The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called upon the citizens to do away with single-use plastics and clean local communities of littered plastics.
Speaking at the 150th Birth Anniversary of Shri Dharmamurthi Rao Bahadur Calavala Cunnan Chetty at the Centenary Auditorium, University of Madras in Chennai today, he referred to the call given by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to end single-use plastics and said “I think it is a very welcome appeal”.
Urging the citizens to support it, he said “It will be our humble tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. It will be in consonance with the ideals espoused by Shri Calavala Cunnan Chetti Garu,” he added.
Paying glowing tributes to Dharmamurthi Rao Bahadur Calavala Cunnan Chetty for the philanthropic work undertaken by him during the pre-Independence time, Shri Naidu complimented the Trustees for earnestly carrying forward his legacy and noble vision for the welfare of the society.
The Vice President said that Shri Calavala Cunnan Chetty singularly took up the mission of social upliftment of society when the country was under colonial rule and there were hardly any social welfare schemes run by the Government.
He opined that it was necessary to recognize the contribution of wealth creators and wealth distributors like Chetty guru who not only provide revenue to the Government and create jobs, but also contribute to social good.
The Vice President said that all business enterprises have a social context and referred to earmarking of 2 per cent of their profitis for CSR activities by bigger companies.
Lauding the commendable support given by certain corporate bodies to the Swachch Bharat mission and for promotion of socially relevant programmes, Shri Naidu said that much more needs to be done. The CSR projects must be result oriented and community-driven so that it becomes a sustainable movement.
Pointing out that world over the phenomenon of socially relevant business was growing, he said global corporations have set up Foundations to carry forward philanthropic work.
Stressing the need to imbibe the values of charity, empathy, compassion, and voluntarism in students from an early age, he said that schools and educational institutions must empower students to grow into ideal citizens of the society who would be responsive and responsible towards larger community.
Observing that schools must become resource centers for the local community, Shri Naidu said that they should do voluntary community work and must focus on issues like social and gender justice, family health, cleanliness, child labour, environmental protection and preservation of natural resources.
Opining that language was the medium of expression of our thoughts and emotions and that the literature in each language was rich and varied, Shri Naidu wanted people to learn as many languages as possible without neglecting their own mother tongue.
“Our languages can bring us together. They will help us increase our own knowledge and lead to wider appreciation of diverse ideas,” he added.
Observing that it was essential to make the medium of instruction, at least upto Class 5 in the local language or mother tongue to make education inclusive and universal, Shri Naidu said that such a step would help young minds to grasp concepts easily.
He called for steps to encourage the use of Indian languages in education by providing quality books and recruiting Indian language teachers wherever feasible.
He also released a postal stamp to commemorate the centenary year.
The Governor of Tamil Nadu, Shri Banwarilal Purohit, the Minister for Fisheries and Personnel & Administrative Reforms, Tamil Nadu, Shri Jayakumar, the Chief Postmaster General, Shri M. Sampath, the President of Darmamurthi Rao Bahadur Calavala Cunnan Chetty Charities, Shri M. Venkatesaperumal and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
Following is the text of Vice President’s address:
“It is an honour to associate with this momentous occasion and preside over the 150th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of the celebrated philanthropist, Dharmamurthi Rao Bahadur Calavala Cunnan Chetty Garu. This milestone of the Centenary of the Charity, also coincides with the Golden Jubilee of the aided institutions Dharmamurthi Rao Bahadur Calavala Cunnan Chetty’s Hindu College and the Seetha Kingston House Matriculation Higher Secondary School.
Dharmamurthi Rao Bahadur Calavala Cunnan Chetty Garu lived by the celebrated dictum of Thiruvalluvar “Puththezh ulagaththum indum Peralaride, Oppuravin nalla pira” – Nothing is better than the joy of benevolence and charity either in this world or Heaven.”
I congratulate the Trustees who have earnestly and conscientiously been carrying forward his legacy, his noble vision for the welfare of the society. I also extend my appreciation to each and every one who is associated with their efforts to realize the founder’s noble vision.
Sri Cunnan Chetty Garu set an inspiring example for the future generations of entrepreneurs and business leaders. He lived by the Indian tradition of “Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Niramaya, Sarve Bhadrani Pashanyu, Ma Kashchid Dukh-bhagbhavet” encapsulating the Indian ethical philosophy of ‘Share and Care’ which prays for welfare and well being of all.
Impressed with his commitment towards society, his contemporary, the great poet Subramanya Bharathi praised Sri Chetty Garu for establishing “Dharma” and spirit of equality among religions in his educational institutions. His another illustrious contemporary Dr Annie Besant, posthumously conferred the title of ’Dharmamurthi’ on him.
Dear Sisters and brothers,
Shri Chetty was a multi-faceted person. A firm believer and ardent supporter of indigenous medicine, he established an Ayurvedic hospital besides arranging for free distribution of milk to needy children, monthly financial assistance to widows and destitutes, nutritious food every-day for hundreds of hungry students, educational scholarships and medical aid to deserving patients. He generously supported restoration of temples and places of worship. Most importantly, he established educational institutions to provide quality education to thousands of aspiring students.
Sri Cunnan Chetty Garu’s vision was to transform the lives of innumerable youth, empowering them and enlightening them with knowledge and education. In our tradition, it is said about knowledge “Daane naiv kshayam yaati vidya ratnam maha-danam” i.e. Knowledge is the supreme wealth which is not reduced even if you gift it. Knowledge only expands with sharing.
Shri Cunnan Chetti Garu proved that by establishing charity educational schools, he only multiplied the wealth of knowledge.
Our society has had many philanthropists but certainly, we need more Charities and Trusts to come forward and establish institutions delivering social services like education and health.
The Government is currently in the process of finalizing the New Education Policy. Its vision is to provide “an India-centred education system that contributes directly to transforming our nation into an equitable and vibrant knowledge society, by providing high quality education to all…”
The draft Policy encourages philanthropic institutions in the field of school education. It says “Private philanthropic schools must be encouraged and freed of regulatory overload”. It is a commendable objective that must be pursued by all the stakeholders in education with all earnestness.
To make education really inclusive and universal, it is proposed in the draft policy that the medium of instruction, at least upto Class 5, would be local language or mother tongue. This will help young minds to grasp concepts easily and help them to express themselves. The draft policy proposes to encourage use of Indian Languages in education, by providing quality books in Indian languages and by recruiting Indian language teachers wherever feasible.
Language is the medium of expression of our thoughts and emotions. Every Indian language is venerable. The literature in each language is rich and varied. We should learn as many languages as possible without neglecting our own mother tongue. Our languages can bring us together. They will help us increase our own knowledge and wider appreciation of diverse ideas.
I am glad that the students who study in these educational institutions imbibe the values of charity, empathy, compassion and voluntarism. I am sure that they will grow into ideal citizens of the society who will be responsive and responsible towards larger community. Schools should be resource centers for the local community. They should do voluntary community work and provide solutions to issues like social and gender justice, family health and cleanliness, child labour and environment protection or preservation of natural resources like water and soil etc.
Recently, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day address, has given a call to clean our surroundings and do away with the use of single use plastic. I think it is a very welcome appeal. As citizens, we must support it and clean our local communities of littered plastics. It will be our humble tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. It will be in consonance with the ideals espoused by Shri Calavala Cunnan Chetti Garu.
Today, Dharmamurthi Rao Bahadur Calavala Cunnan Chetty’s Charities completes a hundred years. I am pleased to learn that the Trustees have religiously followed Sri Cunnan Chetty Garu’s lofty ideals, nurturing his vision and spearheading his many magnanimous initiatives. As Adi Shankara in his Prashnottara Ratnamalika explains “Ka Preyasi Vidheya? Karuna Deeneshu Sajjane maîtri” – What should be our favourite endeavour? Compassion for poor and friendship of good people”. This Charity has its origins in this approach.
Sisters and brothers,
In every tradition, charity is the most exalted of social virtues. In Bhagwat Gita it is said that “ Giving Charity without expectation, at right place and time and to deserving person, is known as Satvik Dana.” Let me once again refer to the eternal wisdom of Thirukkural. It says : Thalarrith Thanda Porulellam Thakkarkku, Velanmai Seydar Poruttu”- i.e. All wealth earned by hard work and honesty is meant for meeting the needs of deserving.
As we gather on this occasion to honour the legacy of Chetty garu’s social service, we must also realize when Shri Calavala Cunnan Chetty Garu almost singularly took up the mission of social upliftment of society, our country was under colonial rule and there were hardly any social welfare schemes run by the Government. It was a society that was constricted by its own superstitions and obscurantist beliefs. It is indeed commendable that in such difficult times, he created a chain of charitable institutions.
It is necessary that we recognize the contribution of wealth creators and wealth distributors like Chetty garu. They not only provide revenue to the Government and jobs to our educated youth, but they also contribute to social good.
Dear Sisters and brothers,
Mahatma Gandhi recognized the role of the philanthropists in nation building. He saw them as Trustees of public good. He asked them to shun the ownership of their wealth and instead, hold it in public trust for the welfare of country and community. Their wealth was not meant for the leisure of their family alone. It was for the welfare of larger family of mankind- an ideal inspired by our age old vision of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam. Adi Shankra defines the Ultimate Truth as “Bhootam hitam”- “Welfare of all the living beings”. Sri Cunnan Chetty Garu actually realized this Ultimate Truth and dedicated his entire life to charitable activities intended to provide welfare to and promote well being of fellow human beings.
We must realize that all business enterprises essentially have a social context. Bigger companies are now earmarking 2% of their profit for projects under Corporate Social Responsibility. I recognize the commendable support given by certain Corporate bodies to the Swachch Bharat mission. I am glad that many Corporate bodies are also making significant contribution to promotion of socially relevant programmes. However, much more needs to be done. The CSR projects must be result oriented and community-driven so that it becomes a sustainable movement.
We all know that world over, the phenomenon of socially relevant business is growing. Global corporations have set up Foundations to carry forward philanthropic work.
Recently I visited an educational institution at Indore which is run by an old Trust formed by the local association of cloth merchants and traders of Indore. Even small businesses at local level can come together to take up philanthropic work for local community. One can do charity projects associated with one’s own trade, they can train young students in the trade, this will give a huge boost to skilling our young students.
Sisters and brothers,
I am extremely happy to be a part of this function today morning. It gives me the optimism that the spirit of philanthropy will continue to grow and we will have more individuals and institutions like Shri Chetty garu in the coming years.
I compliment the Trustees of the charities for their devotion and dedication, to many of the illustrious old students who continue to be associated with the school and countless well wishers who are continuing Chetty garu’s noble mission.
I am happy that the Postal department has brought out a postal stamp to commemorate the centenary year.
I wish the Trust all the very best in its future activities