Google pays a doodle tribute in the memory of 100th birth anniversary of renowned and legendary Indian ophthalmologist and founder of Aravind Eye Hospitals – Dr Govindappa Venkataswamy. Here’s his story.
Born on October 1, 1918 in Tamil Nadu’s Vadamalapuram, Dr Govindappa Venkataswamy attended a school in his village where students would write on sand as there was no pencil and paper. But with unspoken struggle, he earned a degree of M.D. from Stanley Medical College in Madras in 1944. Later, Dr. Venkataswamy joined the Indian Army Medical Corps but had to discontinue as his military career was crippled by arthritis and was bed ridden for almost a year. However, the disease had no stopping and he earned a degree in ophthalmology in 1951 – during which, he learned eye surgery to remove cataract that causes blindness.
Since then, he decided to address the problem of blindness among common people and conducted endless eye camps – mostly in rural regions, a rehab centre for blind people and a training program for ophthalmic assistants. Google’s blog post mentioned that Dr Govindappa Venkataswamy was capable of undergoing a 100 eye surgeries in a single day and has personally performed more than 1,00,000 successful eye surgeries in his lifetime. The eye doctor’s contribution was so remarkable that he was awarded the Padmashree for his outstanding service to the nation.
Expanding his unmatched service, he set up the Aravind Eye Hospital in late 1970s in Madurai that was financed by doctors from all around the country who mortgaged their homes and donated their furniture to collect funds. Today, the Aravind Eye Hospital has more than 4,000 beds and performs 200,000 eye surgeries each year with most patients paying nothing or nominal fees. Having treated over 55 million patients and performed over 6.8 million eye surgeries to cure cataract-related blindness, Dr Venkataswamy’s hospital is the largest provider of eye care in the world.
This is why Google paid a tribute to the doctor on his 100th birthday with the doodle that features a landscape blurred on one side and clear on the other with a picture of Dr. Venkataswamy in the centre. The Google Doodle is live today in India, Australia, and New Zealand.