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Sri Ranganatha Paduka Vidyalaya Trust

skaushik_at_MIT.EDU
Date: Mon Jan 15 1996 - 10:41:55 PST

Dear fellow prapatti members;

In keeping with my recent postings on potential focus of a service
organization such as SVTK, I want to bring to attention to this group of a   
Sri Vaishnava  college in Sri Rangam. I have been contributing 
towards its operation and development  for a number of years now.

The establishment of this  college was one of the cherished dreams
of Sri Thirukkundanthai Andavan of the Srimad Anddvan Ashrama. The college
has roughly 30 teachers, mostly Vadagalai, but there are 2-3 Thengalai
scholars and about 2 Smarta vidwans. The students, numbering 60 or so, age
from 6-7 to 17-18 years of age. They are mostly of vadagalai parentage, but
there are a number of children from Thengalai and  smarta lineage.

The goal of the college is to train students in the Sanskrit, as well as
Tamil Prabhandams. Additionally, upon graduation, a small fellowship fund
has been established to supplement the income of graduates. The stipend is
modest (I forget the exact amount) and is meant to serve as encouragement
of its graduate, mostly children from poor families from villages.

Sr Ranganatha Mahadesikan (Sri Moosham Andavan), the present "pontiff"
of the Andavan Ashrama, has taken upon himself to see that a 1 crore
trust fund is established for this college. The interest from this
trust fund will go towards the daily maintenance and runnin go fthe
school. The maintenance includes the feeding, clothing and boarding
of the students, the staff and the operating expenses (such as
books for the library, etc).

The sum of 1 crore rupees is roughly $300,000-- a task that no single
individual in our group and meet. However, a collective effort by
all our members to secure funds for this perhpas make this an
attainable goal. 

In my most recent trip to India, I donated a sum to this Trust Fund.
I had the pleasure of donating this money directly to Srimad Andavan
himslef, who was in Bangalroe for the 25th Anniversary of the Andal
Sandhidhi in Bangalore. He remarked that the 1 crore was a daunting task as
securing funds for this venture was proving difficult, but he felt that
with God's grace, it would eventually by a reality.

It would seem that a college such as thise would  go a long way in
addressing some of the issues raised by other recently. The money would
go towards an important Sri Vaishnava cause as seen by our religious
leaders, it would support young and scholarly Sri Vaishnavas and would
lead to immediate and tangible results.

Although it is clear that I alone cannot meet the financial needs of
such a massive undertaking, I think that a collective effort by a large
number of people can bring about a successful completion of this effort.

A sum of $300,000 may seem excessive to some who may feel that this money
could be spent better for other more secular/humanistic endeavours. But I
would remind everyone that a contribution towards religious causes should
not in any way preclude one from giving elsewhere. I would hope that we
could interest 100s if not thousands of invividuals to give a little
(yatha shakti) and these little drops can add up to a sizeable ocean.

Some of you have raised concern over the (mis)appropriation of funds sent
from abroad. I have always received receipts for all my donation. These
include both a receipt as well as documents relevant for tax deductions
(though I am not sure if these are acceptable for the US IRS). These
receipts have been mailed to my US address at considerable expense (Rs. 17)
from the college. Additionally, the college has has the personal attention
of the Srimad Andavan himself. When I donated money this time, he took 
personal attention in ensuring the funds were properly credited.

Anyway, I have more information on this. The Andvan Ashrama has come out
with a colorful brochure which has pictures of the college, the students
and a personal appeal of Srimad Andavan for this effort. I have asked
my wife to bring this from Bangalore upon her return this week (I forgot
to bring it when I came last time). I could have it digitized (that
may take some time because I don't have access to a digitizer) and have
it available for others to read it, download it, etc.

Please let me know, either in private, or though this list what you
think of such an effort.

Sumanth