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Sankara Nethralaya presented “DrisTi” to raise $200K for villages and eye surgeries in India

By Madhavi Indurti
October 2019
Sankara Nethralaya presented “DrisTi” to raise $200K for villages and eye surgeries in India

(Left) DrisTi, the story of a bully brought low, after losing her sight in an accident. (Photo: Suzanne Sen)

Sankara Nethralaya (SN) USA’s Atlanta Chapter hosted the spectacular Bharatanatyam dance drama “DrisTi” (meaning vision) by Kalaivani Dance Academy at the Infinite Energy Center, Duluth, on September 8, 2019. The program raised funds for two humanitarian causes, ‘Adopt a Village’ and ‘Mobile Eye Surgical Unit’ for Indian villages.

An entertaining opening by emcee Jayakiran Pagadala in several Indian languages made various regional groups in the audience feel at home. Details on several SN programs were projected on a screen, included the fact that Google is partnering with SN hospitals: Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s AI revolution is helping to detect diabetic retinopathy. The video at the event featured Pichai, Amitabh Bachchan, and Sourav Ganguly, among others.




(Left) DrisTi, the story of a bully (on the right)...brought low, after losing her sight in an accident...until light dawns and she realizes her attitude and behavior. (Photos: Suzanne Sen)




The riveting dance drama, conceptualized and choreographed by Kalaivani Dance Academy’s co-director Padmaja Kelam and scripted by co-director Siddarth Kelam, had an apt theme that closely related to the causes supported by Sankara Nethralaya. The bully Hasini loses her eyesight and then uses her passion for dance to recover; one heart-lifting message was that inner senses have no boundaries, and inability to see hardly matters when you pursue your passion. What a terrific performance, especially by the artist, Kalaivani’s disciple Priyanka Kasula, who played Hasini with such remarkable facial expression! Kudos to Padmaja Kelam, Siddartha Kelam, the excellent dance team, lyricist Dr. Uma Eyyuni, composer Asha Ramesh, and members of the live orchestra.





(Left) Director Padmaja Kelam (center) with the orchestra and singer. (Photo: Suzanne Sen)

One of the attendees shared that he couldn’t control his tears when he watched the heart-tugging performance of the girl who played Hasini. DrisTi signifies much more than its literal meaning; it’s the awakening of our inner humanity and care for others. The external beauty that we see with our eyes is temporary and only brings short-term joy. Anthar drishti or the inner sight, on the other hand, induces the highest pleasure or bliss in all of us.

Drishti_Padmaja Kelam_6298_300x438_VK.jpg



(Left) Director Padmaja Kelam (right) being felicitated with shawl and plaque by Trust President Bala Reddy Indurti. (Photo: Venkat Kuttua)

The SN team raised $200,000 to help 3,000 indigent patients. Trust President Bala Reddy Indurti dedicated this success to Atlanta Chapter founder Dr. Seshu Sarma who has moved to Washington, D.C., to live near her grandchildren.

The Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU) goal is to eradicate preventable blindness in India, beginning with Telugu states.

Technology had helped this event: Local community associations had spread the word about the event, and a number of people made a video appeal in social media. The video at the event featured Google CEO Sundar Pichchai, Amitabh Bachchan, Sourav Ganguly, and Madhav. Mr. S. V. Acharya, President Emeritus and founder of Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust, expressed regret for his inability to attend the event, conveying his message by phone, thanking for their long term support, for making the Atlanta chapter one of the most active chapters in the US, and for presenting this memorable event in the history of the Trust in USA.​



Website Bonus Feature

Photo Gallery:

Health/Vision Issues:
Dr. B. K. Kishore of Utah wrote in support of this event that there is a Sanskrit saying, “SarvEndriyAnAm Nayanam PradhAnam” and a verse from the Bible, “The eye is the lamp of the body.” (Matthew 6:22).

“Of all the senses that a human being is blessed with, vision or eyesight is unique, because it blesses a person to see the creation of God, the manifest Universe. Apart from that, vision is essential for living and to live independently.

But, the prevalence of eye diseases that lead to preventable blindness either in childhood or in adult life are rampant. India has one fourth of all blind people in the world. Eighty percent of blindness is preventable. ...

Apart from the age old problem of cataract in adults, now India is facing a rising problem of diabetic retinopathy (DR). Diabetes has become an epidemic in India with 7.1% Indians being diabetic with an average age of 41 years. … This will be a huge burden on the national health care system and economy. Obviously, the governmental resources alone cannot cope up with this burden. The NGOs need to step in and help in the nation building. Any country's economic development is dependent on the health of its people. Blindness can make a person far less productive than any other disease.

So please consider supporting Sankara Netralaya, which is doing a commendable and selfless service in India. Apart from treating cataract in people who cannot afford the cost, Sankara Netralaya is working to bring state-of-the-art technology to grassroot levels for early diagnosis, which saves vision in a number of people and also cuts costs and health care burden.”


(Left) Bala Reddy Indurti bestows award to fundraiser Neelima Gaddamanugu. (Photo: Venkat Kuttua)


Atlanta Trustee Srini Reddy Vangimalla, Vice President Moorthy Rekapalli, and President Bala Reddy Indurti addressed the audience, describing SN fundraising events in the USA and service activities in India.​

Fundraising team led by Bala Reddy Indurti, Moorthy Rekapalli, Srini Reddy Vangimalla, Rajasekhar Reddy Aila, Meher Lanka, JayaKiran Pagadala, Padmaja Kelam, Upendra Reddy Rachupally, Ramesh Chaparala, Rajeev Menon, Suresh Vemulamada & Neelima Gaddamanugu raised $200,000 to support 3000 indigent patients.

Thanks are due to Atlanta team members Krishnadas Pisharodi, Srikrupa Easwaran, Phani Dokka, Uma Narayan, Raghava Tadavarthi, Kamal Satuluru, Namrata Satuluru, Rajesh Tadikamalla, Ramesh Valluri, Venkat Chundi, Ravi Kandimalla, Subba Rao Maddali, Ram Mallappa, Swadesh Katoch, Viju Chiluveru, Niranjan Prodduturi & ByteGraph for their continuous support and hard work for this event.

Thanks are due to MESU (Mobile Eye Surgical Unit) donors: Moorthy Rekapalli & Madhavi and Aniil Jagralmudi & Mahalakshmi. The main goal of MESU is to eradicate preventable blindness in India. Initially we are planning the MESU for Telugu states and eventually we want to replicate the same model all over the country.

Thanks are due to the following Adopt-A-Village donors: Murali Reddy & Bindu, Dr. Sanjeeva Reddy & Sridevi, Suresh Vemulamada & Dr. Madhavi Rayapudi, Srinivas Surapaneni & Priya, Srini Reddy Vangimalla & Deepa, Prasad Mallu & Niveditha, Ravi Reddy Maraka & Praveena, and Balakrishna Nuli.

Thanks are due to Atlanta local associations TAMA, GATA, GATeS, GAMA, GATS, IFA, Maitri & Atlanta Telugu Samskriti for spreading the word in weekly broadcast news.

Thanks are due to the following friends & community leaders for promoting the event with their video appeal in Social Media: Dr. Seshu Sarma, Dr. Ravi Sarma, Anupa Thakurta, Phani Dokka, Hema Shilpa, Madurai Muralitharan, Jyothi Chintalapudi, & Neelima Gaddamanugu.

Video visuals which were created by Phani Dokka and Prameela Gopu were well received by the audience. This video also features Sundar Pichchai Google CEO, Amitab Bachchan, Saurav Ganguly and Madhav.

Sanakar Nethralaya team also recognized community leaders and philanthropists Dr. B. K. Mohan & Rajyalaxmi, Pramod Sajja & Pratima, T. R. Reddy & Niranjini, Dr. G. S. Visvesvara, Veena Bhat for their support since inception of the Atlanta chapter.

Mr. S. V. Acharya, President Emeritus and founder of Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust, thanked the Trust President Mr. Bala Reddy Indurti for spearheading this event with support from Vice President Moorthy Rekapalli, trustees Srini Reddy Vangimalla, Rajasekhar Reddy Aila, Meher Lanka, JayaKiran Pagadala, volunteers, Kalaivani Academy & Atlanta community to make this a memorable event in the history of the Trust in USA.


(Photo: Venkat Kuttua)

[Updated October 3, 2019]


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