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An industrialist who does not want to retire

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Great:The visually challenged industrialist M. Vijayanathan at his office in South Masi Street in Madurai.
Great:The visually challenged industrialist M. Vijayanathan at his office in South Masi Street in Madurai.

Mohamed Imranullah S.

Nothing has deterred Vijayanathan from managing his business despite the fact that he has lost his eyesight almost completely

MADURAI: Some people leave their jobs and cease to work after a particular age either because that is the norm or because they do not have a choice. A few others choose to retire due to the insistence of their children. But nothing has deterred 80-year-old industrialist M. Vijayanathan from managing his business despite the fact that he has lost his eyesight almost completely.

It was in 1983, he recalls to have undergone a surgery for cataract on his left eye in a local hospital here. Thereafter he began to lose his vision. When some of the top hospitals in the State could not diagnose the reason for the problem, he flew to Pennsylvania where an eye surgeon found out that a first generation lens, which was discarded in the U.S. 12 years ago, had been fixed on his iris.

Subsequent treatment enabled him to regain vision within six months. But the trouble started again in 1994 and his cornea was replaced. Two months thereafter, he developed glaucoma and lost his vision forever in the left eye. In 1995, he underwent cataract surgery on his right eye. Again, he was unlucky as his retina got damaged in the process.

“Till two years ago, I had vision for about two to three metres. But now I could see only dark images of persons sitting next to me. I cannot read any text. Yet, I come to office sharply at 9.45 a.m. along with my lunch box and go home only at 9.30 p.m. I also visit my factory at Narasingampatti near Melur and keep in touch with my clients on a daily basis,” he says with pride.

Mr. Vijayanathan started manufacturing polythene bags in 1960 after completing his degree in chemical engineering in 1954. He forayed into manufacturing of PVC rigid film in 1970 and acrylic sheets in 1975. He also began manufacturing polypropylene in 1979. He is also a founder vice-president of Madurai District Tiny and Small Scale Industries Association (MADITSSIA).

“I am a workaholic. I will be sick if I stay at home. In fact, I should say that I have become more active after losing my vision. I cherish the memories of receiving the Udyog Patra for self-made industrialists in 1970 from the then President and wish to be active until I breathe my last,” says this old man who has been working from a rented office building on South Masi Street for the last four decades.

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