The late G Venkataswamy, founder of Madurai-based Aravind Eye hospital, was a 'beacon light' for ophthalmologists and eye care centres across India, President A P J Abdul Kalam said.
The 'new concept' formulated by Venkataswamy in his hospital - curing 30 well off patients and using that money to provide free medical care to 70 poor patients -- had proved to all concerned that it is a self-sustaining proposition, Kalam said.
He was addressing a prayer meeting held here yesterday titled 'honouring the light', through video conferencing from the Rashtrapathi Bhavan in Delhi in memory of Dr Venkataswamy, who passed away on July 7.
The President said Dr Venkataswamy had throughout his life worked for total elimination of avoidable blindness. Besides bringing in the latest technology and techniques, the doctor had trained several pioneers in the field, who are now all over the world, Kalam said.
Recalling his first visit to the hospital to visit a friend being treated there, the President said he saw for himself that all patients were given equal priority and equal care, irrespective of their status. "It was a divine environment. It did not look like a hospital. It virtually looked like a Temple", the President said.
Other speakers included Vijay Poddar of the Shri Aurobindo society in Pondicherry, R Kausalya Devi, managing trustee of Gandhigram Trust near here and G N Rao of the L V Prasad eye institute in Hyderabad.