G.P.Sasidharan – Friendships, Community – What SNM Means to Me
Friendships, Community – What the SNM Means to Me
My association with Sree Narayana Mission began in 1968, when a good friend, Mr V. Srinivasan, who was then the secretary of the Mission, persuaded me to become a member of the executive committee. A year later, I became the secretary and served in that capacity, for the next four years, as Mr Srinivasan took on the unenviable task of organising and very successfully executing, the annual flag day. The importance of the flag day could not be over emphasised, as at that time, the Mission depended solely on the proceeds of the flag day to finance the welfare and social services, that the Mission, was providing to the community.
Another good friend, Mr D. Sambasivan joined the executive committee, the following year. He became the secretary later on. This association with the SNM, bonded us closely and strengthened our friendship. In our late twenties at that time, we were the youngest members in the Exco. Soon, a few older members labelled us ‘The three Ss’. I fondly recall that we were even called the ‘Thrimoorthi’ by, another ‘new’ friend, the late Mr N. Valalan. To some others, we were ‘The Three Musketeers.’ Though, as members of the ex-co, we often differed on principles and methods to be employed, the friendships formed, remained steadfast. I am also grateful to Mr R.Raveendran, with whom I’ve argued on many issues, but who has remained a good friend over the years. At ninety-one years of age, he is probably the oldest member of SNM today.
I’ve often been asked what I have gained from my association and ‘work’ with the Mission. I must stress that none of us ever considered it work. It was truly a learning experience that enriched us morally and spiritually. We learnt the various ways by which, we could serve the local community. We had to raise funds and in the process, we learnt valuable lessons in managing such funds, the varied ways we could help the community, form meaningful friendships and how to interact appropriately with the community at large. The icing on the cake, was that our friendships strengthened, new friendships were formed, all of which, have stood the test of time. Perhaps, Sree Narayana Guru’s guiding hand was directing us towards what the Mission has become today; an organisation in the forefront, in providing the best in welfare services, to the needy of all races, in our nation.
Now, as I am entering the eighth decade of my life, I am grateful for my fifty years of association with and service to Sree Narayana Mission. The one axiom of Guru’s teachings, that is forever embedded in me and which I pray that all of society will one day, accept and abide by, is, “Whichever be the religion, it is enough that man improves.”