World is full of filth – filth like politicians, money mongers and warmongers, filth like drug lords and rapists and what not! Take a look around you and the first thought that will cross your mind is – ‘humanity is lost’. It is not just you who thinks that way. There are millions of people globally who have identical thoughts. But the truth is, ‘hope is never lost’. Once in a while people come out from nowhere who give us some hope, renew our faith in humanity and helps us ‘believe’ that not everything is lost.
One such man is Mr. Palam Kalyansundaram. So, who is this man and what did he do? He is the man who has donated every single penny he owned and earned throughout his lifetime to help the poor and the needy, keeping absolutely nothing for himself. No surprise he earned the title Man of the Millennium. Let us learn 20 interesting Palam Kalyansundaram facts and pay our respects to him for his deeds.
Interesting Man of the Millennium Facts: 1-10
1. Born in 1953 in Tamil Nadu’s Thirunelveli district, in a small place known as Melakarivelamkulam, Mr. P. Kalyansundaram hailed from a rich and well-off agricultural family.
2. His father died when he was very young and was raised single-handedly by his mother who played an instrumental role in inspiring him to help the poor and needy people of the society.
3. He was born with a feminine voice and was very ashamed of the same. He was so much disgusted by his voice that he thought of ending his life but luckily he met a person named Thamizhvaanan.
4. It was Thamizhvaanan (who authored several books on self-improvement) who gave him a very vital piece of advice. He said, “Don’t bother about how you speak. Strive to make others speak good about you.”
5. That advice changed Mr. Kalyansundaram’s view towards life forever and he dedicated himself towards the welfare of the needy and impoverished children.
6. Struck by the noble cause of social service, he started the International Children’s Welfare Organization when he was still an undergraduate from Madras University.
7. During the Sino-Indian war of 1962, the then Prime Minister of India, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru asked all Indians to donate so that the money could be used to help the Indian Army. It was then that Mr. P. Kalyansundaram donated his gold chain to help build up the National Defence Fund. This generosity immediately pushed him to the columns of local newspaper.
8. Mr. Kalyansundaram thought that the news of his donation will encourage others to donate but he was wrong. He met the editor of newspaper, Mr. S. Balasubramanian who considered his act as a mere publicity stunt and challenged Mr. Kalyansundaram to continue such donations for 5 years straight in order to prove his sincerity towards the cause.
9. Mr. Kalyansundaram, despite his feminine voice, turned out to be man of steel. He completed his studies and became a gold medalist in Library Science and also earned an MA in Literature and History, earned a job as a college librarian against a salary of ₹ 140 per month.
10. Of the total salary he earned, he kept ₹ 40 for himself and donated the remaining ₹ 100 for the social cause. Time passed and 5 years were over but he did not stop.
Interesting Man of the Millennium Facts: 11-20
11. He wanted to know what it is like to be a poor and in his quest, he slept of pavements and railway stations and realized a lot more than he expected. At some point during his service he decided to give away 100% of his salary for the social cause.
12. There is a saying – ‘live today to fight some other day’. He had no money left to sustain himself so, he took up additional part time jobs which were odd in every sense. He did laundry for other people and worked in hotels for his own sustenance and kept donating 100% of his salary as a librarian to the poor and needy children.
13. He continued doing this for next 30 years of his service at Kumarkurupara Arts College without anyone even knowing about it. In 1990 however, he came to limelight once again. University Grants Commission paid him ₹ 10 lakhs as arrears which he donated towards the cause and didn’t keep a single penny for himself.
14. When he handed over the money to the district collector, he (the collector) made it public through media and the entire world came to know about this Samaritan who worked in shade for nearly 3 decades without demanding anything in return.
15. With the news flashing out, people worldwide were awestruck. The Union Government rewarded him as ‘India’s best librarian’.
16.The International Biographical Centre, Cambridge acknowledged him as one of the ‘noblest of the world’.
17. United Nations came forward too and recognized him as ‘one of the most outstanding people of the 20th century’.
18. An American organization came forward and awarded Mr. Kalyansundaram with the title ‘Man of the Millennium’. Not just that, Mr. Kalyansundaram received ₹ 30 crores as award money.
19. As expected, he donated his entire award money for the cause he stood up for this entire life.
20. According to Mr. Kalyansundaram, money is something that has never impressed him. He holds the view that money can be earned in three ways – self earning, bequeathed earnings and donation money but donating money out of one’s own earning for charity is far more fulfilling than anything else in this world. He also says that when someone leaves this Earth forever, he or she is not going to carry all the riches along.
It is a shame on us Indians that we feel happy and elated at heart when we learn about Sachin Tendulkar or Shah Rukh Khan or Salman Khan or may be Sunny Leone but most of us don’t even know about people like Mr. Kalyansundaram who dedicate their entire lives for reviving our faith in humanity. Celebrities should never be our heroes because they live for themselves. On the contrary, people like Mr. Kalyansundaram should be the ones receiving nationwide honor because they are the ones who make the real difference. I am awestruck by this man. Are you? Leave a reply and let us know what you think.