‘Aspire to become social entrepreneurs’
Vol 3 | Issue 4
Following is the text of the speech by P C Vinoj Kumar , Editor, The Weekend Leader on the occasion of The Weekend leader Person of the Year 2011 Award Function at VIT University, Chennai Campus on 23 January 2012
Dear Chief Guest Mr. G V Selvam, Vice President, VIT Chennai, professors, students, friends, and colleagues: It is a happy moment for all of us at The Weekend Leader to recognize and honour an unsung hero, V Venkatraman, as The Weekend Leader Person of the Year 2011.
P C Vinoj Kumar, Editor, presenting a memento to G V Selvam, Vice President, VIT Chennai
The Weekend Leader is proud to hold hands with VIT University - a name that has been associated with quality higher education, global standards and excellence - to honour Venkatraman, whose service to the poor matches the standard of humanity prescribed by any religion of this world, or by such humanitarians like the great Tamil poet-saint Thiruvalluvar .
They say annadhanam (or food donation) is the best form of charity. In no other form of charity will you hear the recipient say, ‘Enough’. But give a hungry man food, and he would say, “I have had enough. Thank you,” when his stomach is full. Feeding the poor is a form of charity where both the giver and receiver get instant satisfaction.
Venkatraman is not a rich man. But yet he sets apart a portion of his earnings for a social cause. At his modest restaurant in Erode, he serves lunch at the cost of Re.1 to about thirty poor people daily. Please note that other customers pay Rs. 40 for the same lunch.
Kalyani Rangarajan, Director, VIT Business School, Chennai, presenting mementoes to student panelists from VIT who took part in a discussion on ‘Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives’
Where there is a will there is a way. If you want to help others, nothing, not even lack of money or resources, is going to stop you from doing service. Venkatraman is an example for this noble attitude.
It is this concern for others that the youth of this country need to imbibe. When you love others as you love yourself, you transform into a different person. Not many are born with a noble heart. But when you seek to become a better person, you will not disappoint yourself. I am no saint, but I can tell you that I am inspired by those who do service, who run around for public causes, for welfare of the community, and for the well-being of posterity.
These are the people who are fighting for a better and just world, for a clean planet that would be powered by green energy. These are young people who would work hard to become rich, but would still have the time to pause, and lend their hand to those unfortunate souls who have fallen on the wayside of the highway to growth and prosperity.
The moment you look up to these great individuals, and start admiring them, there begins a change within yourself, and life takes a new direction, with new priorities and a new vision. I may sound philosophical, but this is real. It all depends on who you are looking up to, who you are with, and what you are reading that shapes your own destiny and the destiny of countless others.
The good news is that many are joining this breed of inspiring people. There are more and more men and women who are hitting the highway of entrepreneurial success and accomplishment, taking along the poor and underprivileged in their bandwagon.
U Karunanidhi, Honorary Director, Outreach, The Weekend Leader, presenting memento to Prof. Shankar Ganesan
The Weekend Leader has identified many highly educated youth, who have quit their lucrative jobs and opted to serve the community by floating business ventures, where the interests of the poor, their employment, and their socio-economic development receive top priority above all other things. While they make money, they also ensure that the lesser-privileged are also partners in their progress.
The Weekend Leader is a pioneer in Positive Journalism. We write about people who do good. We bring you the good news that the other media ignore or give less importance to.
I would like to end this speech with a call to the students of VIT to become social entrepreneurs and to constantly think of ways to make a change in the lives of the poor and the lesser privileged in the country. Thank you!