Who was Govindappa Venkataswamy?


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Who was Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy?

Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy is a visionary Indian ophthalmologist who did his best to solve the acute problem of blindness in India by starting multiple innovative programs including the establishment of rehabilitation center for the blind in 1966. Dr. Venkataswamy was famously known as Dr. V and was born on 1 October, 1918 in a small village called Vadamalapuram. In 1944, he graduated from Stanley Medical college at Chennai in chemistry, and he joined the Indian Army Medical Corps but in 1948 the biggest turn of his life came up. He developed rheumatoid arthritis and thus had to retire from his work, it was so bad that Dr. V couldn’t even hold a pen due to crippled fingers at one point but he never gave up. Despite all these challenges he completed his studies and learned to hold a scalpel to perform cataract surgery. He was so determined to make this world a better place by all means, that he started performing more than one hundred surgeries a day.

Chairman of Aravind Eye care hospital

Further, in his career, he joined the faculty of Madurai medical college, of which, later on, he became the Vice-Dean. He launched a lot of programmes to help the blind, and government awarded him with Padmashree award for the same in 1973. He realized that Indians are suffering from blindness due to Cataract due to tropical sunlight, poor health care and genetic factors. Thus in 1976, after he was given a government mandatory retirement at the age of 58, Dr. V with support of his family and friends laid the foundations for a NPO hospital for the blind called Aravind Eye Centre, in Madurai. Dr. V was highly inspired by Saint Aurobindo and the hospital was started with the same principles propagated by Sri Aurobindo- service of God and Humankind. The treatments are free and highly subsidized for the poor. Initially, it had only 11 beds but it constantly kept expanding by opening new branches in Theni, Coimbatore, and five more cities in Tamil Nadu. Dr. V made sure that the Doctors of paid and unpaid ward kept shuffling so that there is no partiality or particular benefits to the paid patients. Aravind has also established four eye banks and has the infection rate of only 4 per thousand treatments.


Aravind’s vision and mission is to “Eliminate needless blindness through compassionate and quality eye care affordable to all”.
In India, where for the poor people it was not even possible to think of visiting a hospital for eye check-up, Aravind has made it possible to get a complete eye surgery. The hospital is one of its kind, it doesn’t take any grants from the government and is totally self-sustaining. Aravind also makes sure that they keep educating their patients, and other people in general. So they conduct weekend camps in villages where doctors consult masses and explain them multiple problems they could be facing. There are regular check-ups after which the patients who need surgeries are taken to Madurai for the treatment.

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His Net worth

Since Dr. Venkataswamy never took a penny out of the hospital, his net worth is unknown. However, as of 2009, Aravind Hospital’s net profit was $7.9 million on revenues of $20 million.

Quotes of Govindappa Venkataswamy
Here are some of Quotes of Govindapaa Venkataswamy:
Govindappa Quotes

Arvind Patel

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