Professor N.S.Ramaswamy (February '99)
Every morning, at 7.30 an elderly man, with a white flowing beard, can be seen in the 6th Block, walking stick in hand, woolen cap on the head, wearing a kurta and pyjama, taking a walk on the street by the side of the Club. He could be any of those scores of senior citizens, for whom the morning walk down the many quiet streets of Koramangala, is a ritual. Inhaling the fresh air on a nippy morning - these are some of the pleasures of retired life. A few yards further, this man turns into a vast plot of land, which from the outside resembles a forest of sorts. This is the Animal Shelter and Clinic run by CARTMAN, a name board that one sees so often in Koramangala. But that elderly man is not retired by any means. And neither is this a routine walk. He is there with a purpose. And that purpose is to see each morning, how his dream project is shaping up. And that senior citizen is the very famous and knowledgeable, Professor N.S.Ramaswamy.
For the last 40 years, he has been all out to achieve what is closest to his heart. Animal Welfare, Livestock, Rural Development and protection of the Environment. In this pursuit, he has rubbed shoulders with many dignitaries, not just in India, but all over the world. He has sat on many a dias and lectured on an array of subjects, to audiences all over the globe. At first, the immediate conclusion one draws is that he is something to do with agriculture or farming. It's true, in a way. But his knowledge and experience goes beyond just that. His bio-data is not that of a normal person, which at best would run into 2-3 pages of typed text. The Professor has so many portfolios attached to his name that he has a 4-page printed bio-data given as a hand out. That's his visiting card.
However, Professor Ramaswamy has his apprehensions. "I have so many projects that can save the country hundreds of crores of rupees. I have written to all concerned. Spoken to those who matter. I get tons of appreciation and accolades for my efforts, but not a penny by way of funds to keep these projects going," he says, a bit depressed, but not one to throw in the towel. So, how does he manage, what with a fully staffed office and people to work at the Animal Shelter? "Some money is being given by the State Government and a few other welfare boards around the country. But it is not sufficient and I have to put the rest from my pocket, which I am able to get from the many lectures I am called to deliver, from time to time."
His wish is to complete the projects on hand. But, inadequate funds have slowed down the pace. And yet, this has not dampened the spirit of his dedicated staff and his wife, who play a major role in these activities. "There's not much time left for me," he says with a concern in his voice. He is 74, but his enthusiasm has not waned one bit. And while Professor's communion with Nature continues, he goes about the process of achieving whatever he can, with whatever funds he can manage, at times, scraping the bottom of the barrel. One thing is for sure. Whether his dream of a "Garden of Eden" comes by or not, he has shown not only Koramangalites, but to the rest of Mankind, that there is a lot one can achieve if there is self belief and earnestness.
And as he walks back towards home, three small children run upto him. His hand goes into his kurta pocket from where he extracts a few pieces of bread. He hands these over to the children and the smiles on their faces denote the extent of their happiness. "Give them this day their daily Bread." He has made their day. Now he has to begin his.