Humanities & Social Sciences

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur

Acceptance Speech for the EMMI Award conferred by St. Joseph’s Higher Secondary School, Manjakuppam, Cuddalore 21 June 2015

Gurumurthy Neelakantan

Rev. Fr. M Peter Rajendiram, Secretary St. Joseph’s College, Rev. Fr. Arulnathan, Principal, St. Joseph’s Higher Secondary School, Rev. Fr. M. Peter, Dr. G Viswanathan, Founder & Chancellor of VIT University, Shri. Janardhanan, Chairman Alumni Association, Shri Ashok Kumar, my Fellow awardees, respected alumni, distinguished teachers both past and present, beloved students, and members of the St. Joseph’s Manjakuppam family:

I’m deeply honored and humbled by the recognition you have conferred upon me. My hearty thanks to my nominators as well as the Board of the School for considering my achievements and contributions to the society worthy of the EMMI Award. While I was fortunate enough to receive a few awards, this recognition from my Alma Mater holds a special place in my heart for bringing in a sense of reassurance that I have lived up to the ideals and values that this great Jesuit institution has imparted to generations of students. In the first place, I gratefully acknowledge Rev.Fr. M Peter, the then Principal, who by his personal example taught me that whatever is worth doing is worth doing well and one’s life becomes meaningful only when it is guided by love, compassion and selfless service. His inspiring and edifying messages delivered during the Prayer Assembly meetings in the mornings have become for me a well-spring of moral sustenance. We all know that this great institution has a rich legacy of caring and motivating teachers. I was lucky to have been guided by many such remarkable teachers who also happened to be fine gentlemen. Attending the classes of Mr. Roche, Mr. Susai Rathinam, Mr. Venkatappan, Mr. Louis, Mr. Mathews, Mr. Frederick, Mr. Pandurangan, Mr. Venkatesan and Mr. Tirunavukarasu, among others, I developed a love for teaching and realized that there is so much joy, excitement and even power in this activity that aids civilization. Interestingly, the foundation for my successful career as a teacher-scholar of English Literature was laid in the first few days of my English classes in the Eighth standard which was taught by Mr. Roche. His amazing understanding of English Grammar and Rhetoric and the clarity with which he could explain the lessons cast a spell on me and it was then and there that I decided to become an English teacher myself. Some of my beloved teachers who taught me with such love and care are no more with us. I take this opportunity to thank all my teachers from the bottom of my heart for touching my life and inspiring me to do my life’s work. More important, I owe more than I can express here to my late parents who through countless sacrifices and hardships ensured that I got the best education possible and helped me to follow my destiny in becoming a teacher. Wherever they are, I know they would be brimming with joy to see this award being conferred on me.

If this is a proud moment for me, my siblings and the many friends and well-wishers, I also realize that for me it should no less be a moment for silent introspection and for renewing my commitment to the ideals that have helped me grow intellectually and morally. And if at all I have to give a message to the students it would be to learn to work hard, to learn to dream and to learn to believe in one’s power to make that dream come true. And I’m grateful to St. Joseph’s Manjakuppam for nurturing my intellect and moral being and for enabling me to develop strong qualities of leadership. This award means a lot to me because it symbolizes my Alma Mater’s abiding sense of trust in and recognition of my services as an educator.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you again!