Mr Palam Kalyanasundaram hails from Tirunelveli District in the state of Tamilnadu, India. He is a great humanitarian. He practices what he preaches.
I was impressed by the article titled “Practising what he preaches” published in “The Hindu” on August 22, 2004 about this great person. I have reproduced that article here:
Practising what he preaches
|“We cannot sustain ourselves, unless we contribute to the society in someway or the other. I strongly feel if even one person does his bit towards social good, there will be some change.”|
A will to serve combined with a sense of social justice has been the guiding principle of P. Kalyanasundaram, who has spent over 45 years in social service. A gold medallist in library science, he is also an MA in literature and history. During his 35-year-career as a librarian at the Kumarkurupara Arts College at Srivaikuntam in Tuticorin district, he gave away all his salary for charity and did odd jobs to meet his daily needs. He has also come forward to donate his body and eyes to the Tirunelveli Medical College.
The Union Government has acclaimed him as `The Best Librarian in India’. He has also been chosen as `one of the top ten librarians of the world’. The International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, has honoured him as `one of the noblest of the world’ while the United Nations Organisation adjudged him as one of the Outstanding People of the 20th Century’. An American organisation has also selected him as the `Man of the Millennium.’
Mr. Kalyanasundaram, who has founded a social welfare organisation, `Paalam’, shares his experiences in a chat with Prathiba Parameswaran.
SIMPLICITY IN life and exemplariness in practice has been the hallmark of Mr. Kalyanasundaram. Born in August 1953 at Melakarivelamkulam in Tirunelveli district, he lost his father at a very young age. It was his mother, who inspired him to serve the poor.
When he was at college, the Indo-China war broke out, and he contributed his gold chain to the then Chief Minister, Kamaraj, for the war fund. At this time around, he went to meet Balasubramanian, Editor, Ananda Vikatan. “He sent me away, saying he would write about me the day I donated something I had earned myself. I did not speak a word to anyone about what I had done. I took it as a challenge,” Mr. Kalyanasundaram recalls. Ever since he got a job as a librarian in Tuticorin, he has contributed all his salary, pension benefits and ancestral property to social welfare. It was not until 1990, when he received his pension arrears and contributed it to the Collector’s Fund, that the then Tirunelveli Collector felicitated him, despite his protests. The `Paalam’ serves as a bridge between donors and beneficiaries: it collects money and materials from those willing to donate and distribute them among the weaker sections. It has also contributed to the cyclone relief funds in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, and has helped the earthquake victims in Maharashtra and Gujarat. “We cannot sustain ourselves, unless we contribute towards the society in someway or the other. I strongly feel if even one person does his bit towards social good, there will be some change,” he asserts.
Mr. Kalyanasundaram feels that one must achieve something in his chosen field. His contribution to library science is immense. A thesis he submitted as part of his post-graduate course to the Madurai Kamaraj University fetched him distinction. He has also hit upon an easy way of tracing and accessing books in libraries.
His ability to strike a rapport even with youngsters is remarkable. He cites the instance when he started wearing khadi. At college, he was required to take classes on Gandhianism. “I had to speak about simplicity and everything Gandhi stood for, but I was clad in expensive clothes. That was when I decided to switch over to khadi,” he relates. Since then he had always practised what he stood for, making himself a role model for many youths.
He was popular among college and school students, and many of them have joined his organisation.
He has long-term plans for his organisation. One is the setting up of a nationalised digital library with modern equipment, which could be accessed by people from all walks of life.
He also wants to set up an international children’s university in Tamil Nadu, with foreign aid. However, he says, a mission has a meaning only when the right people are involved in it. The Directorate of Public Libraries should recruit people with a library science background to be librarians, he says. “And good librarians should have a broad knowledge of everything.”
A person bearing a pseudonym “CHAT O CHAT :)” has posted on Facebook an article in Tamil about Mr. Kalyanasunderam. I am reproducing below that article for my Tamil friends.
அன்பு பாலம் அமைப்பின் – பெருந் தமிழர் கலியாண சுந்தரம்.
கலியாண சுந்தரம் அவர்கள் கல்லூரியில் பேராசிரியராக 35 ஆண்டுகள் பணி புரிந்தார் .மாதா மாதம் தாம் பெற்ற சம்பள பணத்தையும் முழுமையாக ஏழை மக்களுக்கு செலவழித்தார். தனது தேவைகளுக்கு உணவகத்தில் பணியாளராக வேலை செய்தார்.
உலகில் இதுவரை யாரும் செய்ததில்லை என்பதால், அமெரிக்காவில் கடந்த 1000 ஆண்டுகளுகளில் சிறந்த மனிதர் –`Man of the Millennium’ என்ற விருதிற்கு ஒரு அமைப்பினால் தேர்ந்தெடுக்கப்பட்டார் .
தனது குடும்ப சொத்தின் மூலம் கிடைத்த பணத்தையும், 5 வது ஊதிய குழுவில் மூலம் கிடைத்த விடுபட்ட ஊதிய தொகையையும் ஏழை மக்களுக்கு எழுதி வைத்து விட்டார் .
தனது எளிமையான வாழ்கையை நடத்தி மக்கள் தொண்டாற்றி வருகிறார்.
நடிகர்கள் கோடி கோடியாக ஊதியம் பெரும் பணம் யாருடையது ? ஏழைத் நீங்கள் திரைப்படம் பார்க்கும் பணம் நடிகர்களுக்கு கோடியாக கைமாறுகியது.
கொடி, தோரணம், பாலபிசேகம், விளம்பர பதாகை என்று நீங்கள் உங்கள் உழைப்பையும், பணத்தையும் நடிகர்களுக்கு கொட்டி கொடுகிறீர்கள். பதிலுக்கு அவர்கள் உங்களுக்கு என்ன கொடுகிறார்கள் தெரியமா?
- தமிழக மக்கள் போராட்டத்திற்கு எங்களை அழைக்காதீர்கள்.
- புயலால் பாதிப்பா அரசாங்கம் பார்த்து கொள்ளும் .
- எங்களிடம் எந்த விதமான உதவியையும் எதிர்பார்க்காதீர்கள்.
- நாங்கள் கலை சேவை புரிபவர்கள்.
- எங்களுக்கும் ஏழை மக்களுக்கும் எந்த தொடர்பும் இல்லை.
I believe Mr Palam Kalyanasundaram’s humanitarian efforts will impress you too.
However, while searching the media to know and write about Mr Palam Kalyanadunderam, I came across the following assertions parrotted by all the writers.
“The Union Government has acclaimed him as ‘The Best Librarian in India'”
“He has also been chosen as one of the top ten librarians of the world’.”
“The International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, has honoured him as ‘one of the noblest of the world'”
“The United Nations Organisation adjudged him as one of the Outstanding People of the 20th Century’.”
“An American organisation has also selected him as the ‘Man of the Millennium’ and presented him Rs. 30 crores.”
I don’t mean to bemoan this kind-hearted man, but I wish to know whether all these claims are indeed true. So, if true, can anyone please provide the original sources to substantiate these assertions?
- Practising what he preaches (thehindu.com)
- அன்பு பாலம் அமைப்பின் – பெருந் தமிழர் கலியாண சுந்தரம் . (facebook.com)