ interests were vast and these included journalism. After retirement, he joined IE as Associate Editor and induced his two other service colleagues, N Sundararajan, former Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General and S S Gopalan, both belonged to the IA&AS, to join IE. In the decade of the 1990s when IE celebrated its Silver Jubilee, presented the annual IE Business Excellence Awards for southern corporates and graduated to a public incorporate company, VS’ association was invaluable.

Taking care of the old, the destitute …

VS liberally bequeathed his wealth for social amelioration. Two of his monumental contributions require mention: the first is the old age home, Sri Poorna Mahameru Trust at Pallavaram for senior citizens. The inspiration for setting up the oldage home came from the Parama-charya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. The Acharya desired that the conditions of increasing numbers of senior citizens who had nowhere to go in their oldage and were dying as destitutes, needed attention. With 3600 sq ft of land donated by R Ananthanarayanan, along with S Seshadri, another colleague from IA&AS, this old age home was built brick by brick in 1996. It takes care of 40 senior citizens meeting their needs of accommodation, food, clothing, medical attention as also the cremation expenses of the deceased.

The rural school with urban facilities…

An even larger bequeath of VS is the Srividyasram Matriculation School. When I met VS a few weeks ago, he was beaming with satisfaction over the 100 per cent pass of the successive batches of Class X students of the school, many with distinction. Today, there are around 600 students coming from around 25 nearby villages. VS referred to healthy lunch provided free of cost to all children. His indefatigable efforts to tap the resources of friends in India and the US have helped create sophisticated urban facilities in rural Vadakurangaduthurai. These include well-equipped labs for physics, botany, chemistry, computer science, zoology… P R Umamaheswaran, closely involved in administering the school, referred to several of the students from the school pursuing higher education in reputed engineering colleges and also employed in lucrative jobs. Just think of it: offering high-quality education in the English medium for children of rural households!

VS mobilised the resources needed for these welfare activities by inducing many of his friends, especially from the IA & AS and the US, to contribute.
Deeply religious, VS was also well-versed with the essence of the Hindu religion.

IE applauds the rich contributions of VS for some 25 years even after retirement from service.

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