First Luminary Lecture

//First Luminary Lecture

Shri Bezwada Wilson delivers the First Luminary Lecture


To commemorate the Centenary of Medical Education, the Institution has invited eminent personalities from different walks of life under the Luminary Lecture Series. The aim of this series of Lectures is to listen and imbibe from people, who by their work and life, have empowered and transformed societies, have contributed to our national life or are role models for the youth.



Shri Bezwada Wilson, Ramon Magsaysay Recipient 2016 and National Convenor of the Safai Karamchari Andolan, delivered the First Luminary Lecture on February 28, 2018 in the Scudder Auditorium. For over three decades, Shri Bezwada Wilson has fought an extraordinary and inspiring battle for the eradication of manual scavenging. He was born to a family of manual scavengers….and wept as a young adult when he witnessed the unparalleled indignity of this profession. This led to the formation of the Safai Karamchari Andolan that fights not only against manual scavenging, but all forms of caste oppression. He was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2016 for his efforts towards ‘asserting the inalienable right to a life of human dignity’. His talk was centred on the basic premise of ‘speaking the truth’. That is the principle on which he and his colleagues have worked towards making manual scavenging a crime, and dedicating their lives towards creating an equitable and just society. Shri Wilson spoke movingly about the challenges he has faced along the way- a lived reality that moved and overwhelmed many in the audience. ‘One person,’ he said, ‘has to be willing to stand against the flow’. That is all it takes to start a movement and a change. With his humility and passion for a cause to which he has devoted his entire life, he challenged the audience to question, think, act and build an India where every citizen is truly equal, and enjoys the right to a life of dignity.

Following his lecture, Shri Wilson engaged with the audience in an interactive session that was moderated by Dr. KS Jacob, Professor of Psychiatry.

Earlier in the programme, the Principal, Dr. Anna B. Pulimood spoke about hundred years of medical education in CMC, and the Director, Dr. JV Peter welcomed and introduced Shri Wilson. He was presented with a souvenir by the Medical Superintendent, Dr. Prasad Mathews, and a citation by the Principal, Dr. Anna B. Pulimood. Professor Prathap Tharyan, retired faculty of the Department of Psychiatry honoured Shri Wilson with a traditional ponnadai.

The Lecture was well attended by faculty, staff and students of CMC, as well as students from local colleges and schools, and friends and well-wishers of CMC from the city.

The Second Lecture in the Luminary Lecture Series will be delivered by Padma Shri Mr. Romulus Whitaker, herpetologist and wildlife conservationist, who founded the Madras Crocodile Bank and the Madras Snake Park, and his wife, Ms. Janaki Lenin, writer and wildlife film producer on April 4, 2018 at 6pm in Scudder Auditorium.

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