CHENNAI: If the country wants better lawyers, doctors and engineers, then what it desperately needs is better teachers, said Chief Justice of the Madras High Court S K Kaul. Speaking ahead of the Palkhivala Memorial Lecture held at Sankara Nethralaya on Thursday, Kaul said, “If we must evolve good lawyers, doctors and engineers, good teachers are necessary. This is lacking. We are faced today with a situation where there are no teachers available. The same kind of people are coming forward and that really will not help.”
Reflecting on how much people considered Nani Palkhivala, an advocate, economist, author and philanthropist all at once, a great teacher too, Kaul said, “Medicine was helped by private enterprise, but that is different. You have a large number of institutes based on commerce and a few like these which carry on doing good work quietly. The fact that a man would devote a large part of his wealth to an institution says a lot. Those were difficult times, economically.”
Delivering the lecture, eminent US-based ophthalmologist Dr V K Raju spoke about how India was looked at by the world, through the perspectives of two men who wrote about her: Nani Palkhivala and V S Naipaul. Following an enlightening session where he quoted both writers heavily, Raju turned to one of India’s oldest healthcare issues: child blindness. “You know, 80 per cent of a child’s learning is through vision. India loses about $4 billion a year on this condition but can save lots of it by spending a fraction more on prevention. There are 1.2 million physicians of Indian heritage and some 3.3 million NGOs in the country. Why can’t they help solve this issue?” he queried.
Sankara Nethralaya’s Chairman Emeritus Dr S S Badrinath took the audience down memory lane about their long association with him -- from the time he came in to aid a friend to his last years when he handed over almost his entire estate to the foundation.