Abdul Kalam is said to have touched the lives of many people in India. One such person, whose life changed after meeting the late President, is Madhusudhana Gupta, a civil engineer from Chennai.
“I was working with L&T, when I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Kalam in 2003. A 45-minute discussion with him changed my life. The social inequalities and problems in our society used to trouble me. However, Mr. Kalam told me to find remedies to these problems and write about them,” he says.
And so Madhusudhana wrote on the various problems people were facing and the probable solutions to tackle these issues. But after some time, he felt that his writing wasn’t gathering much of a response.
“I realised that writing also meant that only a few people would be able to access the information. I wanted to bring about a change to society as a whole and realised this can only be achieved through action,” he says.
Since the last two years, Madhusudhana has been at the forefront of a host of philanthropic activities.
His latest initiative is a called ‘Feel of Birthday’.
“I was wondering how best to spread the word on the Swachh Bharat movement. It is something I hold very close to my heart. The idea of spending the money one keeps aside for one’s birthday to clean up the surroundings, struck me as interesting,” he says.
And as per his decision, Madhusudhana went ahead and celebrated his son Kushal’s 4th birthday by cleaning up a slum in Chennai’s Perambur locality. Madhusudhana, his friends, and around 15 local residents cleaned the area and painted the walls. With the help of Corporation personnel, they cleared the garbage from the area.
“Earlier, people couldn’t even walk in the area as the stench was that bad. We have now given dustbins to a few families in order to encourage the practice of segregation,” he says.
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He and his friends (a network of civil engineers from Anna University) have decided to make this a regular practice.
Next month his friend’s son’s birthday is coming up and they plan to celebrate in the same manner too.
“The best takeaway from this event was when my daughter’s friend Varshita (who had accompanied us) went home and told her father that she wanted to celebrate her birthday like this too. This is my motive. To encourage as many people as I can to spend some time and clean up their surroundings,” he says.
His son Kushal was thrilled to have his birthday celebrated in such a different manner and wants to continue this every year.
Madhusudhana is involved in other philanthropic activities as well. He and his friends have sponsored chairs for teachers at a Corporation-run school, where they didn’t have any. The school also had a high dropout rate. In order to get the children back to school, they donated game kits – containing football, badminton racket, cricket bat – to the school.
“You won’t believe it. As many as 10 children have started coming to school again,” he says.
Madhusudhana is also the creator of swachhbharatindia.com. Through this website, he plans to organise people to promote the Swachh Bharat campaign and contribute actively to it.
Here’s wishing you all the luck for the future, Madhusudhana.