Dr G Velayudhan is most known for being the first male doctor in the state to specialise in gynaecology. Founder and Chief Medical Officer of the GG Hospital at Murinjapalam, Thiruvananthapuram, he earned his fame as an expert in dealing with complicated pregnancies, unexplained foetal loss and premature deliveries.
He was also one of the first doctors to administer heparin during pregnancy to prevent clotting of blood in blood vessels. But what was kept under wraps about this highly successful gynaecologist, was the fact that he is the man behind the daily breakfast scheme for children in as many as 70 schools in Thiruvananthapuram district.
The GG Charitable Trust, (to which Dr Velayudhan has given his earnings), with support from public, runs the breakfast scheme, the beneficiaries of which cross the five-figure mark.
Folded banana leaves in the shirt pockets of school students was what caught Dr Velayudhan’s attention. Coming from economically weak families, all the food that these students had was the rice gruel provided on these leaves at school for lunch. ‘’It was Rajendran Pillai, the then headmaster of Kumarapuram UP School, Thiruvananthapuram, who first told me that almost 65 out of the 300 students there came to school without breakfast. We decided to give them ‘idli’ and ‘sambar’ prepared in the hospital canteen,’’ recalls Dr Velayudhan.
And some ‘idlis’ they were. ‘’King-sized’’, recalls Rajendran Pillai, who then took the initiative to expand the programme to other schools in the city. ‘’The results were remarkable. The drop out rate declined, the children were happy and we could even notice a behavioural change in them,’’ recalls Rajendran Pillai, now retired from service, but still a member of the GG Trust.
While Rajendran Pillai and Dr Velayudhan were expanding the initiative, the City Corporation took over the scheme. This gave the duo a chance to take their activities to the rural sector, both in the coastal villages as well as schools in remote hilly areas. Needless to say, it was a blessing to students from these areas, whose parents had to leave home early for a livelihood.
“We provide only a fraction of the school’s needs as we believe the breakfast scheme has to be run with public support. Public support ensures public monitoring, which is essential for any such programme,’’ says Rajendran.
Now an octogenarian and confined to a wheel chair, Dr Velayudhan says he could never walk past anyone who was hungry, even in his student days. ‘’I used to have a classmate at medical college who used to faint quite frequently. Probing a little, I found that he slept on shop verandas and had little or no food. I persuaded our mess secretary to take him as a free boarder or at least give him food. It was tough, but finally he was taken in,’’ says Dr Velayudhan, his eyes smiling through the gold-rimmed glasses.
He lent his hand to many throughout his student and professional life and continues to do so even in his retired life. Apart from the breakfast scheme in schools, he has adopted an island village Panathura, has built houses for the homeless in Kadakampally, has been financing the studies of many students at various schools and funding various welfare programmes for over 300 urban BPL families. He also used to run free clinics at both Attingal, his hometown, as well as Varkala, and is continuing with his charity work even though his movement is restricted.
Before signing off, we ask Dr Velayudhan why he chose gynaecology as a subject of specialisation. ‘’After me, my mom had a forceps delivery and the baby died. The next time she delivered, the baby had a genetic problem. Probably this was one reason,’’ he says with a faraway look in his eyes.
‘’But the first cry of a baby always excited me. The wonder of it all never stopped to amaze me,’’ he says. And the perennial smile was back on his face.
Article Sourced from “New Indian Express” dated 20.09.2012 and the credit of the article goes to their reporter “Reema Narendran”