Mangalore: Dr Ramachandra Rao, St Aloysius Alumnus - Scholar and Humanitarian
Mangalore, Jul 21: Dr Ramachandra Rao was born in Mangalore in 1936. Throughout his life, his academic pursuits were accompanied by adeep concern for the human condition and theenvironment.
He was a proud graduate of St Aloysius College Mangalore, distinguishing himself as a scholar and humanitarian even at an early age.
In 1956, he received his BSc. in Chemistry and won several prizes and was awarded themedal for Chemistry at the University of Madras. He obtained his Doctoral degree in Physical Chemistry in 1962 at the Institute of Science in Bangalore. Following his graduation, he served as a faculty member at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. In 1971, he was awarded a post-doctoral research fellowship by the National Research Council of Canada. In 1884, he joined McGill university, Montreal, where he served as Senior Research Associate in the Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering.
A strong proponent of environment sustainability, his research focused on mineral processing, recycling water and resource recovery from process wastes. He authored four books and more than 50 research andreview papers.
A Grateful Alumnus and Fitting Role Model
Dr Rao maintained a close bond with St Aloysius throughout his life. He would visit Mangalore with the sole objective of spending time at St Aloysius and the allied institutions. He was one of the few who donated over fifty lacs of rupees to St Aloysius and he made aspecial donation of ten lacs to The Mungod Mission in North Karnataka. Forever grateful for what he had received from his beloved Alma Mater, he wanted to give back. In this regard, he was, and continues to be, a fitting role model for past and present students.
During the past several years, Dr Rao remained in contact with fellow Aloysians, Tony DíSilva, Edgar DíSouza, Joe Gonsalves, whose home he used to visit, Father Denzil Lobo, Praveen Lobo, Joe Noronha, Victor Pais, Father Ronnie Prabhu, Dinker Rai, Charles Rodrigues, Father Francis Serrao, Arthur Shenoy, and Vivek Veigas. Edgar visited Dr Rao in the nursing home right till the end.
Dr Rao was a contented man. His ways were simple and his actions were kind. He spoke from his heart and hada genuine concern for his fellow human beings and the environment. He was a finefriend and a loyal fellow alum. He will be truly missed.
For it is in giving that we receive - St Francis of Assisi
Tribute to a Great Aloysian
The news of the sad demise of our muchbeloved, highly respected and gratefully remembered friend and well wisher, Ramachandra Rao, came as a bolt from theblue and left a great void and a sense of bereavement and sorrow.
Knowing Rao very closely, appreciating his many qualities of head and heart, admiring his sense of nobility, decency, compassion and generosity, I have no doubt at all that the Lord has surely enfolded him in His bosom andoffered him a final resting place in His own Divine Heart, addressing him with those immortal words from the Bible: "Well done good and faithful servant, enter now into thejoy of your Lord".
If there is any significant detail about Rao's life it is his unalloyed goodness, unfeigned large heartedness and unlimited liberality. For him, his christian faith was the sheet anchor ofhis life. His sense of detachment from material wealth and his simplicity of life marked him out as a true disciple of the Man from Galilee.
His concern for the poor and his determinationto make a difference in the life of the dispossessed led him to open the strings of his purse and share all he had with them in a spirit of exemplary prodigality.
He was a man of unostentatious piety. In fact, when he was a guest of St Aloysius College Jesuit community for a month or more, he was the first in the chapel for evening prayer longbefore the most devout among the Jesuits would venture there.
Ramachandra Rao was an iconic alumnus of St Aloysius College. His love for his Alma Mater, his concern for its growth, his pain at the difficulties faced by the institution and his commitment to lend a hand in realizing thevarious dreams we had, led him to sacrifice much because he loved much.
It is not at all surprising that every time he meta fellow Aloysian the conversation would bedominated by the news about SAC and thecommon concerns for the growth and wellbeing of the Alma Mater which are very muchin the hearts of all our alumni.
Rao's love for the poor had to be seen to bebelieved. The poor children in our rural areas in North Karnataka, especially in Mundgod andHarihar, have been the grateful recipients of his bountiful generosity.
Ramachandra Rao is gone where all of us will sooner or later follow. Meanwhile we who are left behind will strive to walk in the footprints of this great man. May he rest in peace.
- Francis Serrao, Provincial, Karnataka Jesuit Province
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morningís hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
- Mary Elizabeth Frye