ARE INDIVIDUALS POWERFUL? 2nd Part of Development of Tamil Culture (Post No.4016)

ARE INDIVIDUALS POWERFUL? 2nd Part of Development of Tamil Culture (Post No.4016)

 

Written by London Swaminathan
Date: 19 June 2017
Time uploaded in London- 20-33
Post No. 4016
Pictures are taken from various sources such as Face book, Wikipedia and newspapers; thanks.
contact: swami_48@yahoo.com

 

This is the second part of my (London swaminathan’s)  speech at the first Anniversary of Mitra Seva, UK held on Saturday 17th June 2017 in London. First part was published yesterday.

 

Individuals are also powerful in fighting against injustice. As part of my charity work I have succeeded in a few instances. Once I saw  an advertisement with a picture of Yogasana in Metro Newspaper, London with a big caption Yogasana is Rubbish. It was an advertisement for some tablets for head ache. I got upset because it maligned the Yogasana which is part of Hindu meditation. I wrote to the Editor of the newspaper and there was no reply from him. As a journalise I knew who to complain. I sent the complaint to the Press Commission and then they did proper enquiry and made the paper to apologise to me and then the advertisement was banned for ever.

Charities and Individuals can do good work.

 

I have been collecting stamps for over 50 years, over half a century,  and still I am collecting. Every year Britain and other Christian countries release stamps in November or December on Christian themes. Few years back I bought the Christmas stamps and was surprised to see a Hindu woman with Tilak on her forehead. I wrote to Royal Mail asking “what a Hindu lady is doing  among Christian worshippers and is it not openly encouraging conversions?” The Royal mail wrote to me back saying it was approved by a committee and they can’t withdraw the stamps but apologised to me. I took the matter to Hindu Forum of Britain whose Secretary General Ramesh kallidai convened a Press conference and flashed the news of opposition to the stamps. My letter with my name was published on the first page of monthly stamp magazine. So individuals are as powerful as charitable organisations. We should not sit back and grumble when injustice happens.

 

Very recently Five pounds currency notes in Britain were made up with animal fat. We opposed it on behalf of Hindu Forum of Britain. British Government said it can’t withdraw the notes and already ten pound notes are also ordered with the same materials, but from twenty pounds notes onwards it would be VEGETARIAN currency notes!

 

Another wrong notion about charitable work also irked me much. People think that if someone comes into a committee or taking a post in an organisation, they think it is for name and fame or to help their family members to get a stage to show their talents. It is not the case with everybody. Some people derive pleasure in watching TV shows, films or reading novels etc. And in the same way, I derive pleasure in doing social service/ community service.

 

I can give you one or two interesting anecdotes from my life. I employed a teacher to teach Sanskrit and paid him every month from the charity fund, since I received some funding. One day he came to me when there was no one else around and asked me if I would be angry if he put some question regarding funding.

I told him that there shouldn’t be any problem and told him to fire the question.

He asked me, Sir what is the percentage of commission you get or take from each meeting that you organise?

(Since I was holding key posts in four London organisations simultaneously over two decades and holding one meeting every week, he got this doubt!)

I thanked him wholeheartedly for putting that wonderful question:

“Mr S, thank you very much for opening your mouth/heart. If you were not bold enough to ask this question, you would be suspecting me all through your life. I never take a single penny. For every even,t I pay the entrance fee as well.  I might have used one or two A 4 sheets or envelopes from the charity stationary at home. But my family spend more money from their own pockets just to support my charity work. My son drives me to all the events and he never took money for the petrol or for his vauable time.”

 

Once I had an encounter with my wife. Great archaeologist and historian Dr Nagasamy used to visit London every year to deliver lectures in the  British Museum and V and A museum. When he came to London with his wife who lead a drama troupe of girls, she could not use public transport for the fear of escalators in London Tube stations. Probably she had a very bad accident in the Underground escalator. When he told me this problem, I offered to bring her fresh vegetarian food every day. My wife also cooked for them without any hesitation. Seeing my great enthusiasm and punctuality in the task, one day she stopped me and told, “hey, you are hiding something from me? are they not related to you? you have never told me about it”. I was laughing and laughing and asked her what made her to ask such a question. Who else would do it if one is not related? she said to me. So, people may suspect you if you do such work continuously with great enthusiasm. But I do it for ‘Atma trupti’ for self satisfaction. I derive great pleasure in it.

 

Now we have an example here in Mitra seva. They don’t have any elderly relative in this country and yet they do this self-less service. We must support such work.

 

Pitfalls in Community Services

 

 

There are some pitfalls in this Charity work.

 

It is a thankless job. Not many people come to you and say ‘thanks’. But they are ready to find small mistakes and criticize you. So, please make it a point to thank one who does good work.

 

You should not be too open as well. Dr Dandapani was a  great supporter. After every meeting, he will ring me at 7-30 am the following morning and say all the plus and minus points. One day he even chided me for being very open and listing all the funding during Vote of Thanks. He told me it was foolish to do such a thing because not all the people are good and they may suspect something else.

 

( I knew what he meant. One’s self-less service may be mistaken and they may think that anyone would do such a thing if they have so much funding.) So we don’t need to tell everyone everything. I have learnt a lesson.

 

Very recently I had a difficult task of sending three funeral notices because one death came after another. They approached me to send the notice to all the community members. I did it without any hesitation. One of them was not known to me very well. They were just acquaintances. But in the crematorium, the woman who lost her husband, told me, ‘Mr Swaminathan you have done a great help to my family’. I never expected such  thanks in the crematorium that too from the bereaved family. That one ‘thanks’ is worth over thousand pounds!

 

Thank you.

LIST OF PEOPLE INTERVIWED AS PART OF ORAL HISTORY OF TAMIL ARTISTES IN LONDON.

Under Tamil Oral History Project , funded by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, London sath sangam ( I was the secretary at that time and I drew the project and executed it to the satisfaction of the funders) 30 people were interviewed for 20 to 40 minutes each. The summary of which was put on a CD and sent to all the important libraries and the interviewees and the artistes; Following 30 artistes who stayed in Brittan for over 25 years or did the service for over 25 years narrated their experience. I think we did this project in 2004.

1.Mrs.Premaleela Ganesan (vocal & Veena)

  1. Mrs Sarojini Sudaresan (vocal)
  2. Mrs Kokila Thangarasa (vocal)
  3. Mrs Padmini Gunaseelan (Dance)
  4. Mrs Sukirthakala Kadaksham ((vocal & Violin)
  5. Mrs Vijayambikai Indrakumar (Dance)
  6. Mrs Sita Venkatraman (vocal and Acting in Dramas)
  7. Mrs Latha Murthy ( Acting in Dramas)
  8. Mrs Thusyanthy Thyagaraja (Dance)
  9. Mrs Kala Yogaraja (Vocal)
  10. Mrs Saraswathy Bagyaraja (Violin)
  11. Mrs Geetha Sridhar (Dance)
  12. Mrs Pavithra Mahesh (Vocal & Veena)
  13. Mrs Harini Raghu (Vocal)
  14. Mrs Annapurani Sathyamurthy (Dance)
  15. Mrs Laksmi Jayan (Vocal and Violin)
  16. Mrs Sivasakthi Sivanesan (Vocal and Veena)
  17. Mrs Pushkala Gopal (Dance)
  18. Mr Umesh (Light Music)

20.Mr Kothandapani (Violin)

  1. Dr Musaffar (Light Music)
  2. Mr Bala Ravi (Poet)
  3. Mr Murali (Acting in Dramas)
  4. Mr. Muthukumar Sivarajah (Mridangam)
  5. Mr P K Ramakrishnan (Acting in Dramas)
  6. Mr Karaikkudi Krishnamurthy (Mridangam)
  7. Mr Manickam Yogeswaran (Vocal)
  8. Mr Sathyamurthy (Light Music)

29.Mr Balendra (Acting in Dramas)

  1. Mr Unnikrishnan ( Dance)

 

Here is the updated list of my charity work where I raised money for different projects.  I hope this this will help others to get the funding:

 

 

PROJECTS

ELDERLY CARE PROJECT

LUNCHEON CLUB

TEACHING TAMIL

TEACHING SANSKRIT

POETRY PROJECT

PUBLISHING COMMUNITY NEWS LETTER

SINDHI CULTURE and Language Teaching

FIRST AID EACHING THROUGH Ethnic Minority LANGUAGES

Two funds for two different organisations in different years: a)  Peabody Trust through Millennium Grants for £3000;  World Hindu Mahasangam – £5000 from Awards for All

ESOL Classes for women – £3000 from Peabody Trust

Fitness Women for Tamil Women – £3000 from the Pea Body trust

Fitness for the Elderly -£1500 from the Age Concern

London Arts Council  Funding for Sindi mandhir – £7500

Buying a SOUND SYSTEM

CORONARY HEART DISEASES: EDUCATION & PREVENTION PROJECT—Grant Received £ 10,000 from City & East London FHSA, 1995

LONDON TAMIL SANGAM (LTS)  BUILDING  EXTENSION – £10,000 FROM City and Parochial Foundation, 1997

Elderly Care Project for LTS: £6000 from Bridge House Trust Fund, 1998

Tamil Elders Luncheon Club for LTS – £6500 per year for four years from  1997 from New Ham Social Services

 

TAMIL BOOKS DIGITIZATION: I got a small funding for Tamil Heritage  Foundation to digitize ten old books from the British Library in London. They are available even now in T H F site.

TAMIL HERITAGE (Oral History)  PROJECT: We interviewed thirty artistes in London who have settled here 25 years ago to record the history and development of Tamil culture in London. The recordings were put on a CD and the CDs were distributed to the libraries.

MILLENNIUM GEM PROJECT : This is to give another chance to showcase their talents who have already staged their debut show and let it to get rusted.

Internet for the Elderly at LSS —£ 5000 from Awards for all

Vegetarian Cookery Demo Classes

Fitness Through Dance

To celebrate Mental Health Day

To celebrate Black History Month

Two Dramas by us raised funds for SIS and B V Bhavan

 

 

RECENTLY I WAS ON THE  SOUVENIR COMIITEE OF  Nagapooshani Amman temple in London

RELIGIOUS EVENTS are organised by WHM Sagam

 

(For Bharatiya Viddhya Bhavan we staged a Tamil Drama and raised over 1500 pounds. We staged a Tamil drama for South Indian Society and raised over 1500 pounds. I took the main roles in both the dramas.

 

WHO FUNDED US?

Amrit Vela Trust (for buying small equipments)

 

Awards for all

National Lottery

Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Harrow Council (for Black History Month)

New Ham council

Camelot foundation

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Peabody Trust

Bridgewater Trust

City and East London FHSA

City Parochial Foundation

The Millennium Commission

Health Education Authority

C E M V O

London Arts Council

Age Concern

 

–Subham–

 

 

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