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SN OM Trust Atlanta chapter raises $ 200k to support 3000 indigent
visually impaired back in India!

A great performance “DrishTi” unraveled with a burst of energy at the ‘Infinite Energy Center’ Atlanta, USA on Sunday September 8th. An entertaining opening by MC Jayakiran Pagadala whose grip over several Indian languages made all regional audiences from India feel settled, set the right note to the grand event. The roll ups related to several programs Sankara Nethralaya has in its radar along with Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s AI revolution and how it is leveraged in detecting diabetic retinopathy were thought provoking. Google is partnering with Sankara Nethralaya hospitals.

Atlanta Trustee Srini Reddy Vangimalla, Vice President Moorthy Rekapalli & President Bala Reddy Indurti addressed the audience before the Bharata Naatyam program and highlighted about Sankara Nethralaya fundraiser events in different cities in USA and service activities in India.

When the dance drama unfolded on the stage, the audience wondered how the very talented guru Padmaja Kelam garu and her team were going to relate it to the cause of Sankara Nethralaya. The way Hasini character loses eye sight and the way she retains her passion towards dance in spite of her loss of vision and the message towards the end, that inner senses have no boundaries and inability to see hardly matters, when you pursue your passion, were heart warming. This connection establishment was awesome and what a terrific performance by the artist who played Hasini. Our heartfelt congratulations to Padmaja Kelam, Siddartha Kelam and team of children who worked so hard to make this happen. The lyrics were penned by Dr Uma Eyyuni and music was by Asha Ramesh.

It was most touching to see the tears swell in the eyes of a fan overwhelmed by the performance of the girl who played Hasini. DrishTi was conceptualized & directed by Padmaja Kelam and written by Siddarth and performed with live orchestra to 700 plus spellbound audience. Padmaja Kelam's disciple Priyanka Kasula played Hasini. Drishti signifies much more than its literal meaning. It’s about the awakening of our inner humanity and care for others. The external beauty that we see with our eyes is temporary and does bring short term joy. Anthar drishti or the inner sight, on the other hand, invokes the highest pleasure or bliss in all of us.
Fundraising team led by SN OM Trust President Bala Reddy Indurti, Moorthy Rekapalli, Srini Reddy Vangimalla, Rajasekhar Reddy Aila, Meher Lanka, JayaKiran Pagadala, Padmaja Kelam, Upendra Reddy Rachupally, Ramesh Chaparala, Rajeev Menon, Suresh Vemulamada & Neelima Gaddamanugu raised $200,000 to support 3000 indigent patients. Bala Indurti dedicated this victory to Atlanta Chapter founder Dr. Seshu Sarma who has moved to Washington DC to stay with her grand children.

Thanks are due to Atlanta team members Krishnadas Pisharodi, Srikrupa Easwaran, Phani Dokka, Uma Narayan, Raghava Tadavarthi, Kamal Satuluru, Namrata Satuluru, Rajesh Tadikamalla, Ramesh Valluri, Venkat Chundi, Ravi Kandimalla, Subba Rao Maddali, Ram Mallappa, Swadesh Katoch, Viju Chiluveru, Niranjan Prodduturi & ByteGraph for their continuous support and hard work to this event.

Thanks are due to MESU (Mobile Eye Surgical Unit) donors: Moorthy Rekapalli & Madhavi and Aniil Jagralmudi & Mahalakshmi. Main purpose of MESU is to eradicate preventable blindness in India. Initially we are planning the MESU for Telugu speaking states and eventually we want to replicate the same model all over the country.

Thanks are due to the following Adopt-A-Village donors: Mulri Reddy & Bindu, Dr. Sanjeeva Reddy & Sridevi, Suresh Vemulamada & Dr. Madhavi Rayapudi, Srinivas Surapaneni & Priya, Srini Reddy Vangimalla & Deepa, Prasad Mallu & Niveditha, Ravi Reddy Maraka & Praveena, and Balakrishna Nuli.

Thanks are due to Atlanta local associations TAMA, GATA, GATeS, GAMA, GATS, IFA, Maitri & Atlanta Telugu Samskriti for spreading the word in weekly broadcast news.

SN team also recognized community leaders and philanthropists Dr. BK Mohan & Rajyalaxmi, Pramod Sajja & Pratima, TR Reddy & Niranjini, Dr. G.S. Visvesvara, Veena Bhat for their support since inception of Atlanta chapter.

Mr. S V Acharya, President Emeritus and founder of Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust expressed regret for his inability to attend the event. He conveyed his message to Atlanta audience over phone thanking for their long term support and making Atlanta chapter one of the most active chapters in US. He also thanked the Trust President Mr. Bala Reddy Indurti for spearheading this event with support from Vice President Moorthy Rekapalli, trustees Srini Reddy Vangimalla, Rajasekhar Reddy Aila, Meher Lanka, JayaKiran Pagadala, volunteers, Kalavani Academy & Atlanta community to make this as a memorable event in the history of the Trust in USA.

SN OM Trust Dallas chapter raises $92k to support 800 Cataract surgeries!
'MUSIC for Vision' by Dr KJ Yesudas is a Grand Success!

Dallas/Fort Worth, TX USA, August 31, 2019

Music for Vision

“Music for Vision: Give the gift of vision to the indigent” was the theme of the evening for the audience gathered at Irving Arts Center, Irving TX as a part of the "Music for Vision live concert by Padma Vibhushan Dr. KJ Yesudas” hosted by SN OM Trust Inc, USA, established in June 1988 in Rockville, Maryland, USA as a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization with a sole objective to support Sankara Nethralaya (SN), Chennai, India, a comprehensive eye care center for providing free eye care of international standard to indigent patients in the Indian sub-continent.

Highlights of the “Music for Vision” live concert by Dr. KJ Yesudas

1. This event generated funds to support over 800 cataract operations: 'The Wall of Vision' unveiled

It was a sold-out event and generated funds to support about 800 cataract operations for the indigent individuals with vision impairments. About 150 sponsors contributed to 85% of the net proceeds and the response from the community was overwhelming. 'The Wall of Vision' which showcased all the sponsors became a center of attraction in the lobby and served as a backdrop for many Kodak moments. “This Wall of Vision will inspire many donors for a noble cause and it is my privilege to unveil this foundational building block” quoted Dr. Reddy Urimindi, member of the SN OM Trust from Dallas during his opening remarks.

2. The power of the legend's voice

The power of the legendary voice of Dr. KJ Yesudas unified the people of all religions, regions, languages and brought them under a single umbrella. There was a pin drop silence during the entire three- and half-hour mesmerizing program. Everyone in attendance walked away with a great sense of satisfaction. Dr. Yesudas performed to the tune of public pulse irrespective of the background or language of the individuals.

3. Enhanced Brand Recognition, Education and Awareness of the Sankara Nethralaya Mission and Programs

The much-needed clarity about brand, education about the mission and operations of Sankara Nethralaya were delivered to the community. A variety of marketing channels were established for the first time to inspire and promote the event. Structured marketing tools, such as, animated banner ads on web portals, content-centric radio clips, video marketing, social media and commercial television channels were leveraged to reach the critical mass. Both traditional and non-traditional means of 'connecting' community groups contributed to this unprecedented success.

Music for Vision

4. Engaged and Empowered Youth take active part in the event: Connect with the next generation

Over a dozen middle school and high school students from the local community were involved in the eventday operations. The Irving Arts Center trained these individuals to serve as ushers and other roles to welcome and direct attendees at the entrance and lobby. Thanks to Shanthi Gunna of Flower Mound Irving Indian Centennial Lions Club (aka FMIIC Lions Club)who coordinated the youth team exclusively to serve as ushers for the evening. Other youth served at the registration and lobby areas.

5. Dedicated Volunteer Teams fortified to serve at the current and future events

Several groups of dedicated volunteers were identified in advance and were given specific tasks at the backstage, registration, ticket processing, audio, lobby areas and contributed to the flawless execution of the event and received commendation from the audience.

6. Organization 'Connected' with public and witnessed overwhelming support of the event

Donors who contributed via online for this event received the beneficiary information well in advance of the event. “We have never seen this level of transparency when we donated money to other charitable organizations. Here we can see who got the benefit immediately” quoted many individuals who contributed to this event. Thanks to the Four-Star rating of SN OM Trust, the highest rating ever possible by the Charity Navigator, major charity assessment organization that evaluates charitable organizations in the United States.

7. A memorable evening to remember for a long time: Enthralled audience and mesmerized crowd is the outcome

Spectacular display of colorful decorations of the lobby and stage by Lucky Charms gave a warm welcome to the music lovers. Within minutes the lobby filled with crowd provided an ideal ambience for social interactions and photo opportunities. The festive mood prevailed throughout the evening as the attendees slowly started trickling in.

8. Sankara Nethralaya USA gave a grand welcome to the legend

Dr. Yesudas was given a grand traditional welcome with 'Poorna Kumbha and Vedic chants' after the audience were seated. Rajeswari Udayagiri served as the master of ceremonies for the evening and extended a warm welcome to the attendees. In his opening remarks, Dr. Reddy Urimindi shared his experience of bringing the sponsors, volunteers and the attendees together under one roof for the noble cause and appreciated the opportunity to serve one of the best organizations.

9. The new Mobile Surgical Unit project for Telugu speaking States got a boost,thanks to Andy Asava

Andy Asava, Dallas-based successful high-tech entrepreneur is one of the key pillars of this event and served as a Lonestar sponsor to support the new Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU). This effort is in the initial stages of planning to procure a new MESU to serve remote areas of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and surrounding areas. “We are lucky to have so many opportunities in life to gain wealth and success, and it is time to give back to our community in India, especially those indigent individuals requiring basic needs” quoted Andy Asava.

10. Introduced a new Adopt-A-Village sponsor, thanks to Anand Dasari and Chinta Murali of Sankalp

Anand Dasari, Dallas-based Founder and COO of Colaberry and Chinta Murali, both patrons of Sankalp Foundation of Anathapur (AP) came forward to support the Adopt-A-Village program and volunteered to serve Gotluru village in Dharmavaram, Ananthapur district of Andhra Pradesh. “I am thankful to many individuals who contributed to my success and helped me to reach this stage and it is time for me to give back to my own people and adopt-A-Village is a great start” expressed Anand Dasari.

11. Felicitation of the Artists

In addition to the legend Dr. KJ Yesudas, Rajeev Mukundan on Violin, TS. Nandakumar on Mridangam, our own Board of Trustee Sowmiya Narayanan on Ghatam, Rasikapriya Krishna and Rathipriya Krishna on the Tambura provided a comprehensive and divine musical experience to the gathering. All of the artists were felicitated by the sponsors in traditional Indian style with a bouquet of flowers and shawl.

12. So many people to thank for this unprecedented success

Thanks to all the sponsors for their generosity, dedicated volunteers for their commitment, music lovers who attended the program, media partners for their excellent coverage and promotion, restaurant owners who offered space and food, and the staff at the Irving Arts Center.

S.V. Acharya, President Emeritus is a constant source of inspiration, and Bala Reddy Indurti, President is a guiding force offering the right checks and balances to ensure everything is on track, Dallas-based Trustees Suresh Dalapathy, Nani Iswara for event-day assistance and Chennai team for promotional help.

NJ chapter of SN OM Trust raises $ 55,000 for community eye care in India right on
the day of its inaugural!
NJ chapter
Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust New Jersey chapter was launched on Saturday, Sep 7,2019 @ Royal Albert’s Palace, Fords, NJ. The event was organized by Srinivas Ganagoni (Trustee of Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust). The event was supported by Lead India Foundation, Telangana American Telugu Association, and Telugu Fine Arts Society executive team. The event started with the rendering of the US and Indian National anthems and lighting of the auspicious lamp by various leaders from all the organizations present. Dr. S. Yegnasubramanian (Chariman, HATCC) was the keynote speaker for the event and he explained the importance of the Seva and service to mankind and his association with Dr. Badrinath garu and how simple a man he is. Dr. Rajender Modi (Trustee of Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust) from New York attended the event and supported the cause. Children from the local dance schools performed classical dances and the local singers entertained the crowd with light music in Hindi, Telugu and Tamil. Nearly 350 people attended the event that raised nearly $55000 that included 3 adopt a village programs.

Vidhushi Kanyakumari concert in Washington DC on 31st Aug 2019 in
support of Sankara Nethralaya
Vidhushi Kanyakumari concert
Vidhushi Kanyakumari concert
Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust, Washington DC chapter conducted a fundraiser concert by Vidushi A. Kanyakumari on Saturday, August 31 2019. For the first time in USA, The audience got to enjoy the “Thristayee” or violin trio. The 3 violins were tuned to different octaves (base, medium and high).The concert was not only a melodious treat for the rasikas but also an educative one. Violin maestro Kanyakumari took the time to explain the lyrics of some songs and ensured that the lyrics were sung by Kamalakiran Vinjamuri and Vittal Rangan who both did a splendid job of playing the violin and singing at the same time. Mr Krishna Raj Bhat, Washington DC Trustee welcomed the audience and Mrs Geetha Bhat rendered the invocation. After that Mr. S V Acharya, President Emeritus gave a brief speech on Nethralaya activities. This was followed by introduction of the artists by Mrs. Seshu Sarma , Washington DC Trustee . After a crisp opening piece of Natakurinji Varnam, the trio played Shri Ganesha Charam (Thillang) followed by one of the Pancharathna Krithis – Dhuduku Gala. Then they played an elaborate Dikshithar Krithi - Shri Vishwanath (Ragamaalika). Vidhushi Kanyakumari then asked the audience what they wanted to hear in terms of a peppy song and the unanimous choice was of course Raghuvamsa Sudha. Kadanakuthoohala raga can make even the laziest person get up and dance. At times, it appeared that the violins were going to start speaking! The rasikas were very lucky to listen to an Annamacharya Krithi in Seshadri Ragam , one of Kanyakumari’s own creations. This was followed by “Mathsya Kurma varaha” in Natakapriya ragam set to Misrajathi Ekathalam (56 beats). She spent some time elaborating on the lyrics and the thalam. Since there were many young budding musicians in the audience, they got to learn something new. The concert that had already built up momentum went on to thrill the audience further with its favorite pieces like Venkatachalanilayam, Brahmamokkate and Bhagyada Lakshmi Baaramma. It was a treat to watch Padmashri Kanyakumari flanked by 2 young artists , Vittal Rangan from India and Kamalakiran Vinjamuri from the US, play so effortlessly the whole evening. The 2 percussionists , K V Prasad and Jayant Balasubrahmanian did a very foot tapping rhythm during their Thani Avarthanam and also provided very good support to the violinists, thus making the whole concert truly enjoyable and divine. Mrs. Banu Ramakrishnan, treasurer of SN OM Trust delivered the vote of thanks and also honored the artists. The concert was very well attended by the supporters of Sankara Nethralaya and music lovers.

Sankara Nethralaya partners with Google to create, validate and implement advanced
vision screening algorithms

It came as a feather in the cap for an institution in the forefront of embracing medical and non medical technology and constantly improvising and innovating its ophthalmic and non ophthalmic processes to find solutions to emerging ophthalmic challenges and enhance quality, reach, speed and convenience in dispensing eye care, when Google the global technology and communication giant engaged in the pursuit of solutions to social and humanitarian issues chose the institution as its preferred partner in developing an Algorithm to detect diabetic retinopathy a major ophthalmic issue threatening to deprive the vision of millions around the world and macular oedema caused due to myriad contributory factors, a condition which could lead to permanent vision loss if not detected and treated early. The collaboration involved conducting real time validation of the deep learning algorithms and implementation of the same.

Senior Ophthalmologists from the institution provided the vital ophthalmic/biological inputs in terms of markers/indicators to the Google team who leveraged artificial intelligence, exhaustive neural networks and complex mathematical systems to develop a deep learning algorithm which can detect diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular oedema with amazing accuracy, speed and perfection. The algorithm was put to real time test at the Sankara Nethralaya’s main campus at Chennai and at Thailand and its findings were evaluated by a team of senior ophthalmologists. It was a moment of great jubilation for the Google-SN team involved in the exercise when the specialists adjudicated the accuracy of the findings as being on par or even superior to findings by a qualified ophthalmologist. The institution credited with landmark technical innovations like developing and implementing one of the earliest Electronic Medical Records (EMR) systems, the DNA macro chip in ophthalmology, internet aided tele-ophthalmology camps and the one of its kind in Asia Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU) will now be leveraging this most advanced screening algorithm combining exhaustive neural networks and complex mathematical systems to detect diabetic retinopathy.

Encouraged by the success of the DR detecting algorithm the Google-Sankara Nethralaya team is now working on developing a similar algorithm to detect the progression of diabetic retinopathy and macular oedema.

Youtube Video Link click here

Music for a noble cause warms hearts and raises hope on a cool Dallas weekend

On a cold day of Spring on the March 31, 2019 Sankara Nethralaya Ophthalmic Mission (OM) Trust joined forces for the third time with the Indian Fine Arts Association (IFAA), Dallas to present the 2019 concert by Padma Bhushan, Mrs Sudha Ragunathan for Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex, Texas, USA.

Approximately 500 Dallas musical rasiga’s were warmly welcomed by Mr. Santhanam Mullur, Former Trustee, Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust, USA and the objectives to raise funds for providing free surgeries to the indigent at home.

The new SN OM Trustees Dr Narasimha Reddy Urimindi and Nani Iswara were introduced to the DFW community by Mr. Mullur.

This was followed by a brief Video presentation of Sankara Nethralaya’s community service activities.

Dr Sujatha Subramanian, President, IFAA, Dallas warmly welcomed the community as well and introduced the profile of Padma Bhushan, Mrs Sudha Ragunathan and upcoming eminent youngsters Kamalakiran Vinjamuri on the violin, Akshay Anantha Padmanabhan on the Mridangam and Soumiya Narayanan (Trustee of Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust) on the Ghatam.

Mrs. Sudha Ragunathan rendered songs that MLV Amma used to sing, Muthuswany Dikshithar and a vast collection of other songs to treat the Carnatic Music rasigas with a brilliant demonstration of her skill, versatility and unique style.

Vote of Thanks was presented by Dr Narasimha Reddy Urimindi, New Trustee of Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust thanking the IFAA committee members, IFAA volunteers, SN OM Trustees and volunteers and Donors that supported the event by their warm attendance and donations to support the needy at home with free eye surgeries.

The poster exhibits on Sankara Nethralaya activities in India was very well received by all the Dallas Rasiga’s

A unique 'Layasagaram' concert by a unique trio-quartet
An extraordinary musical feast titled 'Layasagaram' organized by SN OM Trustee from Maryland, Sowmiya Narayanan and Abhishek Balakrishnan violin virtuoso and a good friend and well wisher of Sankara Nethralaya drew a good audience at the Westchester Academy, Houston on the 6th of October 2018 and helped in reaching across the SN OM Trust's appeal to support cost free treatment to the indigent visually impaired in India. The violin trio of Abhishek Balakrishnan, Kamalakiran Vinjamuri and Sanjith Narayanan blended their string octaves with the reverberating power of the Mridangam by Karun Salvady, Vignesh Venkatraman, Table-Aditya Srivatsan and Ghatam-Sowmiya Naryanan, the synergy of this wonderful music medley helped in winning new hearts to SN OM Trust's noble cause.

Unison of music forms and synergy of melody melts hearts and moves souls
Sowmiya Narayanan, Ghatam exponent and SN OM Trustee from Maryland leveraged his immense talent and goodwill with the Carnatic music fraternity to organize two highly successful fund raiser concerts, one at Tampa Bay, Florida and the other at Maryland. The experimental nature of the music being conducted in the ancient 'Jugalbandhi' style was a 'First time' musical experience and quite naturally raised a lot of excitement and expectation among music lovers in the regions where the concerts were being held. The sublime and mellifluous mixing of the tunes from the wood wind section and chordophone instruments by Maestros Ronu Majumdar-Bansuri Flute, Kamalakiran Vinjamuri- Voilin, Amit Kavthekar-Tabla,Vignesh Venkatraman- Mridangam and Sowmiya Narayanan-Ghatam exceeded the expectations of the rasigas making the first experience an unforgettable experience. The event was co-sponsored by 'Thaiya Thaiya' the popular event management company at Tampa bay with Latha Kumar founder of the unit joining the organizing trustees and volunteers in organizing the event while local friend and supporter Dr. Meenakshi Jain extended support at Lanham. The novel musical endeavor helped in reaching across the message of supporting cost free eye care to the indigent in India to the Indian community living in the two regions and raising support for the noble cause.

Charity and spirit of service immortalize a great friend and supporter from Georgia!

The Carnatic concert fundraiser by singing legend Unnikrishnan at the Hindu Temple of Atlanta, Riverdale, GA on 12th August, 2018 was a classic demonstration of the adage, noble deeds continue to live long after the mortal self is no more. The event was organized by the 'Carnatic Music Association of Georgia', (CAMAGA) India's arts and culture ambassador and the SN OM Trust, as a tribute to the spirit of giving and compassion. Dr Uma Kumar, an eminent Nephrologist and a great friend and generous supporter of Sankara Nethralaya's cost free community services who had played a major role in organizing the event had left on her last journey and a highly moved SN OM Trust and Sankara Nethralaya were holding the concert as a tribute and token of gratitude to her.

Maestro Unnikrishnan and his highly talented troupe consisting of Kamalakiran Vinjamuri- violin, Vignesh Venkatamanmridangam amd Sowmiya Narayanan- ghatam surpassed the expectations of the large number of fans assembled, taking them on a journey of mellifluous melody with classical, semi classical and devotional kritis in praise of the Almighty and on the eye, drawn from many languages. The veteran musicians demonstrated their supreme felicity by fulfilling the numerous 'on the spot' song requests of the audience and not confining to the ones planned and rehearsed.

Dr. Krishna Mohan a prominent member of the local Indian community and the American Medical Association (AMA) paid glowing tributes to Dr Uma Kumar, the humanitarian doctor to whom the concert was held as a tribute, he recalled her compassion, generosity and spirit of giving back to society. Founder & President of CAMAGA, Kala Seva Mani Dr Ram Sriram proposed the Vote of Thanks. The event helped in spreading awareness on the services provided by Sankara Nethralaya and raising significant funds towards the same.

A gentle whisper spreads the good word at Maryland

Veteran vocalist Unnikrishnan joined hands with maestros Kamalakiran Vinjamuri - Violin, Vignesh Venkatraman - Mridangam and Sowmiya Narayanan - Ghatam for an extraordinary Carnatic music fund raiser at Maryland on 11th August 2018, the concert titled 'Wind Whispers' was performed as a fusion music or 'Jugalbandhi', enthralled a large audience and captivated them to support the noble cause of blindness eradication in the Indian sub-continent.

It was a good example of music becoming a universal voice raised or a noble cause, the artists including senior musician Unnikrishnan consenting to perform cost free brought down the cost of conducting the program and helped in raising significant funds from a relatively new audience.

It is noteworthy that this makes the concert long time friend and supporter of Sankara Nethralaya Shri Unnikrishnan’s 3rd cost free performance (2018) for the cause of dispensing cost free eye care to the poor visually impaired in India!

SN OM Trust leverages large footfall at major regional meet at
Houston to gain high visibility and support for its cause
The SN OM Trust booth at the World Telangana Convention- (WTC-2018) being organized by the American Telangana Association (ATA) at the George Brown Convention Center, Houston from June 29th to July 1st 2018 registered a high footfall, drawing many first time visitors from across the USA and Canada. SN OM Trust President (2018) and prominent local citizen Mrs Leela Krishnamurthy made the best use of the opportunity by staying on at the SN OM Trust booth set up at the venue, all through the three days, speaking to the steady stream of visitors, distributing flyers, responding to their queries, she was assisted by cotrustees Dr KS.Vasan, his wife Mrs Nimmi Vasan and Mr Jawahar Malhotra. Long time friends and well wishers Sai Chailakapati, Roopa, Abhishek Bala, Prabha and Sesh Bala, Priya Chandru and daughter Nethra, Rosemin Premji, Padma Srinivasan and Vivek and Nimmi Menon rose to the occasion magnificently, helping in taking SN OM Trust's role and noble goal of supporting cost free eye care to the indigent in India. Mrs Leela Krishnamurthy expressed Sankara Nethralaya's and the SN OM Trust's sincere thanks to Bangar Reddy Aaloor, convenor of the convention and Veerendar Devi Reddy team member for their support in setting up the booth at the high power event. The event helped in spreading awareness on Sankara Nethralaya and raised significant funds for its community endeavors.

A touching recognition to the spirit of service and deep compassion!

Prominent local citizen, member of the Board, UNICEF & Houston Habitat for Humanity, and President - Sankara Nethralaya SN OM Trust Inc, USA are some proud credentials that could describe the persona of Mrs Leela Krishnamurthy. It was a proud moment to the local Indian community and the service bodies that she serves when the long time champion of social causes and compassionate and caring individual was honored as 'Mother of the Year' by the Tamil Nadu Foundation, (TNF) Houston Chapter. The honor was bestowed at a well attended function held at the Meenakshi Temple, Pearland, Texas on 6th May 2018.

The Sankara Nethralaya family joins the members of the SN OM Trust in expressing its pride and joy at the President of its US arm being conferred with a warm and highly touching accolade.

A 'Voice for Vision' rises gloriously at a most sanctified premise

It was a classic example of music assuming a divine quality, songs invoking and appeasing the Almighty being rendered with devotion in a divine place of worship, but what made the event supremely divine was the fact that it was being rendered as a homage to HH Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal, the God who lived among us and to support 'Maanave Seva' propounded by him, by the institution which came into being on his divine Will. The event was organized by the Bharati Kalai Mandram the well known, social and cultural body at the request of SN OM Trust President and friend, Mrs Leela Krishnamurthy, at the Meenakshi Temple, Pearland, Texas on the 15th of April, 2018.

Sikkil Gurucharan among the foremost in today's young talent in Carnatic music and his accomplished accompanists Sanjeev Kumar-Violin and R.Shankarayanan-Mridangam enthralled both seasoned connoisseurs and budding fans with a well chosen selection of songs including Mahakavi Bharathiar's Veeenaiyadi Nee Enakku, Yaaro Ivar yaaro, a song with the eye as the central theme. The memorable feast for the ears was followed by a sumptuous complimentary feast by Shri Rajan Radhakrishnan of the 'Madras Pavillion' the most preferred cuisine destination for Indians in Texas.The musical evening was graced by Shri Arumugam, Past President, Shri Mani Vaitheeswaran, President, Mrs Priya Chandru,Vice President, Vidhya Venkatesan, member, Bharati Kalai Manram., Shri Rajan Radhakrishnan-Propreitor'Madras Pavillion', Mrs Leela Krishnamurthy, President, and Dr KSVasan,Trustee, SN OM Trust Inc, USA. The event helped in creating awareness and raising significant funds for the cause of cost free community eye care by Sankara Nethralaya.

SN OM Trust wins a critical accreditation by the US Federal Government

We take great pleasure in sharing that the US Federal government which had declared the SN OM Trust as a Tax Exempt Charity under IRS 501 (C) (3) has now approved its participation in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) of its employees/retirees. The US office of Personnel Management has listed the Trust as an ‘International Independent Agency’ bearing CFC NO- 68803. This acknowledgement places the SN OM Trust with a select group of charities enjoying such accreditation. This will come into effect from year 2019 and open the doors of the Trust to a large number of employees/retirees of the federal government.

We request our esteemed readers serving in the various departments of the US Federal Government to choose the SN OM Trust as their preferred CFC charity and mark CFC number 68803 in their contributions, we also request readers to share this news with friends and relatives serving in the US Federal Government.

Melodious music touches the soul and moves hearts at Lemont
An image from The ‘Temple of the eye’ takes a giant step in its journey of ‘Service to Mankind’
The auditorium at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago, Lemont presented a festive picture on the evening of Sunday August 12th, 2018 with Carnatic music aficionados from Lemont and neighbouring areas gathered in good numbers. The occasion was a Carnatic music concert to create awareness on the cost free community service to poor visually impaired patients in India by Sankara Nethralaya the premier, non profit eye hospital in Chennai, among the local Indian community and raise funds in aid of the same, the concert was organized by Mrs Vanita Achar, a long time well wisher, supporter and grand niece of Dr S.S. Badrinath, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya. The concert began with an invocation to Lord Ganesha by Mrs Vanita Achar, after which she extended a warm welcome to the audience and expressed her sincere thanks for their presence, followed by a brief note on the objective of the concert. Mr. Vignesh Ramakrishnan the ‘Master of Ceremonies’ (MC) introduced the 4 artists of the day’s concert, Smt Minu Pasupathi of Akshaya Music Academy, the Lead vocalist, Ms Akshaya Kannan providing vocal support, Shri Rishabh Ranganathan on the Violin and Shri Sivagangai Vishvak Kumaran on the Mridangam, all of whom were performing cost free for a noble cause, in response to a request made by Mrs Vanita Achar.
An image from The ‘Temple of the eye’ takes a giant step in its journey of ‘Service to Mankind’
The highlight of the concert was its thematic presentation, the special effort made to choose kritis having a direct connection with eyes, vision and awakening was very evident and impactful. The first 3 Tamizh songs were as follows - Sadashivakumara, Panneer Kondoru, Kadaikkan Vaitthennai, followed by Shambho Siva Sankar (Sanskrit). This soulful rendition of songs about the eyes was followed by a short 8 minute video about Sankara Nethralaya and its services, especially to the weaker sections of society and the need to support its noble initiatives. This was followed by an ‘Eye Donation Pledge’ drive by Dr Raj Rajaram, supporter and well wisher of Sankara Nethralaya. He highlighted that there was no greater gift to mankind than the ‘Gift of Sight’ and fervently appealed to the gathering to help in bringing the lost light and smile back on the face of the poor visually impaired in their motherland by donating generously. The second part of the concert included the following popular songs - Raaraa Rajeeva Lochana (Telugu), Annapurne Visalakshi (Sanskrit), Kandu Kandu Nee (Kannada) and concluded with the song Man ki Aankhen (Hindi). The audience thoroughly enjoyed the well synchronized performance by the singers and musicians. The event was sponsored by 8K radio, media partner who promoted the event cost free for 2 weeks leading to the event date on their radio and Facebook page. The event concluded with the felicitation of artists, with the audience loudly applauding their sterling performance rendered cost free for a noble cause, as each of them made their way to the dais to be presented with a stemmed rose and honoured by draping of a Pashmina Shawl around their shoulder. Smt Minu Pasupathy the lead artist was honoured with a special memento from Sankara Nethralaya. The evening of fun, filled with soothing music was enjoyed by one and all!

The ‘Temple of the eye’ takes a giant step in its journey of ‘Service to Mankind’
An image from The ‘Temple of the eye’ takes a giant step in its journey of ‘Service to Mankind’

The 23rd of April 2018 was a ‘Red Letter Day’ for an institution that came into existence with one simple objective ‘Serving mankind and alleviating suffering of the masses through quality eye care’ it was the day the institution made an auspicious and blessed step towards fulfilling a long time dream, a most cherished dream and also a very ambitious dream. The institution started on the principle of serving eye care totally cost free and with a personal touch to poor patients, had over the 4 decades of its service reached a position of pride wherein it treated 50% of its out patients and performed 35% of its surgeries totally cost free, its cost free eye care initiatives had also recorded magnificent outreach, with quality eye care being dispensed to poor patients in inaccessible, remote regions like the deep interiors of the Sunderbans in West Bengal, Vellimalai Hills in Tamil Nadu and more recently in the tribal regions of Singhbum in the State of Jharkand. Building and operating a large, well equipped and easily accessible community hospital, dedicated exclusively to cost free treatment to indigent patients remained a collective dream of the institution. The idea was to have a State of the Art facility which would cater to a large number of walk-in patients, serve as a referral base hospital to patients screened at the outdoor camps, where they could be brought provided boarding, lodging and free treatment, a place where the institution’s community outreach vehicle including the MESU (MOBILE EYE SURGICAL UNIT) could be parked between their trips.

An image from The ‘Temple of the eye’ takes a giant step in its journey of ‘Service to Mankind’

The biggest and first challenge in starting such a large facility, the availability of a large tract of land, in an accessible part of the city was solved when in a most generous and thoughtful gesture Mrs Kausalya Appukutty, Volunteer- Sankara Nethralaya Auxiliary Services (SWAN) made available the same totally cost free at the Dr VG. Appukutty Campus, named in honour of her late husband and generous supporter of Sankara Nethralaya, from where the CU Shah Sankara Nethralaya and the Elite School of Optometry function. The Bhumi puja for the facility was held with traditional piety with the chanting of mantras, vedic hymns and Homam at the proposed site, in the presence of a large number of friends, well wishers and employees. Srimathi Anuradha Narayan, lecturer at the ESO extended a warm welcome to the attendees and expressed the institution’s deep gratitude to Ms Voltas, Ms Infosys, Ms Trent Ltd, the Rahm Sitaraman family, USA and long time friend and supporter Shri Iravatham Mahadevan for their generous donation which would serve as the critical ‘Seed’ capital for the new initiative. Speaking on the occasion Col Raghavan, Director-Projects and chief architect of the initiative observed that the institution was able to embark on a ‘not for profit’ facility with such a high capital outlay only because corporate houses and individual donors open their purses generously when Dr SS.Badrinath the institution’s founder makes an appeal for support.

An image from The ‘Temple of the eye’ takes a giant step in its journey of ‘Service to Mankind’

In a moment that captured the spirit of the day, special guest of the event Shri Iravatham Mahadevan expressed that if only he had been 10 years younger he would have visited every home in the locality to mobilize funds for the noble endeavour, the fact that the octogenarian had already made an appeal to the families in his apartment complex became apparent when a co-resident from the complex expressed that every family in the complex would donate towards this noble cause. This was followed by presenting of donation cheques by Srimathi Surekha Mehta, on behalf of SWAN and by Mr Sanjay who operates the staff canteen at the VG Appukutty campus.

Greeting the gathering on the occasion well known Litterateur and Editor of popular Tamil magazine ‘Amudhasurabhi’ Shri Thirupur Krishnan, a friend and well wisher recalled the glorious days when he served under Shri Iravatham Mahadevan, a highly principled civil servant, he observed that as a hospital which would be serving the masses it would only be appropriate that it is funded by donations from the common man, he drew a parallel of the same by narrating how Swami Vivekaanda wanted his trip to the World Congress of Religions in Chicago, to be funded by small donations from the common man and not by a few wealthy donors, as he was representing the entire nation.

Speakng on the occasion Dr SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus and Founder, Sankara Nethralaya expressed his thanks to all who had assembled and the team working on the project, he had a special word of thanks to Srimathi Kausalya Appukutty, member SWAN for making available the land, without which the project could not have been envisaged. He welcomed and expressed his thanks to special guests Shri Iravatham Mahadevan and Brigadier VS.Joon, Station Commander and President Cantonment Board, for his critical role in obtaining the necessary sanctions and permits for the proposed building, from the Army authorities.

A blend of traditional and contemporary music creates awareness for social causes
Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust presented a captivating and outstanding performance by Carnatic music maestro Shri T.M. Krishna (TMK) on Sunday, April 9th at the Shri Bhakta Anjaneya Temple, Ijamsville in the Greater Washington DC Metro area. TMK was accompanied on the violin by Chi.Kamalakriran and on the mridangam by Kum.Rajna Swaminathan - two local young music talents. Supporters of SN and Carnatic music lovers and fans of TMK not only from the Washington DC Metro area but also from nearby states spanning over 200 miles showed up in large numbers and completely filled the auditorium . The program started with an invocation by Smt. Geetha Bhat. SNOM Trust Treasurer Shri S V Acharya gave the welcome address where he spoke about the Sankara Netralaya’s activities and fundraising efforts. This was followed by artist introductions by SN OM trustee Shri Ramarao Mysore. Krishna did not disappoint his fans and enthralled them with his zestful and eclectic music. The veteran singer moved the heart and soul of the large audience with a repertoire of ragas delivered in his inimitable style. He deviated from the traditional to give a lively folk song with strong messages in the protection of the environment and a united society not divided by caste or creed. This was followed by an eight minute video on Sankara Netralaya’s service to society. The program concluded with SN Om Trustee Shri Krishna Raj Bhat proposing the vote of thanks followed by a sumptuous dinner. Overall it was a great concert and Sankara Natralaya was also able to reach its message across to a wide array of people and the SN OM Trust received a major boost in its fund raising initiatives, thanks to the efforts of all the trustees, volunteers and well-wishers.

Bubbly youngster from Maryland exhibits amazing compassion and
concern to Sankara Nethralaya's cause!
Age 12 is a phase in life when music and music instruments simply mean good fun and entertainment to most, little Jay Kannan proved that he was a little different, in a rare exhibition of maturity and understanding the little boy showcased that music can be the language of the soul. A video on Sankara Nethralaya's cost free community service to the poor and needy and the change it brought in their lives, that he happened to watch at the university of Maryland, had a deep impact on him, it triggered a deep resolve that he should do something for them. Shri Amudhan Kannan and Srimathi Vidya Thirumalai the noble parents of a worthy son put their energies together to fulfil their son's dream, their request to families in the neighbourhood evoked a spontaneous response and soon their home in North Potomac became the venue for a wonderful musical fund raiser for the cause of the poor visually impaired in India, with budding musicians playing instruments of every kind, for a noble cause. The event helped in creating awareness on Sankara Nethralaya and its services in the minds of the little musicians, their parents and the audience and raised a significant donation towards the cause that moved little Jay Kannan's heart.

Sankara Nethralaya's overseas Ambassadors pay a courtesy visit to their cherished institution
Nothing gives more pleasure and pride to members of the Sankara Nethralaya family and its head than to receive the institution's overseas ambassadors, the members of the Sankara Nethralaya Ophthalmic Mission Trust, engaged in spreading awareness and raising funds for its cause in the USA. It was a moment to cherish for members of the institution, when long time friend, supporter and former member of the SN OM Trust Shri KG.Venkataraman and Srimathi Banumati Ramakrishnan, Treasurer, SN OM Trust accompanied by her husband Shri Ramakrishnan visited the institution recently and spent some quality time with them.

A passionate account of SN by Keshav Parthasarathy from Palatine, Ilinois
My name is Keshav Parthasarathy and I am currently studying to be a doctor in the United States. This summer, I was given the opportunity to work as a volunteer for Sankara Nethralaya. During this period, I chose to spend much of my time at the Jaslok Comunity Ophthalmic Clinic (JCOC) the free clinic that SN provides the impoverished. At the free clinic, I would work closely with the secretaries in helping direct the patients to where they needed to go to get the procedure they needed done. I would also observe in the slit lamp room, and the presiding doctors would explain how the instruments and procedures were performed. I really appreciated the time the doctors and staff gave me throughout my time at SN as well. Although they were almost always busy due to high influx of patients coming into the clinic, they all made time to answer my questions and teach me as much as they possibly could. This was incredibly beneficial to me because there are a lot of intricacies to the system employed at the free clinic. With the secretaries’ help, I learned how best to answer patients’ questions and how to log certain procedures in the computer. With the doctors’ help, I learned how to syringe patients and observe the eye using the slit lamp. This willingness to help no matter the situation was a characteristic that I found abundant in both SN’s employees as well as SN as an organization. Every person that I interacted with during my time at SN was extremely humble and respectful of me.

Flagship of Sankara Nethralaya’s community ophthalmology
receives high praise from the State’s ‘First citizen’
An image from Flagship of Sankara Nethralaya’s community ophthalmology receives high praise from the State’s ‘First citizen’

The setting for the celebration of a significant milestone of a service meant to serve patients in the deep interiors of the country was most appropriate. The valedictory function of the 50th surgical camp by the Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU) was not being held in an auditorium/ hotel in the city but at a simple highway motel on the tiny hamlet of Sappanipatti, on the Krishnagiri – Salem highway in the State of Tamil Nadu. The highway and tiny hamlets after all had become their home away from home for the MESU team and crossing milestones on the road everyday on the way to setting new ‘Milestones’ in vision revival and blindness prevention in remote regions of the country had become their noble quest for the past 6 years. ‘Swami’s Cafe’ the venue of the event, provided pro bono by Shri KM.Swaminathan, friend and well wisher of Sankara Nethralaya and a prominent personality of the locality, was milling with jubilant, happy beneficiaries who had got back their vision, right from the morning, they had assembled in large numbers to see and thank the noble souls who had brought the light of vision back into their lives.

Among the earliest to arrive at the venue Dr SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya got the event started on an impromptu note even before it began formally. He engaged in a friendly interaction with the villagers assembled, explaining to them in simple terms the ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ of MESU, he thanked them for their faith in Sankara Nethralaya which made them turn up in good numbers and for the opportunity to serve them. A man to whom quality was everything, he enquired with concern to the beneficiaries if they were happy with everything about the camp or if there was scope for improvement.

An image from Flagship of Sankara Nethralaya’s community ophthalmology receives high praise from the State’s ‘First citizen’

The relevance of MESU in combating rural blindness could be gauged by the fact that none other than the Governor of the State, His Excellency Shri Banwarilal Purohit, was presiding over the function as the chief guest and the district collector, senior bureaucrats from the health ministry, a senior official from the District Blindness Prevention Program (DBCP), a Dean and Head of the Department, from the IIT-Madras and Head Human Resource and Corporate Social Responsibility - L&T Technology services, were in attendance, at a function being held not in Chennai but in a village 5 hours away by road from the city.

The program started with an introduction of the illustrious Chief Guest of the day with a highlight of his credentials and roles by Dr PS. Rajesh, Senior Consultant, serving at the MESU and proud recipient of the ‘Mayan Award’ for service to society, from the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, for his role in taking eye care to poor patients in remote villages. This was followed by Dr KS.Vasan, Managing Director, declaring that it was a ‘Red letter Day’ for Sankara Nethralaya, he expressed his sincere thanks and extended a most warm welcome to the Chief Guest, the Governor of Tamil Nadu, Shri C.Kathiravan, IAS, Collector, Krishnagiri District, Dr K.Ashok Kumar, Joint Director, Medical and Rural Health Services, Dr.P. Priya Raj, Deputy Director, Health Services, Dr S.Manoharan, Project Officer, District Blindness Prevention Society, Dr Jagdish Kumar, Professor &Dean, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT-Madras, Sankara Nethralaya’s technical partner in developing the MESU, Shri Paneesh Rao, Chief Human Resource Officer and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, L&T Technology Services whic was sponsoring the camp and Shri KM.Swaminathan, educationist, philanthropist and a great friend and supporter of Sankara Nethralaya and proprietor of Swami’s Cafe, the venue of the function. Dr Vasan had a special word of praise for Shri KM.Swaminathan for his deep commitment to the camp from day one and for extending support and involving himself with dedication and offering his hotel totally cost free for the function and referred to him as the ‘Host’ of the function. The senior Sankara Nethralaya official followed this with a quick recap of his institution’s inception, growth and achievements, he highlighted its philosophy as laid down by the founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr SS.Badrinath, which governs it to this day and finished his welcome address with sincere thanks to the beneficiaries of the 50th MESU camp who had given Sankara Nethralaya an opportunity to serve them.

An image from Flagship of Sankara Nethralaya’s community ophthalmology receives high praise from the State’s ‘First citizen’

Starting the Chief Guest’s address on a highly emotional note that his joy knew no bounds on seeing quality eye care being made available in a remote part of the State, Honourable Governor of the State Shri Banwarilal Purohit went on to highlight how the MESU travelled vast distances, offering uncompromising eye care to landless labourers and other needy people who did not have the financial affordability or access to quality eye care, which he termed as ‘Paropakaram Punyam’ which translates as ‘Helping others is the most meritorious act’ in keeping with the highest Indian tradition. He closed his talk with a high word of praise for Dr SS.Badrinath, the senior state and corporate officials assembled, Sankara Nethralaya and L&T technology services the camp sponsor and expressed his sincere desire to preside over the 100th MESU camp which he hoped would take place soon.

Shri C.Kathiravan, IAS, District collector, Krishnagiri District expressed his gratitude to Sankara Nethralaya and L&T for the invaluable healthcare services to his district following which Dr V.Jagdish Kumar, Dean & HOD, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT-Madras gave an interesting account of how the MESU was the fruit of labour, of specialists from diverse fields motivated at every stage by Dr SS.Badrimath, the driving force behind the project, he expressed that IIT-Madras was proud to be engaged in offering their technical co-operation and an innovative solution bringing quality eye care to the villages of Tamil Nadu and India.

Dr SS.Badrinath the man whose brainchild and passion the MESU is, spoke with natural felicity and great authority and passion on every aspect of the medico-engineering marvel he had envisioned and made a reality, he touched upon its need, relevance, its impact thus far, its functioning, technical details etc. He had a high word of praise for the MESU team, for maintaining a ‘0’ infection rate, which was a great achievement, considering that the MESU operated in the vast outdoors and for the impeccable record of not having a single case of post operative complication in all its 6 years of operation.

A highlight of the event was the spirited expression of their deep gratitude to Sankara Nethralaya, its founder and the MESU team by the beneficiaries of the MESU camp at Krishnagiri which had brought vision and joy to their doorsteps.

The momentous event ended with a Vote of Thanks by Dr. Gajendra Kumar Varma, Consultant serving at the MESU who had been honoured with the ‘Mayan award’ for ‘Service to Society’ by the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry for his long and sincere service to patients living in remote regions of the country.

The ‘Temple of the Eye’ celebrates the ‘spirit of giving’ with great aplomb!
An image from Sankara Ratna Award 2018 news
Founder & Chairman Emeritus Sankara Nethralaya, Dr SS.Badrinath shares his thoughts

There could not be a more momentous occasion to an institution and its Founder ingrained with the quality of gratitude and reciprocity than acknowledging the deeds and honouring the great men and women who have empathized with its cause and made it what it is today. The Sankara Ratna and Dr MS.Subbulakshmi awarding ceremony being held at the stately Rajendra hall at the ITC Grand Chola on the 27th of Janary 2018 reflected this in no small measure. The high profile of the awardees and the Chief Guest conferring the awards had quite naturally raised a lot of expectation and made it a most keenly awaited event within and outside the institution. If the smooth flow of the proceedings were a testimony to the excellent planning that had gone behind the event, the spirited observations and spontaneity of the awardees and the Chief guest made it exceed all expectations, keeping the filled to capacity hall absorbed, informed and entertained.

The close to 3 hour program turned out to be an epic of sorts, little wonder that it did so, given thefact that the achievements, name and fame of the man and woman being honoured had assumed epic proportions and the award was being conferred by a legend. Srimathi Akila Ganesan, Director, Administration, Sankara Nethralaya set the tone for the evening with a succinct note on the awards, as the gesture of gratitude and honouring by an institution created for the people and by the people, to the great men and women who had empathised with its cause and supported it in its journey of providing quality eye care to those who could pay and those who could not!

An image from Sankara Ratna Award 2018 news
Shri Deepak Parekh, Chairman, HDFC receives the ‘Sankara Ratna’ award
from Chief Guest Shri AM.Naik, Group Chairman, L & T

Dr KS.Vasan, Managing Director continued the Sankara Nethralaya saga where Srimathi Akila Ganesan had left, with a most interesting account of how the institution had grown from its humble beginnings to a world class, tertiary ophthalmic centre encompassing clinical care, research,teaching and training and community eye care within its fold. He traced the inception of facilities in the city and other parts of the country, the steady growth of an institution committed to reaching out its services without diluting its quality, principles and philosophy. The senior Sankara Nethralaya official touched a chord in every heart with his emphatic account of how the Founder and Chief steward of the institution Dr SS.Badrinath was seized by a single idea, dream and mission and how it controlled his life,brain,muscles as advocated by Swami Vivekananda and how it became a reality in the form of Sankara Nethralaya. Dr.Vasan closed his talk with a strong emphasis on the social and economic impact of the innovations and service rendered by the institution and a strong appeal to join its mission.

The awarding ceremony was a spell binder with interesting, inspiring and amazing glimpses of the day’s awardees and the celebrities assembled to honour them flowing as a steady stream. Less known, inspiring, moving facts like Shri AM.Naik the hero of corporate Indian folklore bequeathing 75% of his wealth to charity and how the Naik and Nirali trusts founded by him were revolutionizing the countryside with their trailblazing health and education initiatives. The deep commitment of Shri Deepak Parekh, the voice of corporate India,to the values of humility, accessibility, accountability and transparency and his simple logic and conviction that ‘corporate giving’ was a natural concomitant to ‘corporate earning’. The memorable day when legal legend Nani Palkhivala summoned Shri Deepak Parekh to his home and in a gesture of boundless generosity and faith requested him to divest his life savings in the form of shares and other holdings and transfer the same to Sankara Nethralaya, after just one visit to the ‘Temple of the eye’. The Sankara Ratna awardee’s invaluable role in bringing illustrious members from the nation’s business capital to empathize and support Sankara Nethrlaya, of whom was Dr BR Barwale, the father of India’s seed industry, whose company contributedto the setting up of the clinical care block at the SN main campus named after it as Mahyco block (Maharashtra hybrid seeds company). A touching account of how this key player in India’s green revolution donated the entire prize money he received with the ‘World Food Prize’ to research in agriculture. Srimathi Vani Jairam’s warm note on her experiences with MS Amma after whom the award she was receiving is named, the rich compliments she received for her manner of singing from the immortal, legend. Touching accounts of how the ‘Meera of Modern India’ had toured large parts of rural Maharashtra, propagating social values and causes through her golden voice, travelling all the way to Iowa to render the invocation at the function honouring Dr.Barwale with the ‘World Food prize’ known popularly as Norman Borlaug award.

An image from Sankara Ratna Award 2018 news
Shrimathi Vani Jairam being honoured with the ‘Dr MS.Subbulakshmi award’
by Chief Guest Shri AM.Naik

The evening marked a giant leap in leveraging technology for better dispensing of eye care by the two times winner of the prestigious NASSCOM-KPMG awards for ‘Best IT adoption on the healthcare sector’ and ‘Best Electronic Medical Record (EMR) solution’ with the dedication of the Dr BR Barwale centre for ophthalmic technology and innovation, which would focus on developing and implementing technologies to enhance reach and quality of eye care to the masses. Speaking on the occasion Chief Technology Officer Shri Chandramouli explained on how the new centre will endeavour to make the enormous data available with the institution actionable for practitioners and stakeholders.

Speaking with a strong sense of nostalgia a visibly overwhelmed Dr SS.Badrinath recalled that he came to India with just four dollars and times have been indeed been very good and eventful and he considered himself very blessed to have been able to give shape to his dream of starting a world class eye care institution, he expressed that the past has been very good and the present is also very promising and hoped that the future will be good too. He thanked his colleagues for the hospital being rated as the best in its kind and went on to highlight a few major Sankara Nethralaya landmarks like the success of the MESU which reported absolutely no complications, being the only eye care institution providing technology support to 9 eye care institutions, the impact of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) process aided by artificial intelligence developed by the institution. He recounted with gratitude Sankara Ratna awardee Shri Deepak Parekh’s rare gesture of sanctioning a huge loan from the HDFC to Sankara Nethralaya by instructing his officials from the USA, when it was negotiating for the acquisition of the erstwhile lady Willingdon Hospital.

An image from Sankara Ratna Award 2018 news
Shri Raju Barwale, Chairman, MAHYCO and sponsor of the Dr Barwale Centre for
Technology and Innovation addresses the gathering

While it was natural that the evening resonated with the greatness of the great personalities whom the ‘Temple of the eye’ had chosen to honour on this momentous occasion, the inspiring and laudatory references on the host institution, the detailed account of its services and achievements and the need to support it, made by the awardees and the chief guest and the guest of honour made one wonder if even the representatives of Sankara Nethralaya could have made such a strong case about themselves, as its friends and well wishers gathered on the occasion had done. The spirited references to the institution in their acceptance speeches by the awardees and the chief guest’s address made one wonder if SankaraNethralaya was felicitating its friends and supporters or was being felicitated by them on this memorable day! A glorious example of the Bard’s immortal lines ‘The quality of mercy is twice blessed; it blesseth him that gives and him that takes’.

Sankara Nethralaya's noble demonstration of the teachings of Swamy Raghavendra, that 'Life itself is a worship' and 'Universal affection and love to fellow beings' at the
very land of his holy abode, wins the blessings and admiration of the Saint and
the Pontiff of the 'Sri Raghavendra Matha'
We take pleasure in sharing below the printed manifestation of the divine blessings from a most sacred shrine

Click Here...

Sankara Nethralaya – A preferred destination for hands on learning and real time training.

As an institution committed to the disseminating of knowledge and skills for the common good, Sankara Nethralaya engages itself in a very interesting endeavour over and above its conventional teaching and training initiatives at its centres. The institution provides real time learning and exposure to overseas students at different levels in their academic career through its volunteering programs.

Sankara Nethralaya is a preferred destination for observership, internship and volunteering to Indian students pursuing various life science courses in the USA on account of the following factors

  1. It is manned by a highly proactive and sympathetic medical and non-medical personnel who value the time and cost incurred by the student and impart the maximum knowledge and learning to them. Personnel who do not consider volunteering as a routine exercise but a critical part of the student’s learning curve.
  2. A large number of out-patients and in-patients with a wide array of eye ailments being examined and treated under one roof provides a deep insight into diverse diagnostic and treatment modalities and acts as a great learning experience
  3. The presence of a state of the art research facility, learning and training facility, clinical care and diagnostic laboratory under a single roof is a boon to the students who get a great exposure to all these facets during their training
  4. Exposure to treating a large number of indigent patients both at the community hospital and at the outdoor camps not only gives the interns a peep into the world of community care but also inculcates a spirit of service with a personal touch, the hallmark of Sankara Nethralaya. A trait that every man /woman of medicine should possess in addition to their core competence levels.
  5. Last but not the least the students can club their volunteering during their trip back home during vacation, which saves significant cost.

We take great pleasure in sharing the names of students from the USA who did their volunteering at Sankara Nethralaya recently and their impressions.

Voluntership Stats 2017

Name Country Duration
Ms.Amirtha UK 01.07.17 to 08.07.17
Ms.Anila USA 17.07.17 to 21.07.17
Mr.Anish USA 05.06.17 to 30.06.17
Ms. Dhanya V Ramaseshan UK 10.07.17 to 31.07.17
Ms.Janavi USA 31.07.17 to 05.08.17
Ms.Shria Arul USA 03.07.17 to 24.07.17
Mr. keshav Parthasarathy USA 10.06.17 to 13.07.17
Mr. Kedar Narayanan S INDIA 10.04.17 to 13.04.17
Mr.Sachin INDIA 21.03.17 to 31.03.17
Mr.Sahil INDIA 21.03.17 to 31.03.17
Mr.Sanskar INDIA 16.05.17 to 05.06.17
Mr.Taniya INDIA 10.04.17 to 13.04.17
Mr.Adarsh Mattu USA 12.07.17 to 21.07.17
Mr.Akash Mattu USA 12.07.17 to 21.07.17

Concert by Classical Singer Yesudas in Support of SN Chennai

OM Trust-USA, the Maryland-based fund-raising arm of Sankara Nethralaya hospital in Chennai, India, organized a fund-raiser on Sunday, September 17, at Lassiter High School, in Marietta, Georgia. The event included a classical music concert by the renowned musician, Padma Vibushan K. J. Yesudas and the 1,000-seat capacity auditorium filled up hours before the start of the program.

After a welcome speech by Bala Indurti, S. V. Acharya, President of OM Trust, USA spoke about the objectives of the OM Trust and how it had been instrumental in supporting the charitable work of Sankara Nethralaya. He was followed by the event that the audience was eagerly waiting for, the concert by Yesudas and an introduction of the artists.

Yesudas, who is 77, began the concert with a Navaragamalika varnam. After requests from the audience, Yesudas sang many of the kritis that he has popularized over the years. Before singing the very well-known Vathapi Ganapathim in Hamsadwani, invoking Lord Ganesha, Yesudas jokingly remarked that Vathapi is not the only song on Ganesha that he knows and that he would be happy to sing another composition on Lord Ganesha. The audience, however, insisted that he sing Vathapi and he obliged. Yesudas was accompanied by Srikanth on the violin, T. S. Nandakumar on the Mridangam, Santosh Chandru on the Ghatam, and Varshney on the Thampura.

After the concert, Dr. Ram Sriram, President of the Carnatic Music Association, said that it “was a scintillating two and a half hours of music.” Sriram related how each composition that Yesudas sang during the concert inspired an emotional and spiritual feeling in the minds of the listeners. He remarked that “only when an artist feels the emotions in his own heart, can he, in turn, inspire such feelings in the hearts of the audience.”

Sriram said that Yesudas was travelling in the “Sapthaswara Chari” – the universe of melody that seven notes create and that he was taking the audience with him in that journey.

After the concert concluded, the artists were honored with presents. Following this, Antony Thaliath and Subash Razdan, trustees of the Gandhi Foundation of Atlanta presented the Gandhi Foundation Peace Award to Yesudas for his contribution to world peace and harmony.

The audience was overwhelmed by emotions when Dr. Ravi Sarma spoke about his mother and how, during her later years of her life, she suffered significant loss of eyesight. He announced that a major donation to OM Trust for a sum of $160,000 would be made by his family foundation named in honor of his mother, Pudipeddi Ramalakshmi. On behalf of Dr. Ravi Sarma’s family, Yesudas handed the check to S.V. Acharya, President of OM Trust.

The credit for putting together this event goes significantly to Dr. Seshu Sarma whose dedication and leadership brought together prominent community leaders and organizations and a group of dedicated volunteers to help make the event a great success. Sarma, Moorthy Rekapalli, Bala Indurti, Krishnadas Pisharodi, Uma Narayan, Srikripa Eashwaran, Rajeev Menon, Antony Thaliath, Ashok Kumar, Raj Rengarajan and Raghava Thadavarthi worked tirelessly for months to make this event a reality. The event raised $150,000 which that will be used to restore vision for thousands of indigent patients served by the Sankara Nethralaya Hospital.

Sankara Nethralaya is a charitable non-profit hospital in Chennai, India started in 1978 by the renowned ophthalmologist, Dr. S.S. Badrinath to offer high-quality eye care to the rich and the poor. In rural areas there is both lack of awareness of preventive eye care and availability of qualitied doctors. SN has a program to take eye care to where the poor patients live through thousands of eye-camps in villages around Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra. The poor are not charged any fees for the pre-operative or post-operative care. To defray the costs of these treatments SN depends on donations from philanthropic individuals and organizations and SN OM Trust helps to raise funds in the US.

‘Wind Whispers’ an enchanting fusion concert creates awareness and raises support at Dallas

The Dallas Chapter of the Sankara Nethralaya Ophthalmic Mission Trust (SN OM Trust) joined hands for the 2nd time with the ‘Indian Fine Arts Academy’ (IFAA) the well-known champion of Indian music and culture in the DFW area to organize a Grand Musical Ensemble titled “ Wind Whispers from India” featuring Mr Rajhesh Vaidhya on Saraswati Veena, Mr Ronu Majumdar on Bansuri, Mr Vinod Venkatraman (Artistic Director of the Event) on Mridangam, Mr Srinivasan on Morsing, Mr Harshad Kanetkar on Tabla and SN OM Trustee Mr Sowmya Narayanan on the Ghatam , at the Unity Church of Dallas, Texas on the 9th of September 2016.

While the photo exhibition booth set up by the SN OM Trust volunteers from the DFW Metroplex helped to showcase the activities of the SN OM Trust in the USA and Sankara Nethralaya’s cost free services to the poor in India, the sale of MS Subbulakshmi music CDs, SN OM Trust T-shirts at the stall helped to raise funds for the same cause. Mr Vinod Venkataraman provided a grand introduction of the esteemed artists to the DFW community and mentioned about the artists warm support to the activities performed by Sankara Nethralaya and the SN OM Trust, USA Dallas Chapter in raising funds through this event towards supporting free surgeries.

Delivering the Vote of Thanks Dr Arvind Neelakanthan an alumni of Sankara Nethralaya presently with the Glaucoma Center of Texas gave a passionate account of his Alma Mater's contribution towards eliminating blindness through its research, knowledge dissemination and cost free community eye care services and its yeoman service to society. Dr Arvind Neelakanthan made a fervent appeal to the audience to donate generously towards supporting the large number of cost free surgeries to indigent patients in India that Sankara Nethralaya plans to perform from the proceeds of this event. He closed his talk with a warm note of thanks to the artists, the Board of Trustees of the IFAA and their volunteers for their kind and warm support extended in organizing the program.

USA’s well known farming equipment and technology conglomerate sows the seeds to relief and joy of the visually impaired in India!

Allis-Gleanor Corporation (AGCO) the Duluth, Georgia, USA based Tractors and Farm equipments manufacturer is among the world’s most well known and largest organizations in its field of activity, with some of the premium brands in its stable. The company is also the overseas collaborator of Tractors and Farm Equipments (TAFE), India’s highly respected and leading tractor and farming equipment manufacturer. Mid- July marked the visit of senior officials from the US based conglomerate to its collaborator’s office in Chennai. TAFE the host company decided to bring about a touch of warmth to the high power meet of the two companies by organizing a visit of the dignitaries to the Sri A.Sivasailam block, Sankara Nethralaya’s State of the art eye care facility, a proud creation of its Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative (CSR), as part of the visitor’s agenda. A simple function showcasing and celebrating the TAFE- Sankara Nethralaya collaboration was organized at the Srimathi Jayashree Venkatraman Auditorium at the Sri A.Sivasailam block, named after its founder. The function was graced by Ms Mallika Srinivasan, CEO and Chairperson and senior management members from TAFE and distinguished dignitaries from the Allis-Gleanor Corporation (AGCO). Sankara Nethralaya the beneficiary of TAFE’s massive CSR initiative was represented by Dr. T.S. Surendran, Director Pediatric Ophthalmology department and Vice-Chairman and Dr. Prema Padmanabhan, Senior Consultant and Director, Cataract &IOL department.

The latter took the opportunity to express her institution’s deep gratitude for the great support and encouragement extended by the nation’s premier farm equipment company, she gave an absorbing presentation on the large scale community services rendered by Sankara Nethralaya, its high level ophthalmic research, carried out for the common good, academic endavours to prepare a large army of dedicated professionals to fight the battle against blindness. Dr. Prema Padmanabhan recalled the long association between two of the city’s well known institutions, dating back to the days of Shri A.Sivasailam, Founder TAFE and a great friend of the institution, who had supported it during its days of inception to TAFE’s present day support by way of its massive ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’(CSR) endeavour under the dynamic leadership of its CEO and Chairperson Ms. Mallika Srinivasan, which blossomed as the Sri A.Sivasailam block, the State of the Art eye care facility named in memory and honour of her father. The presentation was extremely well received by the distinguished audience, her note on Sankara Nethralaya’s ‘One of its kind in Asia’ ‘Operation theatre on wheels’, the institution’s revolutionary initiative of performing vision revival surgeries for ‘Cataract’ the single largest cause for blindness in the country, right at the door steps of poor patients living in the most inaccessible and remote regions of the country, drew special attention and praise.

In an interesting turn of events the function organized to highlight TAFE’s role in alleviating the suffering of the visually impaired to the visiting team assumed the role of a fundraiser for its beneficiary. In a gesture reflecting its high appreciation to the noble initiative of Ms Mallika Srinivasan who serves as a director in their board and a ‘joining hands’ effort, the Allis-Gleanor Corporation (AGCO) made a generous, on the spot grant towards Sankara Nethralaya’s cost free community services to the thunderous applause of the gathering. While the donation from the renowned technology leader in the field of farming equipment came as a great support in the institution’s ongoing battle against blindness, especially among the weaker sections of society, the citation ‘We commend your commitment to improve the lives of those most in need’ signed on behalf of the global leader in its field, by Mr. Martin H. Richenhagen, Chairman, President and CEO, came as a proud compliment and feather in the cap to the non-profit’s tireless work among the poor and needy visually impaired, living in the most remote/inaccessible regions of the country.

An iconic music group performs at its iconic birthplace in celebration of
the birth centennial of an Icon
The music of MS Amma had an element of universality, it was adulated by musical geniuses of different genres of music and world leaders who lived during her times and she had acquired a global stature far beyond that of a musician. A western classical concert featuring the Sitar Concerto No-2, Ragamala composed by Sitar legend Pandit Ravi Shankar, by his daughter Ms Anoushka Shankar, renowned Sitar player, in accompaniment with Maestro Manfred Honeck of the New York Philharmonic, was truly a fitting tribute to the universality of her music and persona. The leading American orchestra rated as being among 'The Big Five' orchestras paid its musical tribute to the Universal Singer at the 'Geffen Hall' at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, known as the 'Home of the New York Philharmonic'. Extending a warm welcome and introducing Dr SS.Badrinath and Dr Vasanthi Badrinath to the audience Mr. Matthew Van Besien the President of the New York Philharmonic remarked that his orchestra was honoured to pay tribute to MS Subbulakshmi the cultural Icon of 20th Century India and foremost exponent of Carnatic music, a form of classical music with a rich tradition spanning 1,600 years on her birth centennial. Delivering a spirited speech Dr SS.Badrinath touched upon diverse subjects such as the divine quality of MS Amma's music which transcended the audience to a world of bliss, the honours showered on her, her influence in transforming his life that made him stay back in India and start the Sankara Nethralaya, her support with seed capital and continued patronage which helpd in its growth. Observing that the concert by Maestro Manfred Honeck and Sitarist Anoushka Shankar was the grand finale to a series of 11 concerts organized by Sankara Nethralaya in honour of the humanitarian musician on her birth centenary, he expressed his sincere gratitude to all those who made the program a reality. He closed his talk with an invitation to Srimathi Vanitha Sudheendranath a long time friend of the institution to render the prayer song for world peace composed by Mahaperiyava for MS Amma's 'Concert for Peace' at the United Nations General assembly exactly 50 years back.

Temple of the Eye pays tribute to the 'Suswaralakshmi' at the temple of Vallabha Vinayaka

The role of the benign hand guiding and accomplishing Sankara Nethralaya's noble endeavours was very apparent in the Dr. MS Amma birth centenary celebration too!

The Sudha Ragunathan Concert at the UN on the morning of 2nd October observed as 'World Non-violence Day' could not be attended by a large number of MS Amma rasigas as the auditorium was filled to capacity. It was an earnest effort by the SN OM Trustees of the region to organize a similar concert on the same day at a different venue in the city to give the rasigas another opportunity to enjoy her music that resulted in a concert at the Maha Vallabha Ganapathi Devastnanam auditorium, Flushing, New York. The concert was not part of the original agenda and it was the blessings of this divine hand that made it a reality within short time frames. The SN OM Trustees did a remarkable job of identifying an alternative venue and persuading the authorities of the temple to make the same available and organizing the concert in short notice to avoid the disappointment to a large number of audience who could not be accommodated at the UN and it goes to the credit of Srimathi Sudha Ragunathan and her musicians that they rose to the occasion and agreed to play most gracefully at a venue which was not part of their original itinerary. The concert was among the finest in the series and regaled the large gathering of audience assembled.

The United Nations Organization releases a commemorative postal stamp honouring
Dr. M.S. Subbulakshmi on her birth centenary on Sunday, October 2nd, 2016
MS Amma was a great patriot and a champion of peace and harmony and dedicated many of her concerts to raise funds for the freedom movement and a concert honouring her birth centennial at the UN on 'Gandhi Jayanthi' being observed the world over as 'World Non-Violence Day' was a most befitting tribute indeed. It was a crowning glory to the legendary singer that the United Nations Organization released a commemorative postal stamp honouring her on this momentous occasion.

A favourite daughter of the 'Father of the Nation' honoured on his birthday at the
highest seat of peace and amity
Among the legends that abound about MS Amma there is one about the passion that the Father of the Nation had for her voice that touches one's heart, the Mahathma in his characteristically straight forward approach had sent word to Shri Kalki Sadasivam, husband of Srimathi MS Subbulakshmi through Srimathi Suchetha Kripalani, freedom fighter and wife of Shri Acharya Kripalani also in the freedom struggle, expressing his wish to listen to the rendering of his favourite Meera Bhajan 'Hari Thum Haro' by the legendary singer. MS Amma reacted to this request with her characteristic humility that not being familiar with the song it may not be appropriate that she renders it, for which the Mahathma remarked that he would rather listen to the great MS merely recite the verse than anyone singing the same. MS Amma could not refuse the request anymore and with some quick practice was born one of Amma's greatest songs, the song was taped by All India Radio (AIR) and the tape was sent to Delhi where the Mahathma listened to it with fascination, the bhajan soon became his favourite song and was played wherever he camped during the days of the freedom struggle. All India Radio which recorded the song broadcasted it repeatedly as the nation's tribute to the Father of the Nation soon after his assassination, moving the heart of millions to tears.

Maryland rasigas participate in MS Amma birth Centenary celebrations with great zest
The huge auditorium at the Eleanor Roosevelt High School at Hanover Parkway, Greenbelt, more used to assemblies of students, witnessed a gathering of a different kind on the 18th of September 2016. The SN OM Trustees from Maryland were celebrating the Birth Centennial of Dr MS.Subbulakshmi at the venue and Carnatic music rasigas and MS aficionados had gathered in large numbers. The rare MS Amma photographs displayed at the hallway of the venue was a major attraction for the audience and won their high admiration. The proceedings started with a mellifluous invocation and interesting note on the long association between the singing legend whose birth centennial was being observed and Sankara Nethralaya the institution she cherished and supported, by Shri Ramarao Mysore a member of the SN OM Trust from the region. Extending a warm welcome to the gathering Shri S.V. Acharya, Founder and President of the Sankara Nethralaya Ophthalmic Mission Trust underlined that Maryland has a special place in the history of Sankara Nethralaya as it is the place where the SN OM Trust, its fund raising arm in the USA which raises significant funds for its community services was born. He used the occasion to convey his heartfelt thanks and admiration to the Indian community in the USA whose continued support had brought the critical change in the lives of the visually impaired in India. His observation that their generous contribution had helped in performing 7000 minor and major cost free surgeries to poor patients in India was received with thunderous applause. Speaking on the occasion Ms Nandini Mouli a long time friend and supporter of Sankara Nethralaya in the USA and an active member of the MS birth centenary celebration organizing team in MD expressed her gratitude and appreciation to the musicians for their outstanding performance on behalf of Sankara Nethralaya and the SN OM Trust. The joyous function concluded with a warm vote of thanks by Shri Shankar Iyer SN OM Trust member from the region.

Sankara Nethralaya's centennial tribute to the universal singer assumes
a global flavor at Houston
The MS Amma birth centennial celebration at Houston on the 17th of September 2016 was an event of truly Texan proportions and had a distinct global flavor too, the event was co-sponsored by the Asia Society, the association actively involved in educating the world about Asia and forging closer ties between Asia and the West through Arts, education, policy and business outreach. Ms Stephanie Todd Wong the Director of the Society, a good friend of Shri Sesh Bala and Srimathi Prabha Bala well wishers of Sankara Nethralaya played a major role in organizing the program and making available the prestigious 'Texas Center' as a venue for the program, she was ably assisted in her efforts by Ms Cori Capetillo and Ms Bridget Bray, Director & Curator of Exhibits. The proceedings started on a high profile with Guest of Honour Shri Anupam Ray, Consul General of India at Houston and distinguished members from the local community Mr Thomas J.Reid, Mayor Of Pearland, Ms Heidy Weiss, ED, City of Pearland, Mr Chris Brown, Houston City Controller, Ms Debbie Mcnulty, Director, Office of Cultural Affairs, City of Houston and Ms Nancy Allen, Founder Member of the Asia Society, Texas Center, inaugurating the 'Dr MS Subbulakshmi Photo Exhibition' by a customary cutting of the ribbon in the August presence of Mr. Bonna Kol, President of the Asia Society, Ms Anne Chao, Mr Albert Chao, Asia Society Texas Center members and major supporters, Mr Mickey Rosenau, Ms Ellen Gritz, Ms Stephanie Todd Wong from the Asia Society, Dr KS. Vasan, SN OM Trustee from Houston and Managing Director Sankara Nethralaya, Srimathi Leela Krishnamurthy, SN OM Trustee, Shri Sam Kannappan, SN OM Trustee and several well wishers and friends of Sankara Nethralaya.
If the compeering of the program by Shri Sesh Bala added a special touch to it, the well chosen photographs capturing the great moments of MS Amma's life, a riveting video clip of the legend's concert at the UN exactly 50 years back and interesting anecdotes from the Singer's life by Srimathi Anuradha Subramaniam and Srimathi Prabha Bala transferred the audience to a glorious era. A video clipping of Sankara Nethralaya's service, especially to the poor and needy and an absorbing talk on the subject by Dr KS.Vasan helped in communicating Sankara Nethralaya's philosophy and goals to the August audience.
The highlights of the event was a rich tribute to the legend by Shri Anupam Ray, Consul General of India to the USA at Houston, Proclamation of the Day as M.S.Subbulakshmi Day and M.S.Subbulakshmi Centenary Celebration Day by Mr Sylvester Turner, Mayor of the City of Houston and Mr Tom Reid, Mayor of the City of Pearland and the issuing of a 'Certificate of Recognition' to the 100th Birthday celebrations of M.S.Subbulakshmi by Mr Joe R Zimmerman, Mayor of Sugar Land.

Leading Indian cultural body joins SN in its musical tribute to MS Amma at Dallas
The Dallas chapter of the Indian Fine Arts Academy (IFAA) the well known champion of Indian music and culture in the region joined hands with the local chapter of the Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust to organize a grand musical tribute to MS Amma by Srimathi Sudha Ragunathan and her group at the Unity Church of Dallas, Texas on the 11th of September 2016. The large gathering of rasigas were warmly welcomed by Shri Santhanam Mullur the SN OM Trust member representing the region. Shri Mullur gave an interesting overview of the Dr MSS Centenary Celebrations and the association between the legendary singer and Sankara Nethralaya, the institution she supported passionately. This was followed by an absorbing video presentation on Sankara Nethralaya and the reach of its cost free community services to the poor and needy.

Srimathi Shanthi Murali, Trustee, Indian Fine Arts Academy, Dallas, who had contributed significantly for the successful organizing of the program, extended a warm welcome to the distinguished musicians and introduced each of them, to the excited applause of the rasigas.

A highlight of the event was the presentation of prizes to a group of highly talented young singers who had made their mark in the 'MSS Amma Online Music Competition' a novel online voice evaluation exercise for budding amateurs, by seasoned Carnatic singers, conducted by Shri Prabhu Sivaraman, SN OM Trustee from the region. It was an occasion to rejoice and remember for the young winners as Dr Sudha Ragunathan, among the leading exponents of the art form congratulated them warmly, encouraged them and presented the awards.

Delivering the Vote of Thanks Dr Arvind Neelakanthan an alumni of Sankara Nethralaya presently with the Glaucoma Center of Texas gave a passionate account of his Alma Mater's contribution towards eliminating blindness through its research, knowledge dissemination and cost free community eye care services and how its yeoman service to society brought back the dignity and joy into the lives of the indigent visually impaired, by bringing back their lost vision and making them independent, self supporting individuals. He made a fervent appeal to the audience to donate generously towards supporting the large number of cost free surgeries to indigent patients in India that Sankara Nethralaya planned to perform in memory and as a tribute to MS Amma on her birth centennial.

Shri Prabhu Sivaraman, Trustee, SN OM Trust extended a warm thanks to the artists, audience, the IFAA, Dr Arvind Neelakanthan and Srimathi Sudha Ragunathan for presenting the awards and encouraging the young winners.

Melliflous music, memorable portraits and fervent appeals moves hearts at Chicago on Dr MS Subbulakshmi Birth centennial day

The Sama Rathi Auditorium at the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago at Lemont wore a festive look on the 10th of September 2016, the occasion was the celebration of the Dr MS birth centennial with a concert by Carnatic music exponent Ms Sudha Ragunathan and her group. Rasigas from across Chicago began gathering at the venue for an evening of mellifluous music. An exhibition of rare photographs at the venue capturing the golden moments in the life of the great singer struck an emotional chord and the sale of 'MS blue sarees' which had become an identity of the singer came as a pleasant surprise and great memento to the audience. Well known personalities from the local India Diaspora shared the dais with Dr.Raj Rajaram and Shri Sudhakar Mattu, SN OM Trustees from the area to extend a warm welcome to the large audience, give them a background of Sankara Nethralaya and the SN OM Trust and make a fervent appeal to donate generously towards the good number of cost free cataract surgeries planned as a birth centennial tribute to the Singer who had made her voice a vehicle for relief and joy.

A highlight of the Chicago celebrations was the proclamation of Saturday the 16th of September 2016 as M.S.Subbulakshmi Day by Mr Bruce Rauner, Governor of the State of Illinois.

Dr MS Centenary birth centennial celebrations make it a melodious and memorable
'Ganesh Chaturthi' for California rasigas
The Cabrillo School Auditorium at Santa Fe, Long Beach, CA presented a picture of gaiety on the 5th of September 2016, the occasion was the birth centennial tribute to the 'Tapaswini' and Nightingale of India Dr MS Subbulakshmi and rasigas had gathered in large numbers with great expectancy and excitement. Their expectations were more than matched by a mellifluous shower of classical, devotional and bhajans from the repertoire of the great singer, by Srimathi Sudha Ragunathan among today's leading exponents of the art form and her group of seasoned musicians. It was 'Ganesh Chaturthi' day and the maestro wished the audience a happy Ganesh Chaturthi and sang a special Ganesha Slokam in praise of the God of auspicious beginnings. Shri Raja Krishnamurthi the SN OM Trustee from the area gave an absorbing account of Sankara Nethralaya, its mission and philosophy and made a fervent appeal to the audience on behalf of the SN OM Trust to support the large number of cost free cataract surgeries that were planned to be performed as a birth centennial tribute by Sankara Nethralaya to a noble singer who had identified herself with its cause and supported it most generously.

A pat for budding and seasoned talent, divine enthralling music and contributions for a cause mark MS Amma centennial celebrations at Atlanta!

The Atlanta chapter of the Sankara Nethralaya Ophthalmic Mission Trust presented an extraordinary, 3 day centennial homage to Bharat Ratna Dr.M.S.Subbulakshmi. The curtains went up on the well prepared and organized event on the 3rd of September 2016 with a brief talk on Sankara Nethralaya and its achievements in research, education and cost free community eye care to indigent patients, by Dr. Seshu Sarma, Vice-President, Sankara Nethralaya, Ophthalmic Mission Trust, Inc, the fund raising arm of Sankara Nethralaya in the USA. Dr. Sarma also gave an interesting account about the ‘Mobile Eye Surgical Unit’ (MESU) which performs sight reviving cataract surgeries, totally cost free, right at the doorsteps of patients living in the most remote regions of India, with no access to quality eye care.

This was followed by a warm greeting and welcome to the Rasikas assembled in large numbers and dignitaries by Dr. Rao, President of the Hindu Temple of Atlanta. Speaking on the occasion Chief Guest of the day, Mr. R.Srinivasan, Consul, Indian Consulate, Atlanta, lauded Smt. M. S. for making India and Indians proud by her music. The most touching and inspiring speech of the afternoon however, was the one given by eleven-year old, Raveena Allie, who was born with no eyes. Her life story of being brought up by loving foster parents in the US and working her way up by overcoming her disability to become a honor student in middle school and excelling in innumerable extracurricular activities filled the listeners with a sense of confidence that if one is determined, nothing in life is insurmountable. The audience gave her a standing ovation for her rousing message and indomitable spirit.

This was followed by the main event of the day, an enthralling concert for three hours and more with a generous inclusion of MS Amma favorites by Padmabhushan Sudha Ragunathan and party; the resounding applause and requests for more songs captured the spirit of the day. Dr. Ram Sriram, President of the Carnatic Music Association of Georgia (CAMAGA), made the concluding remarks and a brief review of the concert. Mrs. Anu Nathan, chair of the essay competition being held to highlight the contributions of Smt. M. S. Subbalakshmi, as part of the Centenary celebrations announced the winners for different age groups

The winners of the essay competition were:

1st Place: Neel Krishnan
2nd Place: Anand Krishnan
3rd Place: Maitri Sridhar

Middle School
1st Place: Nikitha Sridhar
2nd Place: Priyanka Yagneswaran
3rd Place: Shobana Santhanam

High School
1st Place: Nitheyaa Shree
2nd Place: Shashank Ganesan
3rd Place: Shruthi Santhanam

Another recognition being bestowed as part of the Centenary celebration the ‘Bharat Ratna M. S. Subbulakshmi award’ for years of contribution to Indian classical music was awarded to Smt. Subhashini Krishnamurthy – musician, composer, Vocalist, teacher, and Veena player. Ms. Subhashini was presented with a plaque and a blue silk saree, similar to the one that was popularized by Smt. M. S. Subbulakshmi. The awards were given to the winners by Smt. Sudha Raghunathan who spoke admiringly of the winners and their accomplishments.

The second day of the three-day event showcased Atlanta’s local talent. The performers were young children and young adults trained in different schools of Carnatic music by eminent teachers in Atlanta. It was most inspiring to listen to children as young as 6 years of age, rendering compositions made popular by Smt. M. S. Subbulakshmi with devotion and dedication.

The last and final day of the three-day event was highlighted by a one-hour video presentation on the life and accomplishments of Smt. M. S. Subbulakshmi, put together by the renowned dramatist and director, Sri Syam Yellamraju. The video presentation was followed by group singing of the compositions of the great composer, Sri Annamacharya, popularized by Smt. M. S. Subbulakshmi. The performers were local music teachers and musicians. It was a most befitting tribute to the memory of Smt. M. S. Subbulakshmi.

At the conclusion of the program,Dr.Sarma thanked her co-trustees of SN OM Trust,Moorthy Rekapalli and Bala Indurti and the President of CAMAGA,Dr.Ram Sriram and all the others who contributed to the 3 day event. She expressed her deep gratitude to all the donors who contributed generously to the Sahasra Nayanam project and the Chitoor Gift of Sight project. She further expressed her sincere appreciation to journalist Sri Mahadev Desai for his excellent coverage of the three-day event and Mr. Ravi Penumarthy for taking superb pictures of the event.

A mesmerizing concert at the world's highest seat of peace and harmony - the high point of
Sankara Nethralaya's centennial homage to its beloved MS Amma
It was an event of truly 'EPIC' proportions, a birth centennial homage to a virtuoso who strode the world of music like a colossus, an unparalleled vocalist who had given a divine quality to music by making it a vehicle of relief and support to the sick, homeless and suffering, an electrifying performance by a double Oscar awardee, the nationalist and patriotic singer was being honoured on the nation's 70th Independence Day, at the world's highest seat for Peace, the 'United Nations General Assembly' where she gave a historic 'Concert for Peace' on United Nations Day, exactly 50 years ago at the invitation of the Secretary General of the UN, making her the first Indian to perform at the UN and last but not the least by an institution governed by service to mankind, by bringing back the light of vision and joy as the very purpose of its existence. The high octane event started off with the inauguration of an exhibition of rare MS Amma photographs capturing the great moments in her life by Mr MJ Akbar, Minister of State External affairs, Dr SS.Badrinath Founder and Chairman Emeritus Sankara Nethralaya and Sri S.V.Acharya, President of the Ophthalmic Mission Trust Inc, the fund raising arm of Sankara Nethralaya in the USA, the specially chosen photographs capturing the rare and great moments from the life of the legend won great admiration of the attendees. The musical event began with the rendering of a set of mellifluous invocation songs by long time friend and supporter Srimathi Vanitha Sudheendranath. This was followed by some highly engaging talks on the institution, its goals, philosophy, association with MS Amma and the birth centennial celebration by Dr SS.Badrinath, Dr Vasanthi Badrinath and Dr Tarun Sharma.

The double Oscar awardee was in his elements and A.R Rehman LIVE 2016 his musical homage combined the superlative melody of his orchestra and a magnificent 3D spectacle making it a musical extravaganza never seen before, it kept a close to 1000 strong distinguished ,multinational, multiracial audience spell bound and transfixed broken only by thunderous claps. The blend of Sanskrit, Tamil reverential songs in Carnatic music and Hindustani, quawwali and Islamic songs captured the 'Universality of the Spirit' and 'oneness of God' values so close to the person in whose honour the event was being held. The high point of the show was a performance by the 'Sunshine Orchestra' a troupe consisting of underprivileged kids from Chennai, whom Sri AR Rahman complimented as 'specially privileged performers'.

The event was well covered by the local Media; we take pleasure in sharing a sample of the response it evoked from the distinguished audience.

Press coverage of Sankara Nethralaya's musical homage to MS Amma, in the US

MS Amma centenary celebrations take off to a flying start at California's Bay Area!
The yearlong MS Amma centenary celebrations being organized by the Sankara Nethralaya and the Sankara Nethralaya Ophthalmic Mission Trust, as a thanksgiving and homage to one of the institution's greatest friends and supporter got off to a great start at San Jose off the bay of the California coast. It was the fruits of more than 3 months of toil and planning and dream come true for Shri Parthasarathy Chakravarthi, Shri Ram Akella the SN OM trustees from the California chapter and Srimathi Hema Partha and their innumerable friends, well wishers and volunteers, as the screen went up at the CET Anthony Soto Theatre at 4:00pm sharp on Sunday the 10th of July 2016, marking the splendid kickoff of the yearlong centenary celebrations.
The bright evening witnessed Canatic music at its best, as well known vocalist and founder of the Ragamalika school of music Srimathi Asha Ramesh and the highly talented students of her school gave a spell binding performance to the accompaniment of Shri Jay Shankar Balan on the Violin and Shri Vignesh Venkatraman on Mridangam. If the mellifluous music was honey to the ears the poignant images of MS Amma thoughtfully displayed at the foyer by the organizers helped in capturing the glorious relationship between the virtuoso singer and the institution she cherished and supported; The images on Sankara Nethralaya's community eye care underlined the purpose of the event. The concert turned out to be a wonderful get-together for the Indian diaspora and an ideal platform for Sankara Nethralaya to express its gratitude and respect to one of its greatest supporters, create awareness on its philosophy and raise funds towards its cost free community eye care a cause which MS Amma held close to her heart; the yearlong Centenary celebrations got off with a great bang indeed!

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