TO SERVE THE “UNSERVED”
“God entrusts power, position, money into hands of those who are capable of handling them with utmost care, be a custodian, with diligence, in trusteeship. To be in God’s land to do that work is all the more, a blessing in disguise”.
He finished schooling in 1984, from a Government School, then finished his college from The Karur Polytechnic College, Karur in 1988. He is very humble, down to earth, unassuming, with guy next door looks, one can never think of what he has achieved to reach to the people who don’t come under any scheme, remain unserved. It’s not where we come from, BUT WHAT WE DO, determines one’s life’s journey.
SEPTEMBER 2017, from unknown and unexpected quarters, for no rhyme or reason suddenly three youngsters in ibernated state, on a two wheeler, pushed him onto the ground, alarm was raised and they were caught by the security people on time. When they were handed over to the local police station, to check if they had any criminal background and intentions, later let off as he didn’t lodge a FIR against the 3 youngsters. It was found during interrogation, that since he also had worn a blue shirt that day and walking from his bungalow to the office, the gang of three mistook him for another person, who also had worn a blue shirt that day, with whom they have had drunken brawl and fight. This incident was an assumed threat to his life reported by the media then.
DECEMBER 2017, Monisha who got 491/500 was the topper in the district in the tenth standard, where he was the chief guest to give away the prize. When he asked her what her ambitions were, she told him, in future she dreamt to become like him. Immediately he took her to his car and made her sit in the front and stood next to her with folded hands to encourage her to chase her dream and get motivated further to work hard, in studies.
JANUARY 2018, Ramakrishnan aged 11 years, was playing outside his home in Jai Beam Nagar, suddenly his younger brother started throwing waste, twigs, dried leaves, on the road who never heeded to the elder brother’s pleadings to stop. This 11-year-old boy took it upon himself to clear the dirtied road by breaking a tree branch and cleaned the area voluntarily. When this was reported in the local paper, he came to know about the boy’s good deeds asked his PA to get more information about the boy. He went straight to the boy’s school at 1.30 PM, gave him a surprise to appreciate in person, by calling him in front of the classroom, for his attitude and cleaning the public place voluntarily. He gave a bouquet to the boy and praised the boy for his social perception, a role model to be an inspiration to the other boys too.
MARCH 2018, In a get-together organised by all the students, after a gap of 30 years, by inviting all his teachers of Karur Polytechnic College, who have also had held different positions later, after he finished college, made them all to come together, asked them to rise on the dais and prostrated before them, as his thanks-giving.
MAY 2018, In a place called Vengikal, in thendral nagar, there was a home run for girls, who were orphaned or with single parent, seeing the state of the girls being malnourished and not looked after properly in a cramped place, he sensed that all is not well. Also in the adjacent street there was a Boy’s Hostel where it housed 15 boys’ despite not having any permission to run such homes. He immediately ordered closure of these homes and sent the children to respective Government run homes.
SEPTEMBER 2018, In a heart-warming incident, he helped a 19-year-old woman, Anandhi, secure a Government job at Kanikilupai village in the district, who had a younger sister and brother to look after. Orphaned at a young age, with their grandmother passing a month back. They were living in abject poverty, with very meagre income and no support from relatives as they thought of them to be a burden. Her mother was an organizer in the noon meal scheme and father a handloom worker who passed away in 2014 and 2017. Ever since Anandhi was working in a farm to provide for her siblings. On a petition submitted by Anandhi, on a possibility of getting a Government job like her mother, he forwarded her petition to Secretariat if age could be relaxed to appoint Anandhi as an organizer in TN Nutritious Meal Scheme programme. Government approved her appointment and he handed over the appointment letter in person by visiting her home and had lunch with them by sitting on the floor. He also helped Anandhi enrol in a U/G course via distance education university. He also handed over an order to construct a new house for the orphaned children under the Government free house scheme.
NOVEMBER 2018, In a missionary run home called Mercy Adaikalapuram, about 50 girls from age ranging from 5 to 22, who were kept in a pitiable condition, were sexually abused and their complaints raised, they were hushed and beaten by the director’s brother. Once he heard that rules were being flouted and violated he went on a surprise check. To his dismay he found that, neither the bathrooms had doors, nor the girls had any privacy to change clothes. He was shocked. Once he knew the director of the home aged 65 years also resided in the same building he became suspicious and initiated an enquiry. He immediately took action after knowing that Luban kumar had purposely removed the doors of all the bathrooms as he had a window from his room attached to the bathroom, he would see the girls bathing and he had set up a CCTV camera in the hall where they changed clothes and would watch them from his room. First he shifted all the girls to the safety of a Government Home, once ensconced, they opened up to him, with all the wrong doings of Luban Kumar. He immediately lodged a complaint against luban kumar, his wife mercy and his brother under Juvenile Justice Act and POCSO Act. The missionary home was also sealed.
The second incident, was when a 17-year-old, Vidhya approached him along with her maternal aunt with a petition, she didn’t want to get married to a 25-year-old tailor, a marriage fixed by her mother heeding to the ill-advices from relatives, whose father passed away at a young age. When her efforts went vain, she approached him 10 days before marriage. He stopped her marriage immediately, counselled the girl’s mother and relatives explaining the issues related to child marriage. He suggested that vidhya could join nursing college he would arrange for three lakhs rupees for fees and other expenses. He got her enrolled at a Nursing college at Vandavasi. Vidhya felt proud by the kind-hearted person’s gesture.
Third incident, an old couple approached him saying that their sons are not taking care of them as they had already given the acres of agricultural lands to their sons. But the sons didn’t take care of parents, didn’t feed them but beat them up. They approached him to help them. He immediately thought of teaching their sons lessons of their life to care for elders, re-transferred back to their respective names, as the sons failed to maintain their parents as per The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007.
It’s not only this, when a differently abled person had to go for dialysis who wanted a free bus pass, as free bus passes are given only when they are employed and not otherwise. He spoke to private bus operators and got the bus pass done for him. He has helped students to get into colleges be it management seat without donation, or normal seat, he ensured that all the 3 or 4 years’ education fees are taken care of, so that their education doesn’t get interrupted. He also opines, that lots of girls are wanting to study and better their lives.
The credits of all these incidents goes to Sri. K.S. KANDASWAMY, IAS, (BATCH 2009) COLLECTOR, Thiruvannamalai District, home to many sidhars’, yogis’, very many ashrams. He took charge of his official duties on 31s AUGUST 2017, prior to that he had a stint, at the Corporation of Chennai, Chennai. On a tele conversation with him, when raised an issue about the lighting lamp at the hill top, this is what he said, “the temple-hill where the lamp is lit is considered as the abode and personification of Lord Shiva himself which is said in the puranas. Even climbing the hill is akin to climbing on the head of the idol in the inner sanctum sanctorum. The hill should not be climbed with foot wear. Basically the lighting of lamps is solely done by the fishermen community ever since time immemorial. During the month of the karthighai, on the deepam day, the full moon day, every year not only locals climbed the hill top for lighting the lamp, there were also relatives and other people coming from far flung places. This created an ecological imbalance because the hill is basically a forest reserve area. With the unexpected influx of people to the hill, the water men and other vendors start to take their items, for stalls, on the way to the hill top way even before two days. Not only that they charged exorbitantly, fleecing the public to the tune of Rs.200 per water bottle as against 20 per bottle. There is a spring with natural water which the people and animals drink from. The water vendors started abusing the natural spring by placing cow dung cakes one time and another time poured crude oil, so that no one could drink the spring water but had to buy the expensive water bottles. Other vendors too started misusing the hill for their benefit. Not only that, porcupines became extinct and the deer’s died by drinking the contaminated water from the spring. To stop misuse of the hill, not to cause more damage to the flora and fauna, balance ecology, protect natural environment, he restricted the number of people climbing the hill top on the said day. From last year he started the system of issuing tokens to people who want to climb the hill which is about 2500 people/tokens. In 2017, there were 750 people and in 2018 there were 1400 people. Then to enable the people to give ghee for the lamp, he arranged three counters at the foot of the hill, collected the ghee bottles gave them a receipt for the same. This way he could restrict the people climbing the hill just to pour ghee into the lamp”.
“The other turn around he did was towards the Anna dhaanam, which was offered at the choultries on the way to the temple for the pilgrims who travel and come there at the time of the deepam. Apart from that there were food offered by people on the roadside prepared by them to serve to people who are visiting the temple. Public started creating nuisance by eating and throwing the empty plates on the road, when they found food not up to their taste, sometimes stale, they used to throw the food like sundal, Pongal etc., where ever they are, there by dirtying the place with no civic sense, discipline at all. He sought to a solution that there will be 7 places where Anna dhaanam will be arranged and food will be given. Food quality will be checked by a Government official, before distribution, it will be close to a water point and rest room. This way they could contain the misuse of the public roads and places to maintain them clean. Every time when people thronged the temple and hill, aftermath cleaning took a long time and there were 250 people from NGO, who used to spruce up the place and it was time consuming too. This year for all those who came to the temple to manage them, there were 3000 self-help group ladies on vigil, to educate, discipline, the people not to litter on the roads, leading to the temple and hill. 3000 ladies worked in three shifts of 1000 women each, on the deepam day alone”.
When asked what motivates him, this is what he said, “Helping tendency is inherent in him and It’s to reach, cover, SERVE the UNSERVED PEOPLE, in the area who haven’t been included in any scheme. When people come to meet him, they shouldn’t go back EMPTY HANDED, whatever is in ones’ might, you will have the immense satisfaction of getting it DONE. We SALUTE you sir, for all that you have done to the people of Thiruvannaamalai.
Amongst your ilk YOU ARE UNIQUE AND A RARITY SIR, WISHING YOUR JOURNEY TO CONTINUE, WITHOUT INTERVENTIONS AND HURDLES TO SERVE THE UNSERVED!!
VIJAYASHREE RAMESH, CHENNAI BASED ADVOCATE.