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Palam Kalyanasundaram

This 73-year old librarian has been donating all his earnings every month for 30 years to the poor. Born at Melakarivelamkulam in Tamil Nadu, Kalyanasundaram took up odd part-time jobs to earn his daily bread and butter while he donated all his savings and regular income to those in need.

With each passing day, he became clearer about his intentions to dedicate his life to the poor. He slept on railway platforms and pavements to personally experience what the poor of the country go through.

He did not keep a single rupee from his regular job and lived a very simple life. All he did with his monthly salary was donated it to children and other needy. We work because we want a comfortable lifestyle and dream of settling down with the luxuries of life.

 This man was different; he worked hard just so that he could earn more money to donate. He did not even get married as he wished to spend his entire income in helping the poor rather than his own family. After he retired as a librarian, he even donated his pension of Rs. 10 lakhs!
Kalyanasundaram lost his father when he was just one and his mother raised him all by herself, inspiring him to help the poor and underprivileged sections of the community. As he grew older, he inclined himself towards higher education and became more passionate about helping the tribal community.

He wanted to do his masters in Tamil but as he was the only student for that subject, college administration asked him to opt for another area of specialization. But he was determined to take up Tamil and did not give up.

His dedication impressed the founder of MTT College and he happily admitted him into his establishment and even took care of his educational expenses.

In spite of having such strong and kind motives, Kalyanasundaram faced his own share of difficulties. Having a shrill, high-pitched voice, he was troubled by this “flaw” and wanted to commit suicide. Meeting Thamizhvaanan, writer of self-improvement books changed his life and he remembered his advice, “Don’t bother about how you speak. Strive to make others speak well about you” all his life.  And he never looked back after that.

His tryst with social service came when he listened to Jawaharlal Nehru’s plea to contribute to the defense fund during the Indo-China war. “I went to Chief Minister Kamaraj and gave him my gold chain. I was probably the first student to have done such a thing,” he says. (Source)

He mostly worked around children for 45 years, and after his retirement, he thought of extending his services to others. He founded an organization called Palam that helps donors to reach out to the poor. The organization collects money and material from those willing to donate and distributes it to those who need it.

“We cannot sustain ourselves, unless we contribute to the society in some way or the other. I strongly feel if even one person does his bit towards social good, there will be some change,” he says.

A gold medalist in Library Sience and MA in Literature and History, Kalyanasundaram has received various awards and his total prize money of Rs. 30 crore has been promptly donated to those in need.



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