It was a day of salutation to their Guru, their Alma mater on the auspicious occasion of Gurupoornima, on 12th and 13th of July, 2014, for all 83 alumni who gathered at the GRT Temple Bay, Mammallapuram that synchronized with the Silver Jubilee Celebrations.
The overjoyed group of alumni that arrived at the venue for the momentous occasion were welcomed with a colourful cultural program of dance music and variety entertainment presented by the Avigna group.
Welcoming the gathering, Dr.Natarajan, Chairman and Managing Director, Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital, Mumbai paid glorious tributes to his guru and mentor Dr.SS Badrinath. Speaking on the occasion Dr.T.S.Surendran, Vice Chairman, Sankara Nethralaya took the audience on an interesting walk through nostalgic moments spanning over 37 years at Sankara Nethralaya, when he joined for a meagre sum of Rs.750/- as salary. He showered praise on Dr.Manju Kulkarni, an alumnus of Sankara Nethralaya for the record number of surgeries that she performed spanning 30 hours without a break. He added that Sankara Nethralaya had grown big, for Dr.SS Badrinath, dreamt big and made it remarkable. Dr TS Surendran, went on to compliment that the only award pending for Dr.SS Badrinath was the Bharat Ratna.
Dr.SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus in his address observed that he was overwhelmed by the growth of the alumni members who had carved a niche for themselves. He expressed that he was highly impressed at their achievements that brought pride to Sankara Nethralaya and their strong bonding to their Alma Mater. Highlighting the noble services of illustrious alumni members Dr Mehul Shah and Dr Shreya Shah, Drashti Netralaya, Dahod, Gujarat and Dr.Muralidhar Srimat Tirumala at Bhuvaneshwar, Dr.SS Badrinath remarked that he felt deeply happy that his core aim of alleviating blindness among the downtrodden gathered momentum with them. Dr.Badrinath elaborated on the Mobile Surgical Eye Unit, an operation theatre on wheels that had delivered over 1000 cataract surgeries absolutely cost free and with nil infection rates. He appealed to the assembled alumni to reach out to the next level by imparting training. Dr. Badrinath observed that collaborative research in ophthalmology along with LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad and Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai was in the anvil. Another interesting note that he added was the Obama- Singh initiative grant that Dr.Prema Padmanabhan, Director, Cornea Services, had signed with Indiana University for Corneal studies particularly with respect to Lasik.
Releasing the book, “Recollections from A Golden Era”, Dr.Krishnan, former Anasthetist at Sankara Nethralaya, paid rich accolades to the author Dr. Ian Sundararaj, Chief Advisor- Anaesthesiology for his yeoman services and innovations that he brought about in ophthalmic anaesthesia. The occasion also witnessed awarding of the “Outstanding Teacher Award”, to Prof. N. Sundaram, father of Dr.S.Natarajan.
Delivering the SN Alumni oration, Dr. Deepak Edward, Jonas S. Friedenwald Professor of Ophthalmology and a Professor of pathology at the Wilmer Eye Institute and the Director of Research at King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia presented a fascinating talk on “Millennial Generation: Challenges and Opportunities”, subtly covering the whole gamut of characteristics and values of generations and the implications of medicine. He affirmed that both Gen Y and Gen Z hold vital potential for globalization through massive internet based collaboration. Dr. Deepak concluded his lecture that the millennial generation had to channelize their abilities to create a better world for patients through evidence based research.
The occasion saw numerable brain storming sessions on Vitreo Retina, Cornea, Uvea, Neuro, Orbital and Pediatric Ophthalmology that served as an effective knowledge exchange platform on the latest advancements. Dr.Pukhraj Rishi, Consultant, VR Department won the Dr.Nataraja Pillai Free paper award for his presentation on “Sclero Uvulectomy for leiomyoma”.
The silver jubilee celebrations concluded with all the attendees exchanging pleasantries while immensely thanking their “Guru”, for he had shown them “Never to pause, but work like a clock”, to be great achievers.