“Shree” (as the Late Dr.K.V.Sridharan was fondly called by people close to him) was an excellent motivator and facilitator of learning rather than a Professor. When PhD degree holders were scarce in Indian schools of social work, he pursued his doctoral research in social work in a prestigious university in the United States. He was a rare person who chose to work in India at a time when the educated Indians preferred to migrate to America. He consciously preferred a spartan life to a life of luxury and comfort for which he had many opportunities. He was Director of the Madras School of Social Work for a brief period. Many young social workers were benefited to go to USA for training under the Cleveland International Programme for Social Workers and Young Leaders during his tenure in the United States Education Foundation in India. He never compromised his convictions. As Director of the National Institute of Social Sciences at Bangalore, he had to face the toughest challenge of his life when he had to dare the most powerful Chief Minister of Karnataka and the management of NISS to protect the autonomy of the Institute and the interests of the students.
Dr.Sridharan refused to buckle under pressure even at great personal cost. The chain of events at NISS with the support of the students, parents, faculty, civil society and media ultimately led to the creation of the department of social work at the University of Bangalore. Later on, he accepted the directorship of the famous Vishwa Yuvak Kendra at Delhi.
I was fortunate to work with Dr. Sridhran closely when I was General Secretary of the Association of Schools Of Social Work in India. (ASSWI). He acceded to our request to be the first Executive Secretary of the national body for one year. His guidance was immense value to me, which I cherish with nostalgia. A gentle and courteous person, Shree was always positive and supportive. The last years of Shree were with the NGOs. He devoted a lot of time for training and mentoring grassroots development personnel of two NGOs in Odisha, particularly Thread, near Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Any tribute to Dr. Sridhran will be incomplete without appreciating the role of his life-partner Dr.Uma, a medical practitioner, who devoted her life for helping the poor patients. They were indeed made for each other with identical preferences in life. Shree always introduced her as Uma instead of as “my wife” That Shree is no more in our midst is difficult to believe, but that is the fact of life which we must accept.
T K Nair
Rtd professor of Social Work, Chennai
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