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Re: Question from Murali Krishna: Reply to Mani

adiyaen_at_hotmail.com
Date: Fri Jul 06 2001 - 20:26:26 PDT

>> does a single Sri Vaishnava group gather able-bodied youth
>> and go do humanitarian service work in a Dalit (or any) 
>> downtrodden or impoverished village?

Yes. There are many unsung Heroes among Sri Vaishnavas doing
utmost service to the mankind. Let me reproduce an article 
which appeared in Indian Express in March 1998. 

*********

"Somewhere around midnight the telephone in the bedroom of
 his Chromepet residence rings incessantly. He attends the
call, assures the caller of all possible help and pages his
driver. Within a few minutes, the driver is at the door ready
with the mortuary van. Together they speed out in the darkness
of the night to the death house. A dead body of a poor family,
which has no money to seek other alternatives, has to be taken
to a remote district in the state and there is hardly any time 
to be lost.

  For 59 year old- G. Raghavan, managing trustee of Shree Gayethri
Trust it is another day in his life. Another day, another death.
Shri G.Raghavan  a retired official of The Telephone Department,
hailing from an orthodox Vaishnavite family has helped 500 (till 1998)
families bear the burden of their grief.

With the blessings of HH Kanchi Paramacharya and HH Srimad Andavan 
Swamigal of Srirangam, Gayethri Trust was started in 1983 to lend a 
helping hand to the poor irrespective of caste, creed, sex or 
religion. The trust deals with matters of life as well as death. Like 
sustaining the ailing and helping the dead get a decent burial or 
cremation.


Mr. Raghavan says that he has performed a number of 'Govinda kolli' 
lighting the pyre for unclaimed bodies. One one occassion the body of 
an AIDS victim was rejected by her family and he lit the pyre (Those 
who frequented Tambaram Sanatorium railway station in '99 would recall
a cancer inflicted bank manager dumped by his orthodox Srirangam 
SriVaishnavite family lying uncared and unattended for days on the
railway station. They did not even have the time to admit him in 
the hospital run by Sri Gayethri Trust).

Sri Gayethri Trust has 
 -  a Gnanavapi in Lakshmipuram, Chromepet. This is made available to 
the deserving poor, who have no means to pay, at free of cost.
 - Karumadhi Building to cater to people of all communitites
 - Mortuary van 
 - Hotline where poor people can call up to carry the dead bodies of
   orphans and poor from the place of death to the burning/burial 
grounds and perform the funerals **as per their customs, at free of 
cost***. The only requirement is that there must be phone call to the 
Trust on such situation.
 - Cremation Ghat
 - Cancer Terminal Care Centre
 - Cancer screening programme
 - Conducted 100s of marriages for the poor
 - Provided scholarships for poor students in government schools.


Sri Raghavan is working hard to construct an electric crematorium
in Chromepet. This is expected to cost Rs. 3 crore. But Raghavan is
not worried.
 "One of the first donations I recvd. in the initial days was from
a woman in Nagercoil. She sent **Rs/- 1.50** through money order
after reading about me in a newspaper. There are still enough
generous people in the world. It is the poor who contribute more
than the rich".

**************

Im not sure how many SriVaishnavas would have read my message
this far. If you have my thanks to you. If you get a chance, do 
meet up with Sri Raghavan and atleast give him your encouragement.
BTW I dont think contributions to His trust are exempt from US tax.

Shree Gayethri Trust
Plot No 45 Lakshminagar
Chromepet
Madras 600 044.
Phone : 91-44-236 4777.







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