What do you think a mere librarian can do for the welfare of the society? What do you think an old man can do for the community?
What if I told you a seventy-six year old librarian has helped over a million orphans, donated lakhs of rupees, is known as one of the “best librarians in the world”, has been chosen as the “The Man Of the Millennium” and has received the life time service award?
Palam Kalyanasundaram , who for some reason doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page, had been donating entire of his salary for the poor. When an American company chose him as the Man Of the Millennium and gave him about 30 Crores, he donated that as well. He truly is the most altruistic person I have ever come across, in a world where money means everything for everyone, this man chose the happiness in giving rather than accumulating. Some say he is the richest person in the world.
Born in Melakarivelamkulam, he lost his father when he was just a child. His mother brought him up served as one of the biggest inspirations for Palam. Faced by tough times, even at a younger age, he had a strong affinity towards selflessness. He would often pay the school fees for other students and even buy them clothes and books. When once asked about it, he modestly replied he was doing it for a personal gain.
“People think that I started doing charity when I was young by donating clothes and helping people study, and they attribute it to a public cause, but I insist it was for a private one. The place where I lived was a tiny village with no provision for roads, buses, schools, electricity, and there was not even a shop to buy a matchbox from. I had to walk 10km to school and back and walking all that way alone can be a pretty lonesome experience. Hence, I had this thought that if I could motivate most of the children to come with me to school, it would be great fun as well.”
He was a gold medalist in library science and even holds a masters degree in literature and history. After he retired from Kumarkurupara Arts College at Srivaikuntam, he started working as a waiter at a hotel so that he could continue serving needy people. He believes in a very simple and bare lifestyle. Money means nothing to him and for him to help others is the greatest purpose there ever could be.
Palam even sacrificed the comfortable warm life of a family by remaining a bachelor because he thought he wouldn’t be able to donate his salary like he did if he got married. The widely famous South Indian actor, Rajnikanth refers to him as his father which truly proves how much love and respect a common librarian has gained.
He did gain some media attention but sadly too few people know about him. He is one of those unknown beautiful souls, untiring and radiant, knowing about whom a world full of glitter and useless blabber becomes bearable.
Image Credits: PHKStudios.