by Dr Arulraj Joseph (Founder member and first President):
Mr. President, Distinguished chief guest, Rev. Fr. Rector, members of the clergy, My dear patricians, and well wishers,
The recipient whose citation I am honoured to present today could have received an award for several achievements, but the award committee chose three special reasons. I therefore compare him to a crown studded with many precious gems but among them three priceless diamonds of exquisite quality. Those we see on display admire and wish that they could be ours.
The three diamonds are one, his unswerving loyalty as a Patrician, two his unbounded generosity and three his professional and academic achievements. I am now delighted to announce that these three diamonds are in the crown on the head of none other than Prof. Ramalingam Nirmalakumar Chitramohan.
Let me now elaborate a little more the features of the diamonds that render them so special. Patricians have instilled into them a deep sense of loyalty to our alma mater hence the reason that we gather together in such numbers and to have a week of celebrations and activity to provide for the needs of our alma mater. From the time I knew Chitramohan I have been struck by his deep sense of loyalty and a display of true loyalty. Loyalty is not an emotion with Chitramohan. For Chitramohan loyalty is action.
Chitramohan’s loyalty translates into many forms of action especially into his generosity. I do not think that I am in a position to provide you with a comprehensive list of his generosity to St. Patrick’s College. Some of it is known only to the recipients, but his contributions include that towards the completion of the Matthew’s block, drama and English rooms, provision of computer facilities to the less well off children and organising a big sponsorship programme through the pharmaceutical industry towards funding of various projects in the college. I emphasise that this is not meant to be a comprehensive list. It is not Chitramohan’s style to do things with a fan fare and hence we may never know the full extent of his generosity.
The third diamond in Chitramohan’s crown is his professional and academic achievement. Having come to the UK in 1985 I believe he very quickly settled in the specialty in which he has received world wide recognition. He is a consultant psychiatrist and Associate medical director of the Solihull and Birmingham Mental health Trust. In recognition of his research and contributions to the field of psychiatry he was awarded a visiting Professorship at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, where he is also an external examiner and also at the MGR Medical University Madras. He heads an excellent multi disciplinary team and under his inspiration and guidance the department has made enormous strides in the clinical field, in research and training of the psychiatrists of the future. He also created the website for psychiatric trainees to help them with their professional exams. Needless to say that Professor Chitramohan has a large number of publications to his credit, in many reputable journals. It is impossible to do full justice to his academic and professional achievements in such a short citation.
Chitramohan is married to Sumidra Handy also a consultant psychiatrist and the Handy family needs little introduction to the Sri Lankans. The Handy’s as many of you will know are renowned both in the medical and religious fields. Sumidra and Chitramohan have two children Anita and Tamara.
My account of Chitramohan would hardly be complete without my referral to his mother Mrs. Mahes Ramalingam, former teacher whose reputation at Holy Family Convent Jaffna seems to be legendary. Chitramohan believes he owes a lot not only to his parents but also to his teachers. In his own words during moments of self reflection, he says it is the name of a teacher in his school that comes to mind as one who contributed most towards his formation and personal achievement.
Let me finish by quoting from the Thirukural. Thiruvalluvar seems to have had the likes of Chitramohan in mind when he wrote some parts of the Kural. Chitramohan’s father did not live long enough to witness the achievements of his son. Mrs Ramalingam however will verify the words of the poet when he wrote that a mother experiences greater joy and satisfaction when her son is acknowledged as a good and great man than the joys she experienced at the time of bringing him into this world. Chitramohan has by his achievements made us all acclaim with the poet what a good and charitable man his father must have been to be blessed with such a great son.
Chitramohan we of St. Patrick’s College Jaffna alumni association are proud to hail you as a jewel in the Patrician crown and request you to accept the award of a Distinguished Patrician and Professional Excellence.