Chennai celebrates 17th Anniversary of Dignity Dialogue 24/04/2012

The  members  of Dignity Foundation were taken on a spiritual journey by    swami Atmajnanandaji maharaj  of  Ramakrishna Mission  on the occasion  of 17th anniversary of  Dignity Dialogue, on 29th March at Chinmaya Heritage  Centre in Chennai.  His one hour lucid presentation  on the theme  ‘Being Old and wanted’ was liberally interspersed with very interesting  quotations from our scriptures  and the  Swamiji  explained the significance of each one of them  for easy comprehension  of the audience.

Society and social conditions are changing fast these days and we have new problems facing humans, the Swamiji said. However we have the solutions within ourselves if we only care to resolve the issues. We must learn to age gracefully, be a source of wisdom and joy to the newer generation so that they need us. That will be possible if we have taken care to imbibe values in our younger days. The fruit is in the seed and the flower is sought after by the bees for its nectar.

Talking about the different stages of life one goes through, he said, being born, we have to pass through the process of growth, decay and death. That is the way of Nature but we need not be slaves of nature, he stressed. We have the potential to become masters of ourselves and nature by realizing the inner core of our existence which is Satchidananda—pure Existence, Knowledge and Bliss. The Bhagavad Gita says that you are your best friend and you are your worst foe if you do not strive to become better. It is important that we learn from the lessons that life teaches us so that we can be happy within and spread that joy to others. We must find security in our inner self, be contended within and that alone can give us peace.

Just as we throw away our used garments so also we discard our bodies and take new ones so as to evolve spiritually. Hinduism says that one needs to evolve spiritually till you realize that you are one with God. We need not be afraid of our mistakes. We make mistakes but we have the intelligence to undo them, to right the wrongs unlike  lesser beings which do not have that capacity. ‘Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. Let us be willing to learn from our mistakes. Sri Ramakrishna would say, ‘As long as I live so long do I learn’, he stated.

He concluded  his  address by  saying one need not fear death and cited the story  of Nachiketa from  the  Katha Upanishad  in this context . Nachiketa inspires us to be kind to all creatures, to respect one’s parents, to be strong willed to do something one has decided, even in the face of difficulties and obstacles and to seek for eternal happiness.

The evening’s celebrations  commenced with the playing of Voice of Dignity Anthem. Mr.Radhakrishnan, Director, Dignity Foundation delivered the welcome  address and outlined the activities of the Foundation ‘s Chennai Chapter which started in 2002 with an enrolment of 60 senior citizens  as members. It had offered two services at that time and now  after a decade, the membership has grown to 500  and the services to 14. He elaborated  on the Dementia Care Centre for Dementia patients at Palavakkam  which constituted one of  the services of the Foundation. I t started  in 2009  with the goal of offering customised, individual-specific, personalised care to men and women afflicted with Dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is a variant. A daycare centre was set up in the old office of the Foundation at Vishranthi Nilayam in Palavakkam. A selective set of mind games and psychometric tests are also undertaken periodically to understand the stage of the disease. Core committee members are involved in running the centre with the help of professionally qualified fulltime Social worker and well trained volunteers. A bus donated by Chaithanya Builders is sent to the homes of the dementia members to collect them and drop them back, after nearly 7 hours of care at the centre.  Later  Mr.Radhakrishnan   briefly traced the growth of the magazine, Dignity Dialogue, stating that it started with a circulation of 500 copies   and  has reached  over  10,000 in a span  of 17 years which  according to him was  really a mile stone in the march of progress  for a magazine which has strived to reach out to the senior citizens of our country to articulate their cause.

Following his welcome speech the audience were treated  to a beautiful   Editorial presentation of the beginning and growth of the magazine where  achievers from  various fields featured on its cover pages.

Then it was the turn of  celebrities  who though hailed from different  fields but had something in common —i.e. their association with Dignity Dialogue as contributors, to be honoured  by  the seven celebrity invitees who donned the stage : M/S Natyachara Dhananjayan and Shanta Dhananjayan,  Padmasri Dr.Vyjayanthimala, Mrs.Savithri Vaithi- founder chairperson of VishranthiOld Age Home, Mr. M.B.Nirmal –Founder, Exnora International, Social Activist, Mr.Vidyakar of Udavam Karangal  and Mr.K.P.Balakrishnan—dedicated self made entrepreneur .

Detailed  profiles of celebrity invitees


Savithri Vaithi: Founder and Chairperson, Vishranthi, at Palavakkam. She has been so for more than three decades when she began the old age home for woman whom she found abandoned in public places. She began serving them very early in life and has eventually dedicated her entire life for their cause.


Savithri’s untiring service has won her about 35 awards, including the Valuable Age Care Services by HelpAgeIndia, Jawaharlal Nehru Award and Annai Teresa Social Service Award

V P Dhananjayan

Naatyaachaaryas- shanta & V.P Dhananjayan are phenomena in the field of Bharathanaatyam.

Deservedly, they have both been bestowed the prestigious padma bhushan for their outstanding contribution in this sphere.

Bharatakalaanjali, the institution they founded in 1968, has moulded countless artists.

The padma bhushan crowns a number of awards they have won over the years- The Sangeet Natak Akademi award, chooda mani of sri krishn gana saba, world peace award form chinmoy foundation of USA to name a few.


Dr.Vyjayantimala Bali born in South India, she hails from a conservative family, but one of distinguished scholarship and one that has patronized the traditional and classical art of the Thanjavur style.

She played the most covetous leading roles in a series of popular films, NAGIN, NEW DELHI, MADHUMATI, GANGA JAMUNA, SANGAM, SADHANA, and AMRAPALI were some of the memorable hits. She became a household name in India and still continues to be one.


In recognition of her talents and her contribution to the tradition of classical dance, various honors have been conferred on her such as ‘NRITYA SIROMANI’, ‘NATYAKALA SIKAMANI’, ‘NRITYA NURUPAMA VISHARADE’.


Recipient of the Film fare Award for Best Actress for the film SADHNA, Sangam


The title of  PADMASHRI was conferred upon her by the President of India.

Recipient of “WOMAN of THE YEAR” representing India 2008 for outstanding contributions to Country as recognized by the American Biographical Institute.

And many more…………

Mr. M B NIRMAL, Founder, Exnore International who is a globally known Motivator, Innovator, Trainer, Change-Maker, Mind Programmer, Humorist, Orator, Writer, Environmentalist, Social Reformer, Social-Activist & Social worker.

He conceptualized Waste Management for the first time. The revolutionary concepts & innovations are: Solid & Liquid Waste Management at various levels and Fish Cart Magic.


Environmental Leadership Award

Star ofIndia Award

Best Environmental Service Organization. Presented by Honorable Minister for Environment and many more;………

Vidhyakaar of Udavum Karangal, the emulator of Mother Theresa, and the founder of a dozens of homes such as Adaikalam, Shishu Bhavan, Shantivanam, Sumaithangi, BalamithraKarunalayam..the quintessence rescuer of abandoned human beings in the city of Chennai. He said: “everyone has the opportunity to serve but few make use of it”


  • International Award for Most Outstanding Voluntary Organization inIndia-Matsushita,Japan1992
  • Rising Personality of the Century – Penguin Publications.
  • Bharat Excellence Award – Friendship Forum ofIndia-Delhi
  • Award for Best Social Service Institution 2002- Government of Tamilnad
  • Citation honoring Udavum Karangal – Governor,CommonwealthofPennsylvania.
  • Award for Best Social Worker 2004 – Government of Tamilnadu
  • Citation for services provided for the Tsunami Victims – Denver Sister Cities 2005

Mr. M.P Balakrishnan, founder of Bala Tourist Service proves that one doesn’t need a business school degree to be successful in life.

When you start life as a waiter, room boy and driver you don’t expect to end up a millionaire. Mr. M. P Balakrishanan not only expected it, he left no stone unturned to get there.

Hard work, dedication, punctuality and client services are his success mantras.


One thought on “Chennai celebrates 17th Anniversary of Dignity Dialogue 24/04/2012

  1. V Raghavan

    In an interview with art critic Smt Nandini Ramani some years ago, Vijayanthimala said: “I owe a lot Sri K.T. Kittappa Pillai, the legend among Nattuvanars from the family of the Thanjavur Quartette, from whom I have imbibed a great heritage”. Commented the interviewer (N.R.) “Nothing alien has crept into her Bharatanatyam performance till now, to make her deviate or compromise in the upkeep of the pristine Thanjavur Samapradaya

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