The Second Luminary Lecture

//The Second Luminary Lecture

Padma ShriMr. Romulus Whitaker and Ms. Janaki Lenin deliver


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.

Padma Shri Mr. Romulus Whitaker and Ms. Janaki Lenin delivered the Second Luminary Lecture on April 4, 2018 in the Scudder Auditorium. Mr. Whitaker is India’s leading herpetologist and the Founder of the Madras Crocodile Bank and the Madras Snake Park. He has won several honours and awards for his outstanding work particularly with regard to conservation of reptiles and research in the Western Ghats; but his humility is striking as is his sense of humour and wit. His talk, titled, ‘The Irula Snake Catchers- Best in the World’, focused on the Irula community that depended on snake hunting till the Government imposed a ban in the 1970s. Mr. Whitaker worked with this community and empowered them to catch snakes for their venom. He initiated the Irula Cooperative that now produces over 80% of the anti-snake venom in the country and thus is instrumental in saving millions of lives.

Ms. Janaki Lenin is a wildlife filmmaker and writer, her best-selling book being ‘My husband and other animals’. She spoke on the ‘human –wildlife conflict’ with specific reference to leopards, elephants and man. Citing examples from the field, she said it was possible for man to live in harmony with these wild animals.

Following theirtalks, Mr. Whitaker and Ms. Lenin engaged with the audience in a question-answer session that was moderated by Professor Prathap Tharyan, former faculty, Department of Psychiatry.

Earlier in the programme, the Vice Principal (UG), Dr. Solomon Sathishkumar spoke about the hundred years of medical education in CMC, and the Associate Director, Dr. Vikram Mathews welcomed and introduced Mr. Whitaker and Ms. Lenin. Dr. Deepa Braganza, Professor and Head of Psychiatry Unit 2 and Dr. Anand Zachariah, Professor of Medicine honoured the Guests with the traditional ponnadai .Theywere presented with a memento by the Director, Dr. JV Peter, and a citation by the Principal, Dr. Anna B. Pulimood.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 Third Luminary Lecture will be delivered on July 4, 2018 by the well-known journalist, rural researcher and Ramon Magsaysay recipient, Mr. P. Sainath. Author of the best-selling book ‘Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories from India’s Poorest Districts’, Mr. Sainath has carried out extensive research in rural India and is an expert on farmer’s issues, drought, and famines.

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