The Rotary Club of Madras East every year confers the Exemplary Service Award on people who have displayed a sense of commitment and dedication in providing exemplary service to the society. This year, the award was presented to Paalam Kalyanasundaram.
Mr. Kalyanasundaram has given away all his salary during his entire working life for social welfare, doing odd jobs to meet his daily needs. A practicing Gandhian and a compassionate humanitarian, Mr. Kalyanasundaram has dedicated his life to improving the lives of children, the poor and the needy.
A gold medallist in Library Science with a master’s degree in History and Literature, Mr. Kalyanasundaram is an accomplished librarian by profession with a distinguished career spanning 35 years at the Kumarakurupara Arts College, Srivaiguntam, Thoothukdi District. He was acclaimed as “one of the top ten librarians in the world” and the Government of India bestowed upon him “The Best Librarian in India” award.
Post his retirement in 1998, Mr. Kalyanasundaram founded “Paalam,” a social welfare organisation to serve as a bridge between donors and beneficiaries, collecting money and materials from those willing to donate and distributing them among the underprivileged. He has continued to live a simple life, giving everything away to charity, including his retirement benefits.
Mr. Kalyanasundaram’s exceptional social service has won him many accolades. The United Nations Organization has chosen him as “one of the outstanding people of the 20th Century.” An American organisation adjudged him as the “Man of the Millennium” with prize money which he gave away to charity. And his selfless service so moved actor Rajinikanth that he adopted him as his father.
At the annual Young Achiever Awards organised by the Club, Ananya Ashok and Ramkumar Ramanathan were recognised for their achievements in the fields of ecological conservation and sports (Tennis) respectively. The award ceremony was hosted at My Fortune, Chennai, and was presided over by the Tennis legends Padma Bhushan Ramanathan Krishnan and Padma Shri Ramesh Krishnan. Ananya Ashok (Founder, Pallikaranai Task Force) encouraged the audience to adopt sustainable practices to protect the planet for the future. Ramkumar Ramanathan, National Junior Tennis Champion 2009 and 2010, promised to do his best to the country.