Dr S S Badrinath, a distinguished eye specialist and the mastermind behind Sankara Nethralaya, departed this world early today at the age of 83. His impact on the healthcare terrain in India, particularly in eye care and charitable endeavors, has left an enduring imprint.
Early Life and Accomplishments:
Born on February 24, 1940, in Triplicane, Chennai, Dr Badrinath triumphed over initial hurdles, including a belated commencement of education due to early health challenges. Honored with the Padma Shri in 1983 and Padma Bhushan in 1999, he demonstrated academic prowess, securing the highest marks in Ophthalmology at Madras Medical College in 1962.
Global Voyage and Matrimony:
Continuing his education in Brooklyn, New York, Dr Badrinath encountered his life partner, Dr Vasanthi Iyengar, a pediatrician. They tied the knot in 1967. Opting for an unconventional path, they returned to India, relinquishing lucrative careers in the United States.
Establishing Sankara Nethralaya:
After contributing to renowned healthcare institutions, Dr Badrinath initiated a private practice specializing in eye care and vitreoretinal surgery. A pivotal moment arose in 1974 when he conducted surgery on H H Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Swami, establishing a connection with the spiritual institution.
Answering the call of H H Jayendra Saraswathi Swami in 1975 to establish hospitals in India for the underprivileged, Dr Badrinath responded by founding Sankara Nethralaya in 1978.
Enduring Heritage and Charitable Work:
Over the past half-century, Sankara Nethralaya has stood as a guiding light in eye care, extending services either at no cost or at affordable rates, depending on patients’ financial capacities. Dr S S Badrinath’s dedication to prioritizing people over profits has positively transformed the lives of millions.
In paying homage to his memory, the ongoing legacy of Sankara Nethralaya continues to brighten the way for compassionate healthcare in India.