Industrialist and philanthropist V.D. Swami's pivotal role in setting up Sankara Nethralaya and his diligent support for various noble causes were recalled at a function to dedicate an auditorium of the eye hospital, organised as part of his birth centenary year, here on Saturday.

M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation Chairman M.S. Swaminathan said V.D. Swami encouraged him to start a research foundation and offered constant guidance at every stage. He was a trigger factor for the setting up of many health and research institutions of national importance. The philanthropist also persuaded Sankara Nethralaya Chairman Emeritus S.S. Badrinath, who was all set to pursue a career abroad, to stay in India and establish a hospital.

Sanmar Group chairman N.Sankar said his father shared long years of friendship with V.D. Swami. “He had a mercurial personality and forthright nature. The man, who had inspired many people to outdo their potential and created many achievers is truly larger than life,” Mr. Sankar said.

A strict disciplinarian, V.D. Swami was responsible for formulating welfare measures for Sankara Nethralaya employees, said Dr. Badrinath. As part of the celebrations, Board of Control for Cricket in India selection committee chairman K.Srikkanth launched the ‘Bat against Blindness' initiative. A bat autographed by Indian cricket team, including captain M.S.Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar, would be auctioned and the proceeds given to the hospital's welfare activities, Mr. Srikkanth said.

Sankara Nethralaya chairman V.Vaidyanathan, V.D.Swami & Co. director Vijay Balaji, former Chairman of BHEL S.V.S.Raghavan and actor Arvind Swami spoke.