Manohar Devadoss says he owes his Padmashri Award to Madurai


MADURAI: There was a pregnant silence within the LAICO auditorium after the screening of a quick audio-visual tribute to Manohar Devadoss, the artist-writer-scientist who has been awarded the Padmashri this yr. The tragedies in his life didn’t evoke unhappiness. But a silent power. And as soon as once more, Mano, as he is lovingly referred to as, fortified his bond with town that nurtured his childhood years. After a pause, there was a standing ovation for the octogenarian.

“I never sought any reward in my life but without my knowledge, some friends recommended my name to the Centre this year. The recognition makes me happy but I am overwhelmed by the continuing love and support of so many friends and well wishers,” he mentioned on the felicitation perform organised by the Aravind Eye Care Systems and the Madurai Readers’ Club this week.

He was within the metropolis to attend a sequence of comparable features to honour him; there have been two extra by his alma mater — Setupati Higher Secondary School and The American College. And after all, a number of personal conferences with a gentle stream of mates and guests who got here to congratulate him. His cellphone rings repeatedly now. “I have not attended so many calls in the last five decades as I have in the last five weeks,” he says. With his regular humility, he admits that ever because the announcement got here in, his days haven’t been “typically normal”.

Manohar Devadoss says he owes his Padmashri Award to Madurai

And a self-analysis follows : the final ink sketch he drew was in 2003 — that of Yana Malai close to Madurai. The final greeting card he handcrafted was in 2007. The final exhibition of his artworks was held in 2010. And 5 years in the past, he misplaced his eye sight utterly. “Yet, people remember me and my work with so much affection,” is one thing he is making an attempt to grapple with.

In this second of his recognition, he, nevertheless, misses his spouse Mahema probably the most, whom he misplaced 12 years in the past and his elder brother who died on January 19, only a week earlier than he received the Padmashri. “Both of them would have been very happy today,” he says, as we meet him simply earlier than the features. Wherever he goes, a majority of individuals are already conscious of the challenges he has confronted in life. Retinitis pigmentosa weakened his eyesight regularly, until it rendered him visually-challenged. A horrifying accident within the outskirts of Madurai in 1972 resulted in Mahema changing into quadriplegic three days earlier than their ninth marriage ceremony anniversary. Yet, nothing may snatch their braveness to give attention to the great and constructive issues in life.

Manohar Devadoss says he owes his Padmashri Award to Madurai

When your desires crumble, it requires extraordinary ranges of acceptance and beauty to push previous your pains. Together, Mahema — who was paralysed neck under on the age of 30 — and Manohar, who was identified with the crippling eye dysfunction with no treatment on the age of 40, solely believed of their desires.

An officer from Delhi took an appointment for 30-minutes to confirm his work for the Padma award, he says, however stayed on for greater than 4 hours, baffled by his life story and the flawless ink sketches he made over time. “I told him I could have looked at my life as one filled with punishments,” says Mano, “but I turned them into rewarding opportunities.”

And how? He needed to turn out to be a scientist and accomplished his PhD in Chemistry. But his father’s demise compelled him to take up a chemist’s job with the British firm Oldham in 1958. He stop as its technical director 4 many years later and believes the job gave him ample time and alternative to be artistic. “Had I become a scientist, I would not have met Mahema either,” he quips. It was due to her encouragement that he began writing his first ebook Green Well Years in 1982. “I also started drawing with a vengeance because I realised time and my eyes were not on my side. Only my photographic memory stayed with me as a sort of talisman.”

Manohar Devadoss says he owes his Padmashri Award to Madurai

It took Mano 15 years of writing and 14 years of artwork work to weave the affectionate tribute chronicling the adventures of his boyhood days. Against the beguiling appeal of previous Madurai, he painstakingly sketched landmarks and heritage buildings and monuments, necessary festivals and occasions with eager consideration to element. His sharp pen strokes of the chariot procession in the course of the Chithrai pageant, the picture of the ther and the group, the paddy fields and the bridge over the Vaigai, the chapel in his faculty, are some photos troublesome to overlook.

Only factor Mano regrets is shedding a lot of his authentic drawings. Had they been there, his books An Artist’s Perspective and Multiple Facets of My Madurai would have contained extra illustrations, he says. Published in 2003, the latter has gone for seven reprints.

Mano remembers a life crammed with laughter and perception with Mahema. Together, they hand-made 33,000 greeting playing cards. Combining his artwork work together with her writing abilities, they used their expertise and abilities for charity. Mahema handed away greater than a decade in the past however continues to be his muse. He has poignantly written about her in his books, A Poem to Courage and Dreams, Seasons and Promises.

Mano lives alone in Chennai now however refuses to relaxation. At current, he is engaged on a ebook with his illustrations that seize the historic, social and cultural heritage of Chennai. Called Madras Inked, it may turn out to be and stay, like his books on Madurai, an important documentary of instances passed by. He can be engaged on one other one on his life, which nevertheless, is not going to comprise drawings, he says. For the previous 4 years, he has been studying Carnatic music and desires of holding yet another exhibition of his watercolour work themed on butterflies.

It isn’t any marvel that the federal government officer was at a loss to determine the class of Padma Award for Mano. Finally, he selected artwork, and rightfully so.

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