iMahal Interview Series:
G. Venkataswamy
June 17, 2001

Eye Care iMahal:  Much of your extended family is involved with your hospitals. Rumor has it that an interest in ophthalmology is a requirement in the process of finding suitable mates for family members. What would you say to a young relative who seemed more interested in art than in medicine? Venkataswamy:  Not all the family members working at Aravind are doctors. My brother, a civil engineer, has assisted Aravind by his untiring efforts supervising land acquisition, planning, and construction of all Aravind facilities. My nephew is an MBA who was in charge of the administration of Aravind Eye hospitals for the last twenty years and is now the executive director of LAICO. Aurolab is run by engineers in the family: a neice's husband, a nephew, and a cousin. Four of my nieces volunteer at Aravind eye hospitals under various capacities such as in charge of catering the staff and patients, publications, and administration. When one of my grand nieces spoke to me about taking up literature in college, I said, "Yes, go ahead, we need to a lot of writers here." Then I gave her copies of literature on various eye care institutions around the world. At Aravind, more than the qualification, it is the sense of commitment that is directly proportional to the individual's contribution.
iMahal:  Has Aravind become what you envisioned more than twenty years ago? Venkataswamy:  You set goals, of course, and there is perhaps a vague idea of how the future appears. But if work is approached from a spiritual perspective then it becomes divine work. If in your actions you allow the divine force to flow through you, you will accomplish things far greater than you might have imagined. Intelligence and capability are not enough. There must also be the joy of doing something beautiful. Being of service to God and humanity means going well beyond the sophistication of the best technology, to the humble demonstration of courtesy and compassion to each patient. The need for our services is greater than ever. Much has been done, but much remains to be done. I am happy to see that Aravind continues to grow and to join hands with other like-minded organizations and individuals in this global war against needless blindness.

Note: If you want to learn more about Dr. Venkataswamy and the Aravind Eye Hospitals, click on the following links:




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